Which continent has mountain gorillas and why?
Africa is the only continent in the entire world where mountain gorillas live and survive in their natural habitats. Referred as a “Cradle of Man”, Africa has several species of primates, but history has it that science came to know about the existence of mountain gorillas as a subspecies of eastern gorillas on 17th October 1902. Mountain gorillas are giant apes who live as families, headed by an adult male called a silverback. Adult males are referred to as silverbacks, simply because as they grow, a patch of silvery hair grows on their back and hips. A silverback can weigh up to 160kg while a female mountain gorilla can weigh up to 98kgs. A gorilla family is normally made of a silverback, female gorillas, juveniles, and some black back.
Which countries have mountain gorillas on the African continent, and why?
That said and done, not all African counties act as home to the rare and endangered mountain gorillas. These great apes can only be found in East and Central African countries of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo. These mountain gorillas are in these countries simply because of the factors that favor or support their existence. The Virunga ranges where we have three National Park of Volcanoes, Virunga and Mgahinga are at a high altitude of about 2500-4000m with forests and bamboo forest that acts as their home and food. Bwindi National Park is predominantly a tropical rain forest with lots of shrubs and trees that act as food for these mountain gorillas.
Which National Parks in Africa have mountain gorillas?
Mountain gorillas on the African continent are found in three countries of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. In these three countries, only four National Parks are home to mountain gorillas. These National Parks are found in two separate locations with three National parks in the Virunga region comprising of several instinct volcanoes at the border of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The three National Parks in the Virunga ranges are Volcanoes National Park on the Rwanda side, Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda. These three National Parks share the same forest but are divided by colonial boundaries. The rest of the mountain gorillas are found in Bwindi impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
Mountain gorillas are found in two separate locations: the Virunga range of extinct volcanic mountains on the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Uganda, and in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. One can comfortably say that it is only Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo where one can find and see mountain gorillas on the African continent.
How many mountain gorillas are in Africa?
The current population of mountain gorillas in Africa stands at 1004 individuals from 620 recorded in 1989. The numbers have been able to increase due to the able conservation efforts and intense monitoring since 1950. Out of 1004, half of these gorillas are in Bwindi impenetrable National Park and the rest are shared by three National Parks of Volcanoes in Rwanda, Virunga in Congo, and Mgahinga in Uganda. The last three National Park are in the Virunga ranges.
What are the threats to the existence of mountain gorillas in Africa?
Tropical and bamboo forests that act as home to the rare mountain gorillas continue to shrink because of population increase in Rwanda, Uganda, and Congo. It is estimated that over 150,000 people live around the Virunga ranges and Bwindi impenetrable National Park where mountain gorillas are found. The need for land to grow food and construction due to the increasing number of people has led to the encroachment on these forests in high altitude areas. It is believed that during the 1990-94 Rwanda genocide, many people of Rwandese origin fled their homes to camp near or in Volcanoes and Virunga National Parks leading to poaching, bush burning, and cutting of trees
Due to population pressure, it is believed that in the year 2024 alone, over 1500 hectares of prime lands which act as home to mountain gorillas were cleared by illegal settlers in Virunga National Park located in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This and more has resulted in the loss of major mountain gorilla habitats and hence increasing on dangers of losing the rare great apes. Encroaching on this prime mountain gorilla habitats is due to increased pressure for land for cultivation and settlement.
Illegal Hunting of mountain gorillas
Just like other wildlife species, mountain gorillas on the African continent are facing the challenge of being hunted for meat as well as trophies for those who treasure that. It is believed that over 15 mountain gorillas were killed in four years between 1990-194 during the Rwanda genocide which saw people flee Rwanda to look for land to settle and grow crops in the Virunga National Park of the Democratic republic of Congo. According to available records, 4 habituated silverbacks were killed plus entire gorilla families led by the same silverbacks.
Other challenges facing mountain gorillas on the African continent include Oil and gas exploration in the Albertine rift valley as well as in the Virunga ranges. This is likely to affect mountain gorilla habitats on the African continent mainly in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo.
Wars and political Insecurity in the great Lakes region
As earlier noted, the 1990-1994 Rwanda wars resulted in the death of many mountain gorillas both in Volcanoes and Virunga National Parks of Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo. As people were being oppressed and made to escape and leave their homes, Virunga National Park was turned to for settlement, agriculture as well as hunting wild animals including mountain gorillas for food. Prevailing and endless tribal wars and armed rebels in Eastern congo where Virunga National Park is have continued to affect the lives of mountain gorillas in this National Park. Many conservationists and mountain gorilla individuals have overtime been killed.
Mountain gorillas on the African continent are believed to be close relatives of human beings. Because of this, humans have transmitted some of their diseases such as flue, cough and others leading to the death of these endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Which national parks have mountain gorillas on the African continent?
Africa as a continent has four National Parks that are home to mountain gorillas. These national parks are in three East African countries of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Of the four, Uganda has Bwindi impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga while Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have Volcanoes and Virunga National Parks respectively. For those interested in visiting mountain gorillas in Africa, you should consider any of the four national parks. Encounter Africa safaris arrange affordable gorilla trekking safaris to all four National Parks mentioned above and should you be interested, please contact us.
Which National Park on the African continent has the highest number of mountain gorillas?
According to the current mountain gorillas census that was conducted two years back, Bwindi impenetrable National Park was ranked number one in terms of numbers. It was established that Bwindi impenetrable National Park recorded over half of the available mountain gorillas in Africa and the entire universe. This has been due to the joint conservation efforts by different stakeholders as well as Uganda Wildlife Authority that has seen the available individuals protected and ensuring that new babies are born resulting in to increase in numbers.
Which National Park in Africa have more habituated mountain gorilla families?
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has the highest number of both habituated and none habituated mountain gorilla families living in the dense and impenetrable tropical jungles. Over 19 gorilla families have been habituated and opened for gorilla trekking. It is indeed very true that Volcanoes National Park has 20 gorilla families but it should be noted that only 10 gorilla families are for gorilla trekking while the rest are for research. For more information on this, please contact Encounter Africa safaris.
Which countries are safe for gorilla trekking in Africa?
As earlier noted, once or twice, mountain gorilla habitats have provided shelter to rebels, making these areas unsafe for gorilla trekking. That said and done, Uganda and Rwanda are the safest nations when it comes to visiting for the sake of seeing mountain gorillas in Africa. The two African nations have been relatively stable, with no attacks on tourists who come to trek mountain gorillas here. On the other hand, the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is most insecure due to rival and rebel groups in Eastern Congo. More than always, rangers and tourists are killed while trekking mountain gorillas in the jungles of Virunga forests, making Congo an insecure mountain gorilla trekking destination. Encounter Africa safaris only operate on this side of the continent only if we must. Most of our gorilla trekking safaris go to the safe nations of Uganda and Rwanda.
Which African country is the most affordable for gorilla trekking?
As earlier noted, Africa has three countries where mountain gorillas call home. Of the three countries, The Democratic Republic of Congo is the most affordable when it comes to the cost of a gorilla permit. A gorilla permit is a document that is issued to you after making payment and allows you to spend one hour with mountain gorillas. Currently, a gorilla permit costs $400 in Congo, followed by Uganda at $700 and Rwanda at $1500 per person per trek. This, therefore, means that The Democratic Republic of Congo is the most affordable but unsafe for gorilla trekking, leaving Uganda the safest and affordable gorilla trekking country. Encounter Africa safaris has been operating gorilla trekking trips in Uganda at affordable prices since its inception and we have never faced any insecurity.
Which African country is the most expensive for gorilla trekking?
As pointed out, Rwanda is the most expensive gorilla trekking nation on the African continent. A gorilla permit to see mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park costs a hooping $1500 per person, which is double the price of Uganda gorilla permits and triple that of Virunga National Park. On top of the price of Rwanda gorilla permit, Lodges and Hotels in Rwanda are so expensive and unaffordable to an average person. This is due to the fact that Rwanda as a country has positioned herself as a luxury tourist destination and looks at attracting few people willing to pay a lot.
Which country in Africa allows more time with mountain gorillas?
Gorilla trekking is one of the most expensive tourist activities on the African continent. However, books a gorilla safari holiday to any of the three countries love to spend more time or hours with habituated mountain gorillas. Of the three countries, it’s only Uganda where one can spend four hours with mountain gorillas. Gorilla habituation experience only happening in Uganda. Other countries of Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of Congo offer only the normal one-hour gorilla trek. For more information about gorilla habituation experience safaris, please contact us.
How to choose the best country in Africa for gorilla trekking
It takes time and patience to select the best country in Africa to visit for gorilla trekking. The criteria to follow will depend on your interest and budget. There is a lot of information online, but if you are a first-time visitor to Africa, we recommend that you do all your bookings through a registered and licensed tour operator in Uganda or Rwanda. They’re several reasons why you should do this. These tour operators will make your work simple by advising and answering all your questions concerning which country is safe, affordable, and has all that you want. Most recognized and licensed tour operators will offer you affordable packages and information you can rely on. If you are looking at luxury, Rwanda is the country for you. In Rwanda, almost everything is high end and you will not be disappointed. Rwanda basically tops Uganda and Rwanda when it comes to infrastructures such as roads and Hotels. Your Tour Operator will suggest for you Lodges, mode of transport and book this plus your gorilla permit to make your work easier. If you are looking for an affordable and safe country, then Uganda is the country for you. Encounter Africa Safaris operates in Uganda and Rwanda where we have excelled in providing gorilla trekking memories. Feel free to contact us for the best value gorilla safari packages now.