In Uganda Safaris, there are two protected and conserved national parks that are famously known for Mountain gorillas of Uganda, endangered primate species. A solo traveler coming to Uganda should expect to visit Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and mountain Mgahinga national park in the western part of the country which are popularly known destinations for mountain gorilla in Uganda.
The park is situated in the border area of Uganda and the democratic republic of Congo in Kanungu district and it was gazetted in 1991 as a national park purposely to guard the famous, rare endangered Gorilla gorilla beringei species. The Bwindi impenetrable national park has been ranked as one of the world’s number one primary gorilla trekking destinations.
The park has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1994 due to its great ecological biodiversity. Bwindi will give a traveler an exception and unique experience of the Mountain gorillas of Uganda since the park has 35 known gorilla groups although only 17 groups have been habituated for research and open for tourism.
Bwindi covers an area of 321 square kilometers and it has four sectors for gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation. These include the Nkuringo sector, Buhoma, Rushaga, and Ruhija, two groups are found in the Nkuringo sector and gorilla habituation experience which is done in the Rushaga sector as travelers are permitted to spend 4 hours with the gorilla family if found.
Mgahinga Gorilla trekking the park is the smallest national park that covers the smallest area as compared to Uganda national parks. Although Mgahinga is that the smallest park in Uganda, it occupies an outsized extension of the Virunga massif and therefore the conservation area. other parts of the Virunga Massif are Virunga national park in Congo and volcanoes national park in Rwanda.
All these three national parks are known for the famous endangered species, however, each country controls its own portion of the Virunga massif part and they have been conserved purposely to protect the mountain gorillas Out of the 18 habituated groups in Uganda, 17 groups are found in Bwindi and just one group has been habituated in Mgahinga park and it called Nyakagezi group which is much easier to trek since it has now settled in the park though it has been having notorious movements crossing to Rwanda and Congo.
On the hand, some gorilla families in Bwindi have settled near to the headquarters thus it may take you less than two hours to sight them, so it, not a must for each group you’ll get to tons of hiking and for Mgahinga it granted which will easily be located it’ll not require only physically feet people to participate in the activity.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda will always start with a briefing at 7:00 at the headquarters to take you through about the dos and don’ts before you begin the trekking. At an equivalent, gorilla trekking permits need to be booked beforehand before you begin the tour. It is always advisable to organize your gorilla trekking tour with a tour operator to assist you in planning and have a perfect gorilla safari.
The surrounding areas are occupied by the Batwa local people who originally used to start in park forest but later they were forced to leave the national park and the government settled them around the park as they adopt the life of a normal human being. The Batwa are the shortest people(pygmies) in the world, these were fruit gatherers, hunters in the forest before they left. Their traditional lifestyle is so amazing that you can’t choose to miss a visit to the Batwa community while on your gorilla tour.
There are also other activities like mountain climbing, exploring the Batwa caves, bird watching, and will be in a position to spot other forest mammals. The cost of gorilla trekking is the same for both national parks as a gorilla permit will cost you $ 600 US dollars per person. The permit is inclusive of entrance fees and gorilla trekking activity. However, if you are planning to travel the next year 2020, there are some changes that a traveler needs to note on the gorilla trekking permit from $ 600 US dollars to $ 700 US dollars per person.
As mentioned earlier that there are four sectors in Bwindi impenetrable national park, each with different gorilla groups, these sectors have various accommodation facilities ranging from budget lodges to mid-range lodges and luxury lodges where you can choose to stay while on a gorilla trekking tour in Uganda. Some of these lodges include budget accommodation facility, Rushaga Gorilla Haven lodge which is additionally a budget accommodation facility found in Rushaga sector, Iachumbi gorilla lodge found in Rushaga and its amid range accommodation facility, gorilla mist camp may be a mid-range accommodation facility found in Ruhija sector, Nkuringo Bwindi gorilla lodge found in Nkuringo sector may be a luxury accommodation facility, Rushaga gorilla camp is additionally a luxury accommodation found in Rushaga sector among other accommodation.
There are also lodges in Mgahinga gorilla national park which range from budget lodges, mid-range and luxury accommodation such include Mucha hotel in Kisoro which is a mid-range accommodation, travelers rest hotel in Kisoro is also mid-range facility among others.
From Kampala via Mbarara, it is 8-9 hours’ drive to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, and from Queen Elizabeth national park via Ishasha it’s 3-4 hours’ drive to Buhoma in Bwindi and it is about 64km on road transport using a 4×4 vehicle.
However, a traveler can also choose to use air transport from Entebbe airport to Bwindi impenetrable forest land in Kihihi or Kayonza to trek gorillas in Mishaya, Nkuringo, and Nshongi. To access Mgahinga national from Kampala via Kabale-Kisoro it’s a distance of about 510km and it an 8 hours’ drive. The park also can be accessed from Bwindi via Rushaga and Nkuringo which is 14 km to Mgahinga and it a 4 hours’ drive. Although a traveler can opt for a flight from Entebbe airport to Kisoro airfield.