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Mountain Gorilla Tracking Safaris in Uganda

Adventure travellers from all over the world travel to Uganda to see the Mountain Gorilla that Uganda is famed for. In fact, Uganda is the home to half of world's remaining population of mountain gorillas estimated at less than seven hundred individuals. A gorilla is the largest living primate. A gorilla is a ground dwelling omnivore animal and largely dwells in the forest. The most popular of such forests are the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda.

There are three classifications of Gorilla. That is the Western Lowland Gorilla, the Eastern Lowland and the Mountain Gorilla. All these gorillas are endangered due to poaching, habitat destruction and trade in bush meat. Gorillas move in groups led by the male gorilla, the Silverback. Silver back is about 12 years of age or more with silver hair on his back. Its resposible for the entire movement of the troop, decision making and safety. The two homes of mountain gorillas are Bwindi National park and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda. In Rwanda, Gorilla tracking is done in Parc de Volcans. The Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi largely feed on fruits, foliage and epiphytes. the Bwindi gorilla diet is almost the same as that of the Bwindi Chimpanzees. Gorilla tracking or trekking is the top safari activity of tourists who flock to Uganda. A Gorilla Tracking permit can be obtained from Uganda Wildlife Authority or can be arranged by AfriChoice! Tours and Travel Ltd though it is advisable to secure one well in advance.

Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi and Mgahinga Parks
Visiting mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is one of the things a person must do in their lifetime. It is a unique experience. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to 320 of the 700 remaining mountain gorillas in the world. Three family groups are habituated to humans and eight visitors are permitted to spend an hour observing each family each day. Mountain Gorilla Tracking Safaris in Uganda

Uganda's Bwindi impenetrable forest national park boasts of more than a half. Bwindi in east Africa was and has been the main place of seeing these giant apes during Rwanda's troubled years but these days Parc National des Volcanoes is also drawing visitors in numbers again. Abacus African Vacations a local tour operator has also started taking a good number of visitors to the bordering Congo for other families of gorillas.

Mgahinga National park of Uganda has one family of habituated gorillas but they regularly cross the boader to Rwanda and back. So gorilla treks in Mgahinga National Park are made on very short notice between one month to the tracking date. No tour operator can confirm availability of the tour unless its very close to the tracking date. AfriChoice! is here to assist.

Gorilla Tracking Permits, Rules and Regulations
Mountain Gorilla Tracking Safaris in Uganda
Gorilla Tracking Permits in Uganda costs USD 500 per person. For non residents of East Africa. East African Residents pay USD 355 per person per day. The cost includes park fees and guides fees. Its advisable to book gorilla permits several months prior to your visit: Only 24 tourists per day are allowed to track gorillas. 18 in Bwindi and 6 in Mgahinga National park.
Each tracking party is accompanied by a guide, 3 trackers and 4 army personnel. Once you join a tracking group, the chances of sighting the gorillas are excellent, although it may take up to several hours to find them in the rainforest. Be prepared to hike through some rugged country – steep hills, thorny trees, tangled vines, and damp slippery floors laden with matted vegetation and mud, giving you every opportunity to fall over.

A normal gorilla tracking experience starts at 8:30 in the morning and in most cases lasts the whole day. It can be exhausting, but sometimes it may not be as difficult as that. Gorillas have been located only 10 minutes away from the campsite before. All tracks are accompanied by an expert guide and two trackers who follow the scents and movement of the gorillas from the previous day. They make your path a little more bearable by hacking through the undergrowth with machetes. In the unlikely event that there are no visitors on a particular day, these dedicated park employees still visit the gorilla groups to maintain habituation and check that they are okay.
Gorilla Tracking and Conservation Rules
For conservation reasons, gorilla tracking is tightly controlled. The following rules and advice are sensible. Wash your hands before and after a gorilla track. Anyone with a contagious disease – even flu or diarrhoea – is not allowed to visit the gorillas. If you have to cough or sneeze when you are near the gorillas, turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth. Mountain Gorilla Tracking Safaris in Uganda

• The group must listen to the guide and trackers at all times; stay very close together and do not surround the gorillas.

• Don’t get closer than five metres. This is not always possible but try. The further back you are, the more relaxed the gorillas will be. Don’t make any loud noises or sudden movements. Your safety with the gorillas depends on them thinking they are the dominant party. Do not touch the gorillas, they are wild animals. They might look cuddly but…!

• No flash photography. If you have a camera with an automatic flash, cover it with Elastoplast or duct tape.

• If you have to go to the loo on a gorilla track, ensure everything is buried well below ground. The guide will dig you a hole with his machete. Don’t drink, eat or smoke within 200 metres of the gorillas.

• Do not dispute the time spent with the gorillas. Sixty minutes is what you get from the first sighting, and that’s it. Over exposure to human contact is harmful. If the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide will finish the visit early, and remember, no one forces them to stay there for the allotted hour. They can fade into the forest whenever they want to.

Further Information and Travel Planning
A minimum of three days are required to visit and track the gorilla. The first day is of driving and the second day is the day of tracking and the third day is for driving again back to Kampala or Entebbe. We have a wide range of carefully designed gorilla tours to carefully selected parks and game reserves in Uganda that will give you a rewarding Uganda wildlife safari or Gorilla Tracking Adventure. Your safari consultant will always be at your assistance should you need a tailor-made holiday to any of these locations within Uganda. For more information regarding this topic, please DO NOT hesitate to contact us.
 
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Mountain Gorilla Tracking Safaris in Uganda

 
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