Have you ever heard of Bwindi National Park? It’s located in Uganda. Almost 50% of the worldwide population of mountain gorillas live here.
Gorillas are in danger today with less than 1000 of them living in the wild. So, Bwindi Forest National Park has a very important task in protecting the world’s few mountain gorilla species. It preserves these beautiful animals and tries to increase their population sponsored by revenue earned from gorilla safaris. In the last few years, they have achieved this goal. Since 1991, the number of gorillas increased from 300 to over 550 species today in Bwindi gorilla forest.
– This post is written by the experts at Wild Rwanda Safaris
There’s good news for tourists who would like to see gorillas in Bwindi National Park. The government in Uganda manages well-structured gorilla trekking in Uganda for tourists who’ve purchased gorilla permits. It is also worth saying that the officials restrict the number of visitors per day who go into the forest in search for the rare mountain gorillas. Visitors can only access this place if they go with park trained guides. It’d take them several hours to reach the spots in which these animals live. Of course, the trekking is worth the effort. Keep on reading if you would like to know more about how to visit these amazing places.
Arriving in Bwindi National Park
As stated above, Bwindi is in Uganda. It’s very near the Republic of Congo. There are different ways of getting to this National Park. One of them is going from Kampala, the country’s capital city. To enjoy the road, people should ride four-wheel vehicles. There are many routes, as you can see below.
– Start at Kampala-Kabale. Go straight ahead for 414km. This will take you at least 5 to 8 hours. Then, keep on going to Kabale and then Kanungu. Buhoma Park is the last place before you arrive.
– Another option is to go from Kampala to Kabale. Then, go to Ruhija, and then to Buhoma. This trip takes approximately 3 hours. The road to take is at Butogota. From there, you’re just 17 km away from the park.
Those who do not have the possibility of riding a car, have other options. For example, there is a bus that goes from Kampala to the National Park every day. Taxis are also available. Take into account that this trip will take at least nine hours since the distance is quite large.
Make sure you have your visa for Uganda sorted before you go.
Adventurers can also go to Bwindi via Kigali, in Rwanda. It takes a long time (8 or 9 hours). But it is worth the time. The road is still under construction, but people can use it anyway. There are incredible natural views on the road such as the hills of Kigezi, the Uganda Equator and much more.
How to buy gorilla permits
As you may know already, you can’t just show up and see the gorillas. First, you’ll need to buy a gorilla permit. You have to do it in advance as so many people would like to go through this experience. So, book this as soon as you know you want to do it.
There are two options for getting a permit.
You can book a guide that will take care of the issue for you. Apart from the permits, these services will offer you transportation and a place to stay. Of course, they will charge a booking fee. So, it might be cheaper if you do it on your own. The permit in Uganda is a little bit cheaper than the one in Rwanda.
How much do they cost?
Warning: Gorilla tracking is quite expensive. In comparison, Uganda gorilla tours are generally cheaper than going through the same tour in Rwanda. Uganda gorilla permits costs $600 USD during the summer and although there used to be a discount for the winter, it’s no more but can generally book a cheap gorilla tour as the hotels are discounted at this time of the year!
Officials use all this money to cover for the gorilla conservation expenses. Conservation of mountain gorilla habitat is expensive plus the well being of the communities living around these protected areas including the Batwa pygmies who formerly lived in the forest before gorilla conservation. Also, they need to pay for the salaries of porters, rangers and other employees of the park. As stated before, their main goal is to increase these gorillas’ population.
All in all, it seems to be working!
If you decide to go on this trekking trip, this is money well-spent.
What to pack for gorilla trekking
There are many things to pack up for this adventure. You will be trekking in the jungle! So, make sure you don’t forget anything essential. You’ll probably not be able to get it once you are in the park. Here we present you with a list that might help you pack.
Don’t forget about food and water
This might seem obvious, but don’t forget to backup water. Africa is hot and you might get access to. Apart from liquids, you may need to boost your energy. Bring some healthy snacks which will help you recover after a long and exciting journey.
Hiking boots can protect you from bushes. In the jungle, these are high and can be very annoying. So, buying high boots would be a great investment for this adventure in Africa. You won’t regret it, especially if you’re traveling during the rainy season. Make sure your boots have good grip.
Rain jackets are a good idea, as sometimes the weather is unpredictable. Finally, you may not have thought about this, but clothes’ colours are important. Most safari clothes have neutral colours. This happens for a reason. For example, to keep that tsetse fly away from us. These horrible insects mostly attack people who wear bright or dark colours.
How long is the hike?
There is no fixed time for the trek. It will all depend on the location of the family. On average, it takes 2 to 8 hours to be able to see them. Your trekking schedule will range from 8.30 am to 7.30 pm, when the night falls. If you’re not able to spot gorillas by then, you will get a refund. However, this is very rare. Guides are experts in guiding tourists in their trekking experience. If seeing gorillas in their natural habit is your dream, do not hesitate to book your trip today.
This is the experience of a lifetime!