There are currently around 880 mountain gorillas left in the world and half of that number resides in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, South West of Uganda. However, according to a much recent report 2016 / 2017 by saveagorilla foundation, the number could have dropped to an estimate of 790 mostly from other countries and not Uganda. How about the mountain gorillas in Uganda? This article mainlyhighlights everything about the gorillas in Uganda and will help guide you on where you can find them, the best place to trek from, how much trekking costs and much more. Why do most tourists opt to see mountain gorillas most compared to the other species? A research carried out several decades ago confirmed that mountain gorillas share over 90% of human DNA; which can be seen from their way of life, health, gestures and much more. These gorillas have similar characteristics like you and are threatened by the same diseases as humans implicating trekking them isn’t something ordinary but rather an exceptional experience.
How many mountain gorillas live in Uganda?
Like said previously, Uganda has the highest number mountain gorillas in the world with half of them living in Bwindi. This not only contributes to the thousands of tourists that visit the country annually for Gorilla trekking but also makes Uganda the best place for mountain gorilla trekking in Africa. About numbers, it’s a bit hard to get the actual number but we can try to estimate because the population in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (along the Virunga conservation area) isn’t static and keep crossing in and out of the country to neighboring countries like Rwanda and Congo despite Bwindi having a constant population. So with an estimate of 420 mountain gorillas in Bwindi forest, we can zero down to about 500 mountain gorillas in Uganda. Please note that the number is just an estimate and the actual number falls somewhere between 400 – 500 plus depending on the season.
Where can i find gorillas in Uganda?
There are only two places where you can find Mountain Gorillas in Uganda. The first and most popular is Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and the other is Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Bwindi has over 10 gorilla families where as Mgahinga has one that keeps crossing borders to Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park) and Congo (Virunga National Park). In Bwindi, gorilla trekking is takes place in the areas of Ruhija, Buhoma, Rushaga and Nkuringo which are all apart from each other with own accommodation facilities that range from budget to mid-range and luxury.
Unlike Bwindi, very few tourists visit Mgahinga Gorilla National Park for gorilla trekking because of the uncertainties of seeing less or no gorillas at all. This forced Uganda Wildlife Authority to come up with compensatory measures like refunding permit fees for tourists who fail to see gorillas or rather see them in less numbers. However, Mgahinga remains a very promising area and at the same time unpredictable because of it’s proximity to the border of Congo and Rwanda. The number of mountain gorillas in this national park could increase anytime out of the blue reason why UWA still maintains it.
How to visit Mountain Gorillas in Uganda
Visiting mountain gorillas in Uganda comes with a lot of costs and to be honest, gorilla safaris are one of the most expensive safaris in Uganda because a gorilla permit alone costs $450 and $600 in the low and high seasons of the Uganda tourism industry respectively which already makes your trip expensive by the respective amount. For a single traveler, it’s very uncertain to find a trekking safari that costs less that $1000 inclusive of permits especially in the peak seasons implicating you must have saved at least $1200 for the best bargain in the high season and best package in the low season that’s if you are a budget traveler. For luxury travelers, the entire gorilla trekking experience is goldmine for you! Nothing is better than travelling in luxury vehicles, tracking gorillas twice or rather opting for habituation and returning to the comfort of the best accommodation facility for an overnight.
To visit mountain gorillas in Uganda, you need to organize with any of the gorilla trekking companies in Uganda or Uganda tour companies in general. I strongly recommend dealing with gorilla tracking specialists (operators that focus a lot on gorilla safaris compared to the rest) if you are to have an exceptional visit. These companies will guide you on how you can best purchase permits for the most visited gorilla groups, might go ahead to purchase gorilla tracking gears for you if you request, are knowledgeable about gorilla tracking plus so many other benefits. So many companies in Uganda offer gorilla safaris but not all will draft for you a good itinerary and besides, the might book your permits for areas that are far away from your accommodation facility or areas that have not so good accommodation facilities.
The mountain gorillas in Uganda have had a great impact to the tourism industry. Uganda Wildlife Authority sells out thousands of permits annually, which has generated a lot of revenue for the country. If you ever crave for a mountain gorilla watching experience at any time, never forget that Uganda is the most perfect destination for you.