In Pics: Gorilla tracking in Uganda

There are less than 1000 mountain gorillas left.

You go to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with just one goal: to get up close and personal with the endangered mountain gorillas of east and central Africa. Of the 880 surviving gorillas, nearly half the population can be found in this national park making it a not-to-miss experience in Uganda. The other two options are Rwanda or Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). With the civil unrest in DRC, it’s best to avoid it which basically leaves you with Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda or Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

While both are relatively safe countries and offer excellent viewing of these beautiful and big apes, the advantage with Uganda is that the government permit costs 600 USD per person whereas it’s 750 USD in Rwanda. Uganda also offers offseason discounts for the months of April, May and November since it’s the rainy season there. This price is only for one hour with the Gorillas, from the time you first find them.

 

This national park is one of the three habitats of the endangered mountain gorillas.

For permits, it’s advised to book them well in advance during the peak season (July to September and December to February) as there are 14 mountain gorilla families in Uganda and only 8 visitors per family per day are allowed.

When you first spot them it'll leave you speechless.

Keep these tips in mind before planning:

  • Uganda visa on arrival is no longer valid for Indians. Instead can take the East African tourist visa at 100 USD which includes multiple entries into Uganda, Rwanda & Kenya.

  • Before entering Uganda, be sure to have your Yellow Fever vaccination done else entry will be denied.

  • Update your dose of tetanus and hepatitis shots.

  • Don’t forgot to take a travel insurance policies

    Once these are done, you are ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Take a look at what you might spot there.

  • Almost 72 people visit Bwindi daily to see the gorillas.
    Playful baby gorillas are fun to watch.
    Mountain gorillas have longer and darker hair compared to normal gorillas.
    Female mountain gorillas can start giving birth from the age of 10.
    Adult males are called 'silverback' because they have a patch of silver hair on their back.
    Mountain Gorillas stay in groups of upto 30.
    A few members of the Rushegura group located in Buhoma region of the national park.

    All images and text by Nitin Gairola

    AUTHOR'S BIO: Nitin Gairola is an adventurer, travel writer and a keen student of cosmology, earth science, and world cultures. He has travelled to many parts of the Earth, across six continents, in his quest for knowing more about the planet and its inhabitants. More on: www.facebook.com/NitinGairolaPhotography www.twitter.com/gairolanitin nitin.gairola@gmail.com