Why You Should Trek Gorillas in Uganda

Discover the Exciting Adventure of Trekking Gorillas in Uganda: 6 Compelling Reasons to Make it Your Top Bucket List Destination this Summer.

If you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable adventure in Africa, you should trek gorillas in Uganda. Not only is Uganda a pioneer in mountain gorilla conservation, protecting over half of the last population of Africa’s great apes, but it also offers a breathtaking experience that should be on everyone’s vacation bucket list.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwestern Uganda and its neighboring Mgahinga National Park are home to more than half of the world’s last endangered mountain gorillas, making it a popular destination for primate adventurers. And we’re excited to bring this hidden gem to your attention.

When you trek through the misty mountain jungles of Uganda and stand mere meters away from these magnificent creatures, you’ll feel excitement and exertion like never before. As you quietly observe their natural behaviors, such as munching, grooming, and dozing, you’ll be amazed by the similarities between these forest giants and humans.

In fact, sitting with a human-habituated mountain gorilla family group for an hour is an experience that feels more profound than just watching wildlife from the back of a safari truck. It’s no wonder thousands of tourists flock to Uganda each year for this heart-throbbing adventure.

So, why should you trek gorillas in Uganda? Here are six compelling reasons why this incredible African jungle summer adventure should be on your bucket list.

Why you should trek Gorillas in Uganda Is A Bucke-list Summer Adventure
A family of mountain gorillas takes a rest after a foraging morning in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda.

1. You’ll Be Trekking With Half the World’s Mountain Gorillas.

Did you know that just over 1000 mountain gorillas are left in the world? These gorillas are heavily protected in two regions located in a small mountainous area in East Africa: the Virunga Volcano Mountains region (which spans the borders of Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo) and Uganda’s southwestern mountainous Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Uganda is the best place to trek these gorillas, as over half of them are protected within its two National Parks: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. However, Mgahinga shares territory with Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and DRC’s Virunga National Park. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, protects not only the mountain gorillas but also some of the most pristine virgin forest plants, primates, other 120 mammal species, and many endangered wildlife.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is another excellent place to see gorillas near Bwindi. The park is home to three imposing Virunga mountains: Mount Muhabura, Mount Gahinga (from which the park gets its name), and Mount Sabyinyo. This makes extending your gorilla tour with a hiking adventure on the Virunga Volcanos.

Together, Mgahinga and Bwindi have 20 human-habituated gorilla family groups available for tourism in five gorilla tracking sectors, with four located around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. So, if you’re looking for an opportunity to trek gorillas in their natural habitat, Uganda is the place to go!

Women at a community centre. In the backdrop is the massive Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Women at a community centre. In the backdrop is the massive Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

2. You Can Contribute To Gorilla Conservation and Support Community Endowment.

Trekking gorillas in Uganda is a sustainable ecotourism experience that greatly contributes to gorilla conservation and local communities. The cost of Uganda gorilla permits may seem high at $700 per person, but the funds are used to finance habitat protection, monitor gorilla health, and create a safe environment for gorillas against poachers. Mountain gorillas are an endangered species, and thanks to gorilla tourism, their population has increased from near extinction to slightly over 1000 in the last few decades.

By traveling with local operators like Inspire African Safaris, your gorilla safari adventure can positively impact local communities around the gorilla sanctuaries. Inspire African Safaris employs people from the local communities and runs sustainable programs that contribute directly to the well-being of women and children. By staying at their properties, you are directly improving the lives of the locals who work for Inspire African Safaris. Additionally, hiring a porter for your gorilla trek for just $20 can help support a family that lives on less than $1 per day.

Join the adventurers and trek gorillas in Uganda, knowing that your visit is helping to protect these magnificent creatures and support local communities. Gorilla tourism is one of the most successful sustainable conservation stories worldwide, and Uganda is no exception. The gorilla permit also helps pay the rangers who work tirelessly every day to protect the rainforests from poachers.

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Tourists get close to a silverback in the bamboo forest in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park - Trek Gorillas in Uganda
Tourists get close to a silverback in the bamboo forest in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

3. Trekking Gorillas in Uganda is Much More Affordable

Back in 1994, gorilla tourism was the only way for the Ugandan government to finance the protection of the endangered giants. However, to avoid disrupting the gorillas’ way of life within their natural setting, the number of tourists had to be regulated at a sustainable level. This means that trekkers now have to go through the gorilla trekking permit process to make it to the daily viewing, which is also highly regulated.

In Uganda, the gorilla permit costs $700 per person, less than half of Rwanda’s charges. This affordable price tag is a good reason why many choose to trek gorillas in Uganda instead of Rwanda. Booking your permit months in advance is necessary because there’s a long queue of tourists hoping to get that chance to see the largest primate on earth.

Expert trackers lead small groups of eight tourists per gorilla group from the starting point into the impenetrable jungles, escorted by two armed rangers, and spend at least one hour with the gorillas when they find them. There’s even an option of spending at least four hours with the gorillas, but that would be with a wild gorilla family that is not fully human-habituated if you’re up for the adrenaline jolts.

So, if Rwanda is a bit expensive for your budget, the less than half price of the permit is why you should trek gorillas in Uganda. Plus, you’ll get to witness Africa’s mountain gorillas in their natural habitat and contribute to their conservation efforts. What are you waiting for? Book your gorilla trekking permit now!

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An Authentic Raw Adventure Experience To The Gorillas - why you should Trek Gorillas in Uganda
Tourists traversing the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

4. An Authentic Raw Adventure Experience To The Gorillas

As you drive through the emerald rugged cultivated slopes of southwestern Uganda, you can’t help but be hit by the enchanting beauty of the land. But, you also come to realize that getting to the mountain gorillas is not for the faint-hearted. Mountain gorillas live at elevations of 8,000 to 13,000 feet, and trekking through steep slopes to find them promises to be an authentic jungle adventure. This is just one of the many reasons why anyone would trek gorillas in Uganda.

If you’re someone who loves adventure challenges, then trekking gorillas in Uganda will serve you the right dose of the African jungle experience. The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, as its name infers, can only be traversed on foot. You’ll be trekking uneven terrain, through a misty jungle with no used footpaths, with a local tracker clearing your way with a machete.

At first, it may seem like an impossible undertaking, but once you see the dark bodies against the green background spring up unexpectedly from the undergrowth, your seemingly tiring adventure will light up the airy jungle atmosphere. This is what bucket list adventures are made of – the feeling of accomplishment and awe-inspiring beauty that makes you appreciate nature in its rawest form.

So, if you’re up for an unforgettable adventure, trek gorillas in Uganda. It’s not just about seeing the largest primates on earth but also about experiencing the thrill of the African jungle and appreciating the beauty of this amazing country.

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5. And More Primates Along Your Adventure

Uganda is the ultimate primate adventure central of the world. Not only does it boast of two of the four great apes in the world, the chimpanzees and gorillas, but it is also home to over a dozen other primate species from a little further down the evolutionary ladder.

Trekking through the Mgahinga mountain jungles in search of gorillas, you’ll likely stumble upon the endangered golden monkeys. These tiny, furry primates, the size of a two-year-old, live high up in the bamboo forest zones of the park, sharing the same habitats with the gorillas. Golden monkey tracking is comparable to tracking gorillas but not quite as challenging. Adding the golden monkey experience to your gorilla encounter in Mgahinga is a great way to make the most of your trip.

A lazy nature hike in Bwindi may also introduce you to any of the eleven primate species that call the forest home. From the black-and-white colobus monkeys swinging in the forest’s canopies to L’Hoest’s monkeys, De Brazza monkeys, Red-tailed Monkey, Blue Monkey, Potto, Demidoff’sGalago, Spectacled Galago, Baboons, unhabituated Chimpanzees, and, of course, the mountain gorillas, there’s no shortage of primates to see. The park offers 4-9-hour walking adventures through the oldest trails crisscrossing the jungle, where tourists get to experience the richness of the jungle.

Further north is Kibale Forest National Park, home to over 1,500 chimps in southwest Uganda, including several habituated troops. It’s one of the best places in Africa to observe our closest living relatives, and most Uganda adventures will include a day or two in Kibale. Kibale Forest National Park is a must-visit for anyone wanting to get up close and personal with chimps and other primates in their natural habitat.

So, if you’re a primate lover, Uganda is the place to be. With so many primate species to see and so many adventures to be had, you’ll have the experience of a lifetime.

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Viewing Tree Climbing Lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the highlights of Uganda Safaris
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6. Wildlife Viewing Game Safaris Are Excellent

Uganda is not only a primate haven, but it also offers classic African big-game safaris, which is another excellent reason why you should trek gorillas in Uganda.

Queen Elizabeth National Park, right next to Bwindi, is Uganda’s most famous safari park and offers unforgettable wildlife viewing opportunities to complement your gorilla trekking adventure. As you traverse the plains, you’ll come across herds of elephants and buffalo, while lions preying on the abundant antelopes are easy to spot. A boat ride on the Kazinga channel that bisects this jewel of a park will bring you not only spectacular views of hippos and insanely giant crocodiles but also birds in bewildering profusion.

Further north of the country are two of the country’s largest savannah parks, Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Parks, which protect some of the country’s endemic species like giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, wild dogs, and dry-country species like the caracal, aardwolf, greater and lesser kudu, mountain reedbuck, and Guenther’s dik-dik.

While your main adventure attraction may be gorilla trekking in Uganda, you’ll find the country a fulfilling bucket list adventure destination. The possibility of seeing the great apes, and tracking gorillas and chimpanzees in their natural setting, combined with a savannah game viewing experience and highly sought-after birds like the shoebill, is an eclectic African safari mix that will leave you in awe.

In summary, Uganda has it all, from primates to big-game safaris, making it the perfect destination for adventure seekers. So, don’t miss out on the opportunity to trek gorillas in Uganda and experience the many other adventures this beautiful country has to offer.

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