Uganda has an amazing diversity of wildlife with around 500 mammal species, including the ‘big five’. Uganda’s biggest draw has to be Bwindi National Park, the natural habitat of the mountain gorilla where visitors can go gorilla trekking. In fact Uganda has about 340 gorillas which is more than half of the world’s mountain gorilla population as well as chimpanzees and some 1,000 bird species.
The Bwindi National Park has several gorilla trekking routes through the 331 square km forest. Also called the Impenetrable Forest, Bwindi presents a challenging adventure holiday with dense and steep terrain. All that hiking is soon forgotten though as you glimpse a gorilla in its natural environment.
Guide to Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
If your passion is travelling, camping, nature and spotting wildlife in their natural habitat, then a gorilla trekking expedition I Uganda would be the perfect trip for you. A gorilla tracking trip is perfect for the truly adventurous and the dedicated nature lover. But, where do you start to plan a trip of this calibre?
Uganda, if you have never ventured there is a beautiful and wild country. Why Uganda? Well certain wildlife species are on the endangered list and this includes the mighty gorilla. Uganda is surrounded by wild mountain ranges, scores of deep lakes and lush rolling hills.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The Bwindi National Park in southwest Uganda is home to the critically endangered gorilla. In fact just over half of the remaining mountain gorilla population is estimated to reside in Bwindi, with around 340 gorillas here. Established in 1991, there are 4 main gorilla groups which tourists can explore within Bwindi; Mubare; Habinyanja; Rushegura and Nkuringo.
Walking safaris are available in the forest and are led by skilful, professional and knowledgeable rangers. And on such a safari visitors can get up close to these amazing creatures that share so much of our own DNA. Covering some 331 sq. km. (128 sq. mi) of thick jungle forests, Bwindi is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to the mighty gorilla, there are a further 120 mammal species, 350 bird species and more than 220 butterfly species in addition to various frogs and geckos.
Stay at accommodation right in the heart of the forest and prepare yourself for a long trek to spot these elusive creatures. One note of caution is that the cost of a gorilla permit is high and limited; in fact a permit can cost around 500 USD (check with your local operator) and should be booked at least 3 months in advance to avoid disappointment.
Kibale National Park
Another notable wildlife destination is the Kibale Forest National Park in southern Uganda which covers 776 sq. km. (300 sq. mi). Established in 1993 Kibale is connected with the Queen Elizabeth National Park to provide one large protected area. This area is important as both an eco travel and a safari destination, with travellers drawn to the local primate population.
In fact there are 13 different primate species resident in the Kibale National Park including the chimpanzee. There are also the Ugandan Mangabey, Black Colobus, Ugandan Red Colobus, Blue Monkey and the L’Hoest’s Monkey. Local elephants also travel between the Queen Elizabeth NP and Kibale. Other resident mammal species include lion, leopard, bushpigs, buffalo, duikers and warthogs. Kibale is also a bird lover’s paradise with 325 different species here including pittas, long-tailed cuckoo and the African Grey Parrot.
Trekking consists of multi-day hiking trips either in a private group or as part of a small group. Travel with a local experienced guide who will be able to point out the local wildlife and guide you safely around. Trekking can include rock climbing and backpacking. Trekking will allow hikers the rare opportunity to come face to face with nature and the beauty it holds.