Uganda is one of the few countries that have these rare primates and they are largely found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. However, it is not obvious that a visitor must view the gorillas in Uganda as he/she is required to obtain a Gorilla permit. Obtaining a gorilla permit is the only way through which one can get a chance to see the gorillas. Gorilla permits in Uganda can be obtained from the Uganda Wildlife authority at their offices. Alternatively one can purchase a Gorilla permit online before going for A gorilla safari to Uganda. A gorilla permit in Uganda costs USD 600 per person, per day. A visitor is required to book these gorilla permits in advance to avoid inconveniences since at peak seasons, it’s competitive to acquire one. There are very many tourism agents that can help visitors from overseas obtain these gorilla permits.
At the park, the gorillas were grouped into two special units for easy identification, the Katendegye group, and the Mubare group. These groups are comprised of many gorillas that keep on multiplying every year. Though there are many Gorillas at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, found in the southwest of Uganda, it is not obvious that one must see the gorilla without knowing how to trek them. Meeting a gorilla in this thick forest requires a tourist to know how these elegant primates behave and how they spend their day.
Gorilla tracking in Bwindi requires one to have some energy because of the long-distance that is moved while searching for the primates. A visitor is advised to have enough breakfast in the morning as he/she prepares for the trip. For treks that take more than a day, visitors are asked to carry food with them before setting off to the forest. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a large park and therefore gorilla tracking takes many hours (a half a day – a full day).
The guides will group you into groups of six people and each group will take a different direction. This is done so as to avoid overcrowding at the paths which can irritate the mammals in the forest. While in the forest, avoid making noise because it can scare away the Gorillas.
Sometimes seeing these gorillas becomes a hustle especially at mid-day (12:00 PM) when they are looking for food. But in order to be the first to see a gorilla while trekking, keep your eyes up in the trees. These gorillas often hide in the leaves while feeding and they only come down when it’s evening. Apart from feeding on leaves, they also play on the trees jumping from one tree to another.
In case you meet the Gorillas on your trek, don’t scare them away. Always keep about 10 meters away. You can take photos with them but make sure that the flash is off. It is advisable that you avoid direct contact with the Gorillas unless if you are sure that it is treated and pest-free. You can friend a gorilla at the park by persuading it to like you. This can be done by giving it food preferably sweet bananas.
Apart from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, mountain gorillas can also be found in Mgahinga National Park but the biggest number is found at Bwindi. While planning for a gorilla safari to Uganda, you can extend the adventure to Rwanda where these primates can also be found. In Rwanda, mountain gorillas are found in Volcanoes National Park. At Volcanoes National Park, there are 11 mountain gorilla families.