Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is an amazing activity that cannot be missed out when you’re in Uganda for gorilla tour experience. It has a size of 33 square kilometers and is found in the south western parts in kisoro district Uganda. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is famous for hosting the endangered great mountain gorilla. The park was first established in 1991 as a national park and it was met to preserve mountain gorillas. The park is full of amazing attractions like the 3 conical shaped extinct volcanoes that welcome a visitor as is heading to the park. You will see various bird species, animals and butterflies.
80 gorilla species are habituated in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. One gorilla family is known to be fully habituated in the park and several people from all races gather in Mgahinga to watch this family. Nyakagezi gorilla family was habituated in 1991 and as it came to 1994, it was displayed for travelers to trek. The family is unique due to the ousted silverback it has and being a peaceful family. The family is made up of 4 silverback, 2 adult females, 2infants and 1 juveniles. The juveniles are always playing in the natural nature of Mgahinga.
In the recent past, Nyakagezi gorilla family was the only one that visitors used to visit and watch in Mgahinga and hence 8 permits are available for trekking in Mgahinga per day. Later Hirwa gorilla family migrated from Rwanda and this too increased the number of trekkers in the park for a daily basis. Elusive gorilla family will also decide whether to return home or to further go to Congo.
For gorilla trekking to take place without inconvenience, a traveler is expected to have a gorilla permit as a must. In the past only 8 could be available for a day but currently 16 permits can be accessed thus travelers a requested to book in advance so to be on safer side of getting permits for gorilla trekking in Mgahinga. As of 2021, gorilla permits cost $700 for foreign nonresidents and 250,000 UGX for East African citizens and $600 for foreign residents. Permits are obtained from (UWA) Uganda Wildlife Authority.
There are recommended items for gorilla trekking are gears which contribute to a successful trekking journey in Mgahinga. Other items for gorilla trekking include hiking shoes with a good grip, long safari trousers, long sleeved shirts, water proof jackets and waterproof backpack for securing your items, energy giving snacks, insect repellant creams and among others. You can also hire a porter when you are going to start your gorilla trekking journey. You can also have a hiking stick and you can get it from the lodge you’re slept at or at the visitor’s center where the trek begins from.
You are advised to mentally prepare yourself for a gorilla trekking journey so as you should not be overwhelmed by the precious activity and you end up failing to trek. Physical preparedness is also very important because the trek is not good for the unfit trekkers hence some level of fitness is needed so as to avoid the consequences that might come later. Rangers always take time and follow slow gorilla trekkers and porters are also available plus sedan chairs are available for hire to use and ease your burden of trekking. Porters can pull or push you if you hire them to do so. Don’t forget to come with backpack to reduce on your overladen. Sedan chairs will carry you through the whole journey and the payment for sedan chairs is at around $500. Sedan chairs can be used by the elderly who have limited mobility and it is recommendable to book sedan chairs in advance.
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park begins in the morning at around 8:00 am with a briefing about the expectation, regulations and rules of gorilla trekking in Mgahinga. During gorilla trekking, you can sight out various attractions like birds, mammals’ and guides and rangers are there to share with you knowledge about the park and its habitats. When gorillas are met anywhere, a traveler is given only one hour to interact with them and you can decide to take photos, videos and also just standing and watch them as they do their daily activities like grooming each other, eating, playing, making nests for nap and also the way they spend their nights. After the trekking you will be awarded a certificate for successfully trekking gorilla. The trek can last between 30minutes – 4 hours and more depending on the location of gorillas.
First, people under 15 years of age are not allowed to do gorilla trekking.
People with strange and contagious illnesses such as flue, are not allowed to do gorilla trekking.
You need to keep a distance of 7 meters away from gorillas and never surround them.
Do not tempt to touch the gorillas if you get close to them.
Always follow instructions from the guides and rangers.
Never use a flash photography when close to the gorillas.
Avoid make noise while in the park.
Never drink, eat or smoke while you are near mountain gorillas.
Do not dump litter in the park.
Always wash your hands as you’re going for gorilla trekking.
You are allowed to stay with mountain gorillas only for one hour.
You must stay in tight group and avoid moving around because mountain gorillas may hurt you.
Only 8 visitors are allowed to visit a group of habituated mountain gorillas a day.
If you are really badly off and you feel you want to use a toilet, you are required to dig a hole of 30 meters and after using it you are supposed to cover it.
Do not looking direct in the eyes of mountain gorillas and do not try to run away when you encounter gorillas because you will be increasing the risk.
Gorilla trekking takes place in the park throughout the year and dry season is the best time to visit the park because by then the road is not slippery. You should pack warm clothes as you on your trip for gorilla trekking. You can contact Africa Adventure Vacations if to take you to a memorable tour in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Africa Adventure Vacations Ltd
Plot 85 Kanjokya Street, Uganda
Phone: +256 752 974500 +256785025022
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