When visitors are to come to the Africa, they opt for gorilla trekking in Bwindi once permits are secured. You can explore gorilla trekking in three African countries i.e. Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo where lowland gorillas and mountain gorillas are more spotted with a gigantic size.
Uganda is well known for its ways of conserving and protecting the endangered species of mountain gorillas that are in the wild. You can tour and watch the gorillas in Uganda thought the year due to the low prices of gorilla permits that are purchased at $700 US dollars which is less to the one of Rwanda that is $1500 US dollars.
Besides a Ugandan gorilla permit being cheap and affordable, it is said that Uganda has the highest population of endangered mountain gorillas thus out competing the two remaining countries in favor of selling many permits for gorilla trekking. Uganda is advantaged to have such endangered and precious mountain gorillas that help to boom its economy through taxes paid by gorilla trekking tourists.
There are two main gorilla trekking areas in Uganda that a famously known globally. One is Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and the other one is Mgahinga national park which is located in the western Uganda. Travelers who come to Uganda enjoy a memorable experience with these endangered primate species known as mountain gorillas.
Bwindi impenetrable national park is found in southwestern Uganda at the center of the Rift Valley. The park is located on the border of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo close to Virunga National Park. The park covers an area of 327km2. Part of the forest formed Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which is in Uganda and it became a national park in 1991. The main purpose was to protect the rare endangered but famous mountain gorilla species. Since 1994, Bwindi has been a UNESCO heritage site and it all came from having unique ecological biodiversity.
Bwindi has over 35 gorilla group species that are well known but 17 species are being habituated for tourism and research. Therefore a tourist will have an exceptional experience of watching and interacting with mountain gorillas.
Bwindi mainly has four sectors for gorilla trekking and homesteads for gorillas. These sectors include, , Rushaga, Buhoma, Ruhija and Nkuringo sector. Travelers are only allowed to stay with gorillas for four hours and two groups have a homestead in Nkuringo sector.
Visitors should know that mountain gorilla trekking is not easy at all and more especially in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. The trekking involves a visitor to climb and hike steep terrain hills plus going deeper in the forest to find the presence of gorillas.
Some gorilla species decided to settle close to the headquarters of the park and in just less than two hours a visitor will be able to spot them. Though some gorilla species still require hiking. The Uganda gorilla trekking briefing starts at 7.00am at the headquarters of the park. Here you will be briefed on the dos and don’ts of gorilla trekking within the park. Do not forget that gorilla permits should be booked in advance through a tour company and also recommended to use an established tour operator to help you in planning for a gorilla safari.
Bwindi is not only known for rare and endangered mountain gorillas but it is also known as a habitat of the rare golden monkeys. Golden monkeys a found only in Bwindi and nowhere else. Batwa were the ones who occupied the area as the natives of park but with time government pushed them away from the park premises and they settled them around the park which they later adopted as their new life style for normal human being. Remember that batwa or pygmies are shortest people in the world and were mainly hunters and fruit gatherers before they left the forest. There do miss out a chance to explore the Batwa culture as you are on the gorilla tour in the Bwindi Park. You can also decide to explore Batwa caves, bird watching, and mountain climbing as you also sight mammals in the forest.
Costs of all gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park and Mgahinga is the same. You pay for a gorilla permit at a cost of $ 700 US dollars per person. The permit is inclusive of gorilla trekking and entrance fees.
Bwindi impenetrable national park is composed of four sectors where by each sector has got a different gorilla group. The four sectors have a variety of accommodation facilities starting with luxury lodges, midrange and finally budget lodges. Some of the budget lodges are Trekkers Tarven which is located in Ruhija sector and Gorilla Haven lodge that is in Rushaga sector. Midrange accommodation lodges include Lachumbi gorilla lodge which is in Rushaga and also gorilla mist camp which is in Ruhija sector. Luxury lodges are Nkuringo Bwindi gorilla lodge and Rushaga gorilla camp.
It takes you 8 to 9 hours to drive from Kampala through Mbarara to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. When coming from Queen Elizabeth national park and pass through Ishasha, it will take you 3 to 4 hours to reach Buhoma which is in Bwindi, that is when you drive a 4×4 vehicle on the road. More so, a traveler may decide to use air means. You board from Entebbe airport and directly you will land in Bwindi impenetrable forest at Kihihi or Kayonza. You will trek gorillas in Nkuringo, Mishaya and Nshongi.
Different items are included in the Gorilla tours costs. Some of the items that are included;
Gorilla trekking Permits. A permit costs $700 per individual per trek.
Accommodation and meals. The type of accommodation you desire should also be considered when making a budget for gorilla trekking. There are three groups of accommodation, that is, luxury, midrange and budget. The prices differ accordingly. We book for you accommodation on the nearby place that is close to where you are going to do gorilla trekking.
Transportation. We recommend 4×4 safari vehicle for transportation and it has to be full of fuel with a a driver and a guide. All activities on the itinerary are included on the total cost maybe if there is a special arrangement agreed upon.
Gorilla trekking is the same in Uganda and Rwanda. The price of gorilla trekking permits is different. Rwanda’s permit costs $1500 USD and Uganda’s costs $700 USD.
Distance in the locations of parks also creates a difference within both countries. You only take two hours when driving from Rwanda’s Capital city to Parc national des volcanoes where mountain gorillas are located. It will take you 8 hours to reach Bwindi as you are driving from Kampala Uganda’s capital.
The similarity is in between security, hospitality, accommodation and other factors. Therefore, when deciding the country to do gorilla trekking from, the above-mentioned difference should be noted before you decide either to trek in Uganda or Rwanda.
Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park is one of the most popular places for mountain gorilla in the world. Records show during 2018 census, it was noted that about 1000 Mountain gorillas are remaining in the world. But the number is increasing due to the conservation practices that were put in place by the government of Uganda. Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla national park are the main places in Uganda that harbor mountain gorillas. As earlier said, Bwindi is a division of four sections, Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo and there are 15 inhabited mountain gorilla groups that are in Bwindi for tracking.
You need Hiking Boots, camera and accessories, poncho, long sleeved shirts and trousers, hat, insect repellant, energy snacks and walking stick if you are going to trek in Bwindi.
In Uganda gorilla trekking costs $700 for foreign non -resident, $600 for foreign resident, East African citizen is 250,000 shs. Visitors are advisable to book their tour safari in advance like four months back so that we organize well the arrangements of gorilla permits since there is much competition for gorilla trekking in Bwindi. Tour operators ideally help you to secure your gorilla permit, you can also buy your permit from UWA, and it depends upon you.
Bwindi has an age limit for gorilla trekking permits and starts from 15 years, all children under 15years are not allowed to trek mountain gorillas in Uganda because they might be strenuous and not mature enough and remember that gorilla trekking is somehow tiresome.
Gorilla trekking gives you a chance to explore the primate world in depth. If someone wants to do gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park requires five days to enjoy it very well.
Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park has four gorilla trekking sectors, these include Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija and Nkuringo sector.
Buhoma sector is located in the Northern part of Bwindi in Kanungu district, it is one of the gorilla trekking sector in Bwindi impenetrable National park. Most tourists desire Buhoma sector hence being an exceptional region of Bwindi.
It is not easy to access Gorilla trekking permits for Buhoma since many visitors prefer to trek in this sector and the permits are issued on first come first serve basis. Buhoma is a historical rich region and is said to be the first region to be toured by the first group of tourist trekkers in Bwindi.
Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park has four gorilla trekking sectors and each sector has its gorilla families, Mubare gorilla family is the one of oldest group in Bwindi, it was gazetted in 1992.
Buhoma sector is the best place in Bwindi for gorilla trekking and is easily accessible by the gorilla trekkers. It takes you a 2 hour drive from Kabale town through Kanungu plus other 4 hours from Ishasha sector region which is well known for tree climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National park. You can also enjoy forest walks, game drives, bird watching, brewing, preparing local food, brewing and explore community cultures within the park.
Buhoma sector has three habituated gorilla families such as Habinyanja family, Rushegura family and Mubare family.
In Buhoma sector, all families have a story to tell for example Mubare is the one of the first habituated group in Bwindi, it was habituated in 1992 and it is the oldest group with 9 members.
Habinyanja was opened in 1997 with almost 17 members. Rushegura family was habituated in 2000 with almost 19 members.
Only 24 gorilla permits are issued on a daily basis for Buhoma. Only 8 members per day are allowed to see the three gorilla families.
Gorilla trekking offers a variety of activities and a number of attractions for trekkers.
Buhoma sector has a variety of lodging facilities like budget, luxury and mid-range lodges and all with high-quality services. Experienced and professional staff will serve you.
You will encounter Bwindi forest lodge, mahogany springs lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Bwindi view bandas, Bwindi guest house, Bwindi volcano lodge at Buhoma. When you are at Buhoma, you are close to gorilla trekking headquarters and you will easily catchup with briefing. Camps are also available.
Gorilla trekking is one of the major reasons why Ruhija sector has a lot of gorilla trekking. Three gorilla families also make up Ruhija and these include Kyaguiro, Oruogo and Bitukura. You can access all these families. Also here, only 8 people are allowed to trek mountain gorillas and 24 permits are issued for Ruhija sector trekking. Trekkers should carry pack trekking shoes, rain jackets, and long pants for safety against the unexpected like rain.
Permits for gorilla trekking also cost 700 USD and potters are there to help a visitor in case of need. You are encouraged to pack your food for lunch since you can’t leave trekking and come to the lodge for lunch. For trekking, you need to be physically health so as go through the toughness and also hike properly.
You will encounter a lot of things while trekking and these include;
You will explore the first habitats of the forest who were driven out from the forest in 1991 at a time tourism board came into existence in the park. You will explore their daily life styles like traditional lifestyle, culture lifestyle, honey collection, hunting and use of herbal medicine.
Ruhija has the best accommodation in the region. It has luxury lodges that are at affordable prices and these include Bakiga lodge, Gorilla mist camp, Agandi lodges, Trekkers Tavern lodges and many more. Housekeepers, chefs and waiters are professional but note that accommodation is booked in advance of 2 months before traveling. Warm water is supplied in all the rooms so as to minimize the coldness.
Nkuringo sector is found in the southern part of Bwindi Park. It is a home of the well-known Nkuringo gorilla family. Rafiki is the head of the family and it is so amazing to be in touch with such kind of gorilla family and many tourists are always taken away by the fascinating Gorilla family. Nkuringo sector is made up of 19 members in a group and are joined with Bushasho family that is from the other side of Rushaga sector. Nkuringo gorilla family was first habituated in 1997. Gorilla twins were born in 2004 in the southern part of Nkuringo and this was historical in the park. Villages where chased away from the Nkuringo sector which is well known for roaming. Scabies in 2000 disrupted the gorilla family but with time it was cured. Remember the Nkuringo sector is in the high altitudes and it is hillythus you have to be energetic so as to hike in the park. Nshogi in Rushaga sector is the neighbor to Nkurigo gorilla sector.
Only 8 visitors are allowed to trek the Gorillas of Nkuringo gorilla group. The age limit for Gorilla trekking in Nkuringo sector is 15 years of age and anyone below the age of 15 years is not allowed to trek the mountain Gorilla. Travel to Nkuringo sector in Bwindi for a great Tour out of the noisy city and see a great sceneries of Kabale’s landscape view to Nyiragongo and Nyimuragira of Congo, which provides a beautiful view in the sky. During the time in which they erupted in 2010, those tourists who visited enjoyed to the maximum. Accessibility to Nkuringo sector. To get to Nkuringo sector, one goes via the Kabale-Kisoro road. If one uses a bus, the journey can last for 11-12 hours. Junction takes 45 kilometers which are about 2-3 hours. You can use the route via Buhoma through Kihihi or Butogota, but this is more tiresome and it’s good hiring a private vehicle provided by a tour company. Nkuringo Gorilla trekking sector has a lot of activities included apart from Gorilla trekking, i.e. Bird watching, Hiking, and cultural encounters.
Rushaga sector is located in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. It has 5 Gorilla families and this is the only sector in Bwindi for Gorilla habituation. The sector can be accessed through Rwanda in a 4 hours’ Drive. Rushaga is a best sector for Gorilla trekking in Bwindi, the only area permitted for habituation experience for four hours with the mountain Gorillas, hiking such as the waterfall hike and cultural interactive experiences. It’s an amazing encounter away from home. Rushaga sector is nearby Nkuringo sector, the sector has the biggest number of Gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest than other sectors. The southern part of Bwindi impenetrable forest is the best place for watching the scenic areas of the park. The lodges have been created in the area since they are many choices around the sector including the Gorilla valley lodge, Gorilla safari lodge, Gorilla havens lodge, Rushaga Gorilla camp and among others. Rushaga sector has 8 Gorilla families. It takes a maximum of 4-hour drive from Kigali and Gorilla permits cost 700 USD than for Rwanda which costs 1500 USD.
Rushaga sector in Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park is also a best place for mountain Gorilla trekking. Permits for Gorilla trekking in Rushaga sector are many than any other sector. Tourists can also decide to join the researchers for gorilla habituation. It’s a 4hour experience with the Gorillas and only 4 visitors are allowed, while gorilla trekking activity 8 visitors are allowed to trek the mountain Gorilla and only given 1 hour with the mountain Gorillas. The permits in Rushaga sector for Gorilla habituation costs 1,500USD while gorilla trekking permits cost 700 USD only. Gorilla habituation experience is not to be missed. It’s only done in Rushaga sector of Bwindi in Uganda. Rushaga-Nkuringo One can access the Sector from Entebbe airport in Uganda to Rushaga sector of Bwindi, it takes the only 3-hour drive from Kigali airport to Rushaga area. You can also fly into Rwanda and trek the Gorillas in Uganda, the visitors do Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda have a lot to view. Most of visitors find it amazing choice to fly in from Rwanda to Uganda.
Rushaga and Nkuringo sector have many choices of accommodation and they range from budget, moderate and upmarket lodges. The lodges include the Rushaga Gorilla camp, Gorilla safari lodge, Clouds Mountain Lodge, Chameleon hill lodge and among others. The other lodges in the area such as the Mutanda Lake Resort, Bwindi Gorilla lodge, Gorilla Valley lodge, Bwindi jungle lodge and Lake Mulehe. The tourists Rest Hotel is in the kisoro town. Hike the trails in Rushaga sector, the trails may take 3-hour trail this combines, nature, local history, and culture. The Kara Ridge trail is moderate with very amazing panoramic views of beautiful sceneries like visiting the Batwa people, local culture and among others. They are very many views in Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. They’re very many trailheads beginning and ending in Kisoro one can as well enjoy canoe across Lake Mutanda. Cultural Activities in the Rushaga sector. The Buniga Forest Walk with the Batwa Pygmies is a best activity one cannot miss out, the Batwa pygmies have lived in the place for over 500,000 years and were the original local people of the Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park. There are Village Walks, hands-on Craft activities, home Visits and many more. You may also decide to buy some locally made arts and crafts to take home. It is very nice and benefit you and also the ones who made it and give income for their standards of living. Those one who are interested in more cultural activities, including jewelry making, drumming and dancing, let us know and we will facilitate your request. The Buniga Forest Walk is the best way to get to know the Batwa People – the first People of the Forest.
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