See Gorillas in Uganda (1)
Uganda's two national parks for gorilla trekking are Mgahinga and Bwindi. PHOTO/FORBES

You can now see gorillas in the wild; it may be the greatest blessing of your life to spend 60 minutes alone on the ground of a forest in Uganda.

Gorillas are one of the most amazing creatures on earth, and there’s no better place than Uganda for you to see them in the wild. It may be one of the greatest blessings of your life to sit in solitude on the ground of a forest for 60 minutes.

Fewer than 900 mountain gorillas remain, making gorilla trekking a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view these friendly, mystifying animals in their natural habitat.

Wondering why gorillas are important?

Mountain gorillas species are the largest (1)
Gorillas share 98% of their DNA with humans, so even exposure to a common cold can be harmful to them. PHOTO/QENP

Gorillas serve as a sort of “umbrella species” for their ecosystem, ensuring the preservation of a wide range of other species in the area. 

They share their woodland environment with a plethora of other species, many of which are threatened with extinction. 

By safeguarding gorillas, we are also safeguarding a slew of other important organisms, such as plants, animals, and insects. Maintaining a healthy ecology can help avoid the spread of diseases like Ebola, HIV, and COVID-19 to people.

Now moving forward, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and the dormant volcanic Virunga mountain range, which extends through Rwanda’s Volcano National Park, Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, are the only places where mountain gorillas may be found.

Mountain gorillas were thought to be extinct in 1981, but because of international conservation efforts, the population is slowly increasing. 

These critically endangered animals can only be observed in their natural habitat, which is a misty cloud forest at an elevation of up to 4,763 meters.

These reasons should convince you to see Gorillas in Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are the mountain gorillas (1)
Trekking these gorillas became available in April 1993, making Bwindi impenetrable national park a favorite tourist attraction. FILE PHOTO

The biggest percentage of gorillas are found in Uganda

Mgahinga and Bwindi gorilla national parks are the two gorilla trekking destinations in Uganda

Because gorillas don’t care about political boundaries, the Virungas’ population is highly mobile. Uganda, on the other hand, holds an advantage because Bwindi alone is home to half of the world’s mountain gorillas.

Known as “The Place of Darkness” due to its dense treetops, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park (also known as “The Place of Darkness”) is an old, montane, and lowland forest. In recognition of the area’s tremendous biodiversity and abundance of endangered species.

More than 168 square miles of the Virunga habitat can be found in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (13 square miles). 

Mount Gahinga, Mount Muhabura, and Mount Sabyinyo are three of the eight major Virunga peaks found inside the park’s boundaries.

Mountain gorillas are most at risk because of the loss of their natural habitat. Many people live near national park boundaries, and the area has long been used for agriculture or timber.

Trekkers are encouraged to look for methods to give back to the communities they visit because tourism is now Uganda’s most lucrative business and because the bulk of tourists come to see the mountain gorillas. 

Hiring a porter, who is usually a local and occasionally a repentant poacher is a common choice. It’s a challenge to trek through the parks because the terrain is so unpredictable and difficult to navigate.

Participate in cultural activities organized by the local community

The Batwa Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (1)
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest can be seen through the eyes of the indigenous Batwa people who have lived there for millennia. PHOTO/UWA

The Bwindi Bar in Bwindi village gives disadvantaged young adults in the area hands-on experience in the hospitality industry. 

To learn more about the Batwa tribe’s traditional use of medicinal plants, travellers can go on a forest trip with elders along the Batwa Trail in the Mgahinga region.

To protect the gorillas, tight rules are in place, beginning with the application for a permit to go on a gorilla trek. To get a glimpse of a particular gorilla group, visitors should apply well in advance.

The price of a permit in Uganda varies seasonally. Permits cost $450 in April, May, and November. All year long, they cost $600 each while Rwanda permits cost $1,500 per year.

There are numerous starting places and gorilla families to track in Bwindi, where most of Uganda’s trekking takes place. Groups of eight can study the gorillas for an hour in calm and safety thanks to parking ranger-led tours.

Take on the challenging terrain 

In the southwest of Uganda, the green terraced hills and undulating volcanic slopes make it evident that this location isn’t for those who are afraid of heights. 

Gorilla trekking in Uganda promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience thanks to its high altitude and tough terrain.

It takes a lot of effort to get close to the gorillas. It’s a challenge to get past the thicket of vines, thorns, and roots both up and downhill. 

On foot, visitors can reach the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda. It’s impossible to find a trail or a sign, or even a way out, which is why the park rangers carry machetes. 

In a nutshell? After putting in so much effort, the payoff appears that much sweeter.

See other primates

If you’re a fan of primates, then Uganda is the place for you. Mgahinga is also a haven for the golden monkey, an endangered species that lives with the mountain gorillas. 

In bamboo woods, you’ll find these cheeky monkeys. There are many similarities between tracking golden monkeys and tracking gorillas, although the walk itself isn’t quite as strenuous.

L’hoest monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, and blue monkeys can be found in the nearby Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. 

Chimpanzees are the star attraction at Kibale Forest National Park. In Murchison Falls National Park, Patas monkeys can be seen. Blue monkeys and red-tailed monkeys can be seen at Queen Elizabeth National Park (not to mention non-primates, like lions and elephants).

Conclusion

Seeing as to how Gorillas are important, it’s a good thing that you should come and experience them in Uganda while enjoying the benefits that come with them as stated in this article.