* Gorilla Trekking Tour 4 day
* Gorilla Tracking Safari 7 days
Chimpanzee holidays Uganda
* Uganda chimp safari 5 days
* Chimpanzee tracking tour 8 days
Uganda Wildlife tours
* Excursions in Uganda
* Queen Elizabeth Safari -3 Days
* Murchison Falls Tour -3 Days
* Uganda Walking Safari -7 Days
* Uganda Wildlife Safari -8 Days
* Rwenzori hiking Tour -10 Days
* Uganda Wildlife Tour -15 Days
* Wildlife, Birds, Scenery -15 Days
* Uganda Birdwatching Tour -15 Days
From its apex to its end, Uganda is predominant with national parks. Chimpanzees play in the out skirts of the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains also known earlier as mountains of the moon, elephants drink from the gushing waterfalls of Murchison Falls National Park, and lions and Uganda kobs forage on the beautiful savannah grasslands of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
But exploring deeper into the country’s southwestern corner, you will find a different type of creature. In the depths of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, half of the world’s remaining Wild Mountain gorillas wander freely, and you can hike through their vanishing home to see them toil, rest and play.
October 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of Uganda’s independence from British rule, and in a bid to preserve the country’s environmental future, some government initiatives have been front lined on the political agenda. Corresponding patrols to restrain poaching are on the rise, benefit sharing schemes — including the sharing of tourism revenue with local communities have been introduced.
Only 72 trekking permits are issued each day by the Ugandan Wildlife Authority, and it is mandatory for each of them to be applied for through a registered safari operator. Starting in June, the Ugandan Wildlife Authority is expected to pursue the Rwandan government in increasing the permit rate from $500 to $750 per person. While it is an intensely debated political topic in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, many anticipate that the move will help further restriction on human-gorilla contacts and raise funds to protect the park’s boundaries from encroaching farm lands and ever flexible poachers.
The gorillas have comparable DNA to humans and are therefore are prone to illness. Diseases as simple as common colds can easily wipe out an entire faction. Park visitors must keep a bare minimum distance of seven meters from the animals at all times, and visits are limited to one hour in the company of one of three habituated families.
Due to the restrictions, the future of this decisively endangered creature looks bright especially after decades of illegal deforestation and poaching, the number of gorillas at Bwindi has stuck at around 340, and for the first time in years, it is very slowly on the rise.
But gorilla tracking is no leisurely walk in the park. It can take anywhere up to 10 hours to find the elusive creatures in the dense undergrowth. Guides lead trekkers up precipitous verges and across rivers and old pangas are used to create paths through Bwindi. It is the perfect place to live out a childhood Tarzan fantasy, with vast sheathes of trees, vines, branches and bushes surrounding trekkers as they penetrate deep into the rainforest.
Treks begin with an early morning safety briefing. Depending on gorilla movements, you can spend a morning anywhere within the park’s 331sqkm forest with either in the Mubare gorilla family, the Habinyanja or the Rushegura group. The major is the Rushegura, a 12-strong group of habituated gorillas, including what is believed to be the world’s largest silverback, named Mwirima and weighing nearly 200kg.
In his family troop is Karungi, Nyamunwa, Kibande, Nyampazi, Ruterana, Kalembezi, Buzinza and several young males, including a couple of babies. Each is so named because of their individual markings in the local Ugandan language. Their broad shoulders look menacing but their eyes show wariness and they are incredibly shy. Though the woods are dense and thick, the gorillas leave behind muddy prints the size of baseball mitts, and are easier to spot than you may think. Wherever their leader Mriwima goes, they follow, leaving battered trees with broken limbs and chewed pieces of bark and bamboo in their path.
Seeing a wild gorilla only a few metre away feels like there is confusion in the trees or a violent shake in the canopy above your head. Then there may be a bang and a clatter, or a snapped branch and dark shapes plummeting into a clearing in front of you. One should expect their adrenaline levels to rocket and, in the warm, thin air, you will realise that cowering in front of an oncoming silverback is not something you could ever get used to.
More findings on Mountain Gorillas in Uganda