Gorilla Tracking Uganda Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Reviews
Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Apr 18, 2016
If you ever find yourself in Uganda, take the opportunity to visit the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Imprenetrable National Park. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity that you won't forget! It's only possible to see mountain gorillas in the wild, as there are none in captivity. Mountain gorillas become stressed very easily and they also need large spaces to roam, so they've never survived in a zoo. You can only see lowland gorillas in a zoo.
Bwindi is located about 3 hours away from Kampala. The journey is quite beautiful and you will enjoy the lush green mountains and countryside. A permit for gorilla trekking is expensive here. Mine was $600. This is a lot of money for a one day experience, but I've been told the money helps with conservation efforts. I received my permit through G Adventures, as I was on a 24 day camping trip with them.
You may be wondering how safe this adventure is. It's actually quite safe. Our guide told us no tourist has ever been injured by a gorilla. A few guides have been injured, though, as they jump in front of the tourists in any dangerous situation.
Our ranger told us it takes about 2 years to get a gorilla family used to human visitors. They visit the prospective family almost daily for the first 6 months. During this time, the gorillas usually chase them away. Slowly, however, the gorillas realize the humans aren't a threat and tolerate their presence. Eventually, tourists are allowed to meet the family. Interactions are strictly regulated. A family can only be visited 6 days a week by 1 group of 8 people. You're also only allowed 1 hour with the gorillas.
I was able to see the Bweza family in June of 2015. Their group included a 3 month old baby. We started our trek early in the morning. I hired a porter, which I highly recommend. First, we learned how to behave around the gorillas. We were told to remain calm and if a gorilla approached us, we should not make eye contact, as this is seen as aggressive. Along with our ranger and porters, we also had an armed guard. He was not there to protect us from the gorillas, but the forest elephants. We didn't encounter any, but they are highly aggressive.
After 2 1/2 hours of trekking, we were told we were near the gorillas. We grabbed only our cameras, left our porters behind, and walked the final 10 min. Our first sighting was of the silverback. He was lying in some dense brush. We quietly approached and sat in awe of him. He grunted a few times, which I worried was aggressive, but our guide told us he was simply acknowledging us. Our trackers kindly cut us a path with their machetes so we could see the rest of the family, who were also resting. Eventually, they came closer, including the mama and her baby.
Watching the mother gorilla interact with her baby was breathtaking. Her interactions were so humanlike. She would caress her baby's head and stroke its cheek with her finger. I was surprised she was so comfortable with us sitting only 15 feet away.
We were lucky that our gorillas didn't really move around much during our hour visit. Afterwards, we hiked back to our porters and sat down to eat lunch. Just as we started eating, we heard a lot of noise below us. Suddenly, the gorillas appeared! Because they followed us, we were allowed to have additional time with them. At one point the silverback walked towards me, but the guide stepped in front of me and grunted. The silverback jumped and immediately backed off. I'll never forget this.
Soon afterwards, the gorillas moved to another location and we resumed eating our lunches. We then hiked back out of the park. Our roundtrip of hiking was 5 hours.
It's important to have a relatively good level of fitness for this trek as you'll be hiking in the mountains for hours. Trackers are sent ahead to locate your specific family. They radio the location to your ranger. Sometimes the family is low on the mountain, sometimes they are very far away. Also, they're often on the move while you're trekking to them. If you're worried about your fitness, you can request to visit a family lower on the mountain before you start. Also, you can hire a porter to carry your day pack. It's very important to bring lots of water with you as it's quite humid.
It's also important to remember that the gorillas are not trained animals. It's not guaranteed that you will see them or how they will act. The other 2 groups from our tour only saw the gorillas higher up in the trees. A man I talked with in Kampala had a gorilla step over his legs and interact with him. Each experience is unique, but no matter what happens, you'll never forget your time with these incredible animals!
7 / 7 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Unico y magico Dec 13, 2013
Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest Park en Uganda es un lugar INCREIBLE, lleno de primates y aves fantásticas. Después de ir a África quería ver los mejores lugares de habitad de animales y este parque es uno de lo que no se puede perder uno. La caminata nos tomo 1 hr30 min aprox para llegar donde estaban los gorilas y luego te quedas 1 hr que te parecen 10 mins junto a la familia que te toque. A mi me toco una de 13 miembros que ademas tenia un bebe de lo mas "mono". Realmente la selva es impenetrable por lo que recomiendo aportar a la comunidad contratando a alguien que cargue con tu mochila (USD15) y alquilen un bastón (USD5; ya que es súper empinado el camino. Ademas de la maravillosa experiencia con los gorilas, puedes ver otros primates como los monos azules, los blancos y negros, entre otros. Yo fui en Noviembre y no me cayo ni una gota de agua y el clima estuvo fresquito por allí.
Face to face with Mountaingorilla`s Jun 13, 2011
If there`s one thing in your life you`ll have to do is visit the Mountaingorilla`s. This species threatened with extinction live on the Virunga Volcano, divided on 3 national park`s.
Bwindi Impenetrable national park in Uganda, Volcano N.P. in Rwanda or Virunga National Park in Congo.
There are now about 700 mountaingorilla`s left.
I visited the mountaingorilla`s in Bwindi Impenetrable national park in Uganda.
Very early in the morning, it was still very dark our trip begins. Where leaving to the start off my ones in a lifetime experience.
After an briefing about the gorilla`s, what to do and what not to do where leaving. By food where walking into Bwindi Impenetrable national park. Some trackers are there to find the gorilla`s for our group and after an our or so heading down, by steep paths. The trackers are contacting our guide. They found them!! There very close and I can`t wait to see them.
Where leaving our backpacks and we crawl into the bush.
After a couple off minutes we seem them! I can`t express what I felt at that moment. Wow.
1 off the gorilla`s was sleeping and our group walk along.
When I passed he woke up and came out off his bed.
He was really close, and walked past me. 1 or 1,5m was between me and the gorilla, I could almost touch him.
After this we crawled true the bush and found more gorilla`s, even a mother with an 1 year old.
After 1 our we unfortunately had to leave, our time was up.
What an AMAZING experience, wouldn't have missed it.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy