Mountain Gorillas tracking in Bwindi National Park
Bwindi Travel Blog› entry 14 of 39 › view all entries
This safari was taken on September 25, 2002:Of recent years Gorilla tracking has become one of Uganda's leading tourism activities: Uganda boasts of two National parks in which mountain Gorillas inhabit. The first and most popular is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the second being Mgahinga which closely boarders Rwanda. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is found in the South Western region of Uganda, at edge of the western Rift Valley. Bwindi has an average of 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 200 species of butterflies and 324 species of trees, making it the center of biodiversity in Eastern Africa. Because of the density of it's vegetation it is popularly referred to as Bwindi impenetrable forest. It is also home to the Giant Mountain Gorillas, grrr (smile)!
Bwindi is home to almost half of the world's population of mountain gorillas.
The driving distance to Bwindi from Kampala is 550 km with some 400 km on bitumen surface via Kabale. I do recommend the route via Rukungiri, which is slightly shorter.
Having been a travel consultant, I do have friends in the industry, my friend Ben, at African Pearl Safaris (www.africanpearlsafaris.com) will take good care of you if you use me as a referral! Of course he takes care of everyone, but you, he will give special attention - something you will want out there in the wilderness: The gorillas in Bwindi live in thicker tropical forest and tracking is more challenging, as the hillsides are steeper.
In order to track gorillas, you will need a tracking permit. I recommend that you pre book these permits at least 2-3 months earlier as you might be disappointed.
RULES & REGULATIONS FOR TRACKING GORILLAS:
1. Stay together in a tight group while with the gorillas, don't surround them
2. Don't get closer than 7 meters (21 feet) to the gorillas
3. Don't use flash on your camera while photographing
4. Don't eat or smoke when with the gorillas or within a distance of 200 meters from the gorillas
6. Bury all human feces a minimum of one foot deep and ensure that hole is properly covered
7. Do not leave litter. All litter must be carried out of the park and disposed of properly
8. No person under the age of 15 is allowed to track gorillas.
9. Do not make loud noises or move suddenly
10. No one with flu or any communicable disease allowed
11. You are allowed a maximum of one hour with gorillas
12. Do not spit on vegetation or soil while in the park
Your group must not exceed 6 people and must be all over 15 years old.
Some of the safari companies that run gorilla tracking safaris in Uganda include Volcanoes (www.volcanoesafaris.com), Pearl of Africa Tours and Travels (www.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park was also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for it's Forest program focusing on conservation of Tropical Forest biodiversity. I have a list of World Heritage Sites I have visited.