Mountain Gorillas tracking in Bwindi National Park

Bwindi Travel Blog

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Italian tourists we tracked with

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.

baby gorilla starign straight at me as I take this photo
Bwindi is an impenetrable forest with dense under growth of fern, vines, and shrubs. About 324 tree species have been recorded in Bwindi 10 of which occur no where else in Uganda. It has 90 species of mammals including 11 primates including the black-and-white colobus. Gorilla safaris vary in length from 3 days to fourteen days safaris. There are two habituated groups of Gorillas in Bwindi: The Mubare group of 16 gorillas and, the Habiyanja group of 23 gorillas. Both groups are tracked daily by no more than six visitors at a time. The trackers are escorted by National Park rangers and guides who are familiar with safety and handling of the gorillas. Bwindi is also home to an estimated 360 bird species as well as over 200 species of butterflies. For those of you who love birds, this is a bird lover's paradise, with almost 90% of the Albertine Rift Valley endemic that are difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa, Bwindi takes bird watching to a different level.
Now if you are looking for new adventurers, I say take on bird watching what the heck you might just have fun talking birrrrrrrrrd, lol! Tracking the giant mountain gorillas on foot through the equatorial rain forests of Uganda (Bwindi & Mgahinga) has been ranked as one of the world�s most thrilling wildlife expeditionary, adventurous experiences of our times. A typical gorilla safari runs 3 days, however given the physical demand it puts on a person, I would recommend a 5 day safari with 2 days rest in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The journey itself is something:-

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.

Silverback Gorilla, male head of the family
Dare I mention this is Africa? Well, the roads are no pieces of cake either, they rock your world. Anyway, you have to prepare for at least 9-10 hours on the road to reach your accommodation in Buhoma.
Having been a travel consultant, I do have friends in the industry, my friend Ben, at African Pearl Safaris ( 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.
Inside the forest in Bwindi
There are a limited amount of permits sold per day of tracking. PHYSICAL FITNESS - Tracking gorillas is a very hectic thing to do, and considering you will be tracking in a mountainous region, physical fitness is required (that is why children below the age of 15 are not allowed to track). Please remember to carry tracking boots, dark colored clothes, cameras without flashes as the flash from a camera can turn these giants against you, and carry rain jackets (it is a rain forest, lol!).

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
The gorillas were here ten minutes earlier, ranger checking their feace
Turn away from gorillas if you have to sneeze or cough. Cover your mouth in the process
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 (, Pearl of Africa Tours and Travels (www.
Time to rest after feeding, wilderness Travel (, Wildfrontiers (, and African Pearl Safaris ( If you love adventure, this is as adventurous as it gets in Africa.

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.


Africancrab says:
Exciting is the word
Posted on: Feb 26, 2010
williamsworld says:
How cool
Posted on: Feb 26, 2010
Africancrab says:
Thanks for taking time to read. You will love the adventure if you go on the trip
Posted on: Feb 23, 2010
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Italian tourists we tracked with
Italian tourists we tracked with
baby gorilla starign straight at m…
baby gorilla starign straight at …
Silverback Gorilla, male head of t…
Silverback Gorilla, male head of …
Inside the forest in Bwindi
Inside the forest in Bwindi
The gorillas were here ten minutes…
The gorillas were here ten minute…
Time to rest after feeding
Time to rest after feeding
Rangers communicating with other r…
Rangers communicating with other …
Cautious of the people in her surr…
Cautious of the people in her sur…
baby gorilla
baby gorilla
Baby gorilla
Baby gorilla
Claudia the Italian inquirer
Claudia the Italian inquirer
photo by: Africancrab