Is Gorilla Trekking in Uganda Safe?
Is Gorilla Trekking in Uganda Safe? Gorilla trekking in Uganda is absolutely safe. Uganda is one of the safest countries on the African continent. It is one of the most peaceful African safari destinations in the world. Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda are safe and quite affordable for those interested in seeing mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Also, with Explore Rwanda Tours handling most gorilla safaris in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, visitors also have an option of doing gorilla trekking in Uganda from Kigali city in Rwanda.
Gorilla trekking tours and safaris in Uganda are conducted in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Both national parks are the only places where tourists can get a chance to see habituated mountain gorillas during a Uganda safari.
In order to ensure that gorilla trekking in Uganda is safe, a number of precautions have been put in place to ensure the safe and security of trekkers. These include;
- Visitors doing gorilla trekking in Uganda have to maintain a 7meter distance from the gorillas.
- Trekkers must always stick to their group which consists of only 8 members per gorilla family.
- Gorilla trekkers in Uganda are always assigned to a guide and park ranger per group. This ensures the security and safety of members of the trekking group before, during and after trekking the gorillas.
- While doing gorilla trekking in Uganda, visitors are always advised to speak in low tones and remain quite when need be. Gorillas are very sensitive to loud noises and can easily get aggressive when they hear loud sounds.
- Drinking alcohol beverages and smoking in the midst of the gorillas is prohibited.
- Visitors doing gorilla trekking in Uganda are always advised to remain calm especially when in the midst of a gorilla family. Also, never look into the eyes of a gorilla especially a silverback gorilla.
Gorillas are very calm creatures, and a lot of study relating to their behavior, temper, and hostility towards people is heavily regulated and controlled throughout the long and rigorous habituation procedure required to help the gorillas grow used to being in the company of humans. This is done before people are allowed to trek the gorilla family.
Because gorillas mostly consume grass and insects, they cannot consume humans or animal flesh. This implies that people who go gorilla trekking in Uganda are secure from mountain gorilla assaults.
Gorilla trekking security measures in Uganda are one of the main reasons that Uganda has become the favorite gorilla trekking destination in the world. Everyone involved in gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda must adhere to the security standards issued and implemented by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), a government organization in charge of managing all tourism activities in Uganda’s national parks.
Also to ensure that gorilla trekking in Uganda is safe, the communities around the gorilla park like Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga Gorilla national park are continuously being sensitized on the importance of conserving gorillas in Uganda and being hospitable to tourists visiting the said national park.
Both Bwindi forest national park and Mgahinga Gorilla national parks are patrolled daily by park rangers and the Ugandan Army. This is done to ensure the safety and security of both the gorillas and visitors doing gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park.
How much is a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda?
A Uganda gorilla trekking permit in Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park costs $700 for foreigners and $600 for foreigners residents. Visitors can always book their gorilla trekking permits in Uganda directly at the UWA offices in Uganda or through a trusted tour operator company like Explore Rwanda Tours.
Gorilla Trekking Lodges in Uganda.
Visitors on a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda can book accommodation in any of the following lodges in Bwindi Impenetrable national park; Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Buhoma Haven, Buhoma Rest Camp, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Lodge, and Mahogany Springs among others.
In Mgahinga Gorilla national park, you can book accommodation in the following lodges; Mondi Lodge, Gorilla Heights Lodge, Mutanda Eco Community Lodge, and Mount Gahinga Rest Camp among others.
How to Access Gorilla Parks in Uganda.
Getting to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
For visitors interested doing gorilla trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, the park is 510 kilometers from Kampala, with the most usual route passing through Kabale and Kisoro. On good asphalt, the 434km drive from Kampala to Kabale may be accomplished in 8 hours. After that, it’s another 76 kilometers on a rugged asphalt road with severe ascents and descents to Kisoro town.
Mgahinga national park is accessible via Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Kisoro is 28 kilometers south of Bwindi’s southern gorilla tracking trailheads at Nkuringo and Rushaga, and Mgahinga is 14 kilometers further. Mgahinga is over four hours by car from the major trailhead at Buhoma. Buhoma dirt roads connect to the Kabale-Kisoro asphalt route through the Ruhija trailhead (see above).
Mgahinga is also accessible by air, with regular flights from Entebbe International Airport to Kisoro airstrip.
Accessing Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park may be accessed via Queen Elizabeth National Park in the north (2-3 hours), Kabale in the south (1-2 hours), or Kampala through Mbarara in the south (1-2 hours) (6-8 hours). The roads come together in Butogota, 17 kilometers from the Buhoma entry gate. During the wet season, a 4WD vehicle is required.
Visitors may fly from Entebbe International Airport or Kampala (Kajjansi airport) to Kisoro’s sophisticated tarmac airstrip. Planes can also be rented to the grass airstrips at Kayonza and Savannah.
Bwindi impenetrable national park is well serviced by three airfields: Kayonza and Kihihi in the northern sector, and Nyakabande near Kisoro in the southern sector for people travelling to track gorillas (Nkuringo, Nshongi and Mishaya).