The Bwindi Gorilla Experience
The entire world population of Mountain Gorillas is found in only 2 conservation area. The volcanic Virunga Mountains, which straddle the common borders of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, and in South Western Uganda's Impenetrable Forest.
The habitat in Bwindi Impenetrable NP (Uganda) is a dense rainforest while in the Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda) and Mgahinga Gorilla NP (Uganda) the habitat of the gorillas are the Virunga, the famous chain of volcanoes located in Congo, Rwanda and also partially in Uganda.
Bwindi Forest and the Virunga volcanoes have been separated by a broad strip of cultivation for several hundred years. The gorilla population in Bwindi and the Virunga have not been able to travel between the two areas. Some experts tend even to separate them in two subspecies of mountain gorillas. Although their genetic material is identical (gorilla gorilla beringei), they differ when it comes to external characteristics and way of life.
The gorillas differ when it comes to external characteristics and way of life. The gorillas in teh Virunga live at a higher altitude and have longer fur. The shape of the nose and the facial folds are also different. When looking for food, Bwindi gorillas tend to travel longer distances per day. Both conservation area give a different gorilla experience!
The Bwindi Gorilla Experience:
- Bwindi Impenetrable NP (Uganda) has now 4 sites were you can trek the gorillas(Buhoma, Ruhijja, Rushaga and Nkuringo). All different locations are organized independently and located several hours away from each other. The Buhoma area is the oldest and is located at the north-western side of Bwindi while Nkuringo/Rushaga areas for instance are at the south-eastern side of Bwindi near Kabale (Bunyonyi) town and not far from the Rwanda border (Cyanika).
- The assignement of gorilla families is done by the UWA headoffices in Kampala at the time of booking considering the availmabilities of the different locations of the Gorilla trek.
- Bwindi Impenetrable NP is a rainforest: While visiting the gorillas in Bwindi you will most probably track the gorillas up and down in a series of hills. The Bwindi trek can last from 2 up to 6 hours. We have seen several times that visitors had some problems during their trekking. Rain can get you by surprise and during the dry season gorilla tend to climb higher for their preferred bamboo shoots.
It has to be said that the park rangers and the porters are extremely helpful and will do everything they can to make sure that visitors can see the gorillas. We therefore strongly advise not to hesitate to take a porter. Porters can not only be very efficient but in return you help local communities to benefit from tourism! There is also a very efficient rescue team available in the parks for visitor getting in trouble!
- For more information about the Virunga Gorilla Experience.
- For Gorillas the min. age is 15 years.
- Flash photograpy is not permitted when tracking the gorillas.
-Tipping: $ 10 per participant per gorilla trek for the Ranger guides.
- Porters are available ($ 20) and assist participants during the hike, they are very useful for your comfort! At the same time you will support the local community!