Visiting Mountain Gorillas in Africa is a leading and trending wildlife activities that tourists are very much interested in today. Millions of tourists travel from different parts of the world to east Africa to encounter gorilla safaris in Rwanda Uganda & Congo as in the jungles of the Virunga volcanoes and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Mountain gorillas are highly endangered primate species that are only remaining in the forested mountains of Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Tourists interested in tracking these incredible apes therefore choose to track in one of the countries while others decide to track in all the three countries. Lets look in details the leading mountain gorilla safari destinations on the planet.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Located in southwestern Uganda, Bwindi impenetrable national park is a home to half of the mountain gorillas on the planet. Bwindi has 12 habituated mountain gorilla groups that are distributed in the three major sectors of the national park. The Buhoma sector has the Habinyanja gorilla group, Mubare gorilla group and the Rushegura gorilla group. The Ruhija sector has Oruzogo, Kyaguriro and Bitukura mountain gorilla groups while the southern part of Bwindi (Rushaga) has Busingye, Bweza, Kahungye, Mishaya, Nkuringo and Nshongi mountain gorilla groups.
Tourists track 11 of these groups while one is for research. 88 mountain gorilla-tracking permits are therefore available every day and all those interested should make early bookings. Mountain gorilla tracking permits for Bwindi are sold at $600 during the peak season and $400 during the low season.
Getting to Bwindi from Kampala takes about a 9 to 10 hours drive but its very incredible with sightings of various landscapes and true beauty of Uganda in the countryside.
Volcanoes National Park
This is located in northwestern Rwanda and its part of the Virunga conservation area. Volcanoes national park has 10 habituated mountain gorilla families, which include Susa, Karisimbi, Amahoro, Titus, Umubano, Sabyinyo, Agashya, Hirwa, Ugenda and Bwenge mountain gorilla groups. There are 80-mountain gorilla tracking permits available every day and they are sold at $750. Getting to volcanoes national park from Kigali takes about 2 to 3 hours, which means that one can track gorillas and depart the same day though it may be a little hectic.
Volcanoes national park is a home to half of the mountain gorillas in the Virunga conservation area.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
This is located in southwestern Uganda near the border with Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Mgahinga Gorilla Park is part of the Virunga conservation area and a home to one habituated mountain gorilla group – Nyakagezi group with 10 mountain gorillas including 3 silverbacks (male mountain gorillas). The gorilla tracking permits are also sold at $600 and $400 during the low season.
Getting to Mgahinga from Kampala also takes a 9 or 10 hours drive through the beautiful countryside of Uganda.
Virunga National Park
This is located in southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo with 6 habituated mountain gorillas groups that include Kabirizi, Humba, Rugendo, Mapuwa, Lulengo and Munyaga gorilla groups. The mountain gorilla tracking permits for Democratic Republic of Congo are sold at $500. Virunga national park can be best accessed through Rwanda and Uganda.
All the mountain gorilla-tracking destinations have accommodation facilities that offer standard services to the people. Important to not is that the allowed minimum age for mountain gorilla tracking is 15 years. Mountain gorilla tracking is done in the forested mountains and therefore the activity may require a little physical fitness. Tracking can be done at anytime of the year but most people prefer doing the safari in the dry season because it’s always easy to move through forests.