Uganda is the only country in the world with two national parks protecting the rare endangered mountain gorillas. There are two safari national parks offering gorilla trekking experiences in Uganda and all lie in the southwestern parts of the country and these are Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
At times, some travelers choose to do double gorilla trekking tours in both parks because of the interesting nature of the excursion in the jungle. And it is normal to do gorilla trekking twice to fully enjoy and attain the best gorilla experience in Uganda. In short, to some travelers, they get contented only after doing double gorilla tours in Uganda for two consecutive days but with different groups. The two parks have different habituated gorilla groups and in total, Uganda so far has 19 habituated gorilla groups resided in its two parks.
There are only four national parks in the world inhabiting these rare endangered mountain gorillas: Bwindi & Mgahinga (Uganda), Volcanoes (Rwanda), and Virunga (Democratic Republic of Congo). However, Bwindi itself holds the largest number of mountain gorillas as it is believed to be protecting almost half of the total number of mountain gorillas in the world.
Bwindi Forest National Park is located in the southwestern Uganda and as you are heading to the Park, on your way you will first stop at the Uganda Equator for a few minutes and take some remembrance photos and proceed with your journey to Bwindi. There are also many other attractive and interesting things that you will come across on the way as you are heading to Bwindi, hence getting away with great memorable escapades in Uganda.
On your arrival in Bwindi Forest National Park, you will have to take an overnight at any of the park’s own chosen accommodation that will be booked for you by your tour operator and then wait for the next morning to enjoy the Park’s amazing activities, majorly gorilla trekking.
Bwindi is a home to 18 habituated gorilla families which trekkers will interact with during their gorilla expeditions in the Park. The 18 habituated gorilla families/groups in Bwindi are Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura, Katwe, Busingye, Kahungye, Oruzogo, Bitukura, Muchunguzi, Mukiza, Nkuringo, Christmas, Mishaya, Bweza, Nshongi, Bikingi, and Bushaho. Mubare gorilla family is however the oldest habituated gorilla family in Bwindi and it is the mostly visited family in the park. Mubare exists in the park’s Buhoma sector.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest National Park takes place in four sectors which includes Buhoma sector, Rushaga sector, Ruhija sector and Nkuringo sector. Therefore, you should inform your tour operator earlier before your safari on which is your favorite sector for your gorilla expeditions in Bwindi Forest National Park, though all sectors offer the same experience and sometimes we chose sector depending on the gorilla permits availability.
At the park’s offices, they offer briefings to the visitors in the morning before they go for the real activity of gorilla trekking. After the briefings, you will then be led by a local qualified and experienced guide plus rangers to the forest, marking the beginning of an incredible gorilla trekking in Bwindi. On meeting gorillas physically, you will passionately stay with them for one hour admiring them and taking pictures to your desire.
As you are viewing these endangered primates, you should not be in touch with them (keep a certain distance of at least 7 meters away from them) because you may spread diseases to them as they catch some human diseases and also for self-defense since the fact is that these primates are wild animals though, on the other side, they are very friendly to humans. If you have a flashlight camera, you will be told to switch off the flashlight because the lights may scare the gorillas while taking their photos.
After spending the whole day in the jungles of Bwindi Forest National Park, interacting with the rare endangered mountain gorillas, you will then return back to the lodge for a restful evening or a community tour to the nearby environments especially to the Batwa pygmies or local people communities. Return to the same lodge for your overnight stay on full board.
After your gorilla expeditions in Bwindi, in the following morning, you will then drive to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which is also found in the southwestern Uganda. The drive from Bwindi to Mgahinga can take three and half hours via Kabale – Kisoro road.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a home to one habituated gorilla family called Nyakagezi gorilla family and all the gorilla trekking rules and regulations in Bwindi are similar of those in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Gorilla trekking is done in groups of eight (8) individuals per trekking group however, for every traveler to go for the gorilla trekking activity in any of Uganda’s gorilla parks you have to owe a Ugandan gorilla permit.
A Uganda gorilla permit costs US$ 600 of which it includes the park entrance fees. Therefore, if you are to go for a double gorilla trekking in Uganda, you should pay US$ 1200 meaning it will include the US$ 600 for Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and US$ 600 for one of Bwindi’s sector that you will take your gorilla expeditions from while in Bwindi Forest National Park.