Gorilla Tracking At Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Last weekend, we decided to take a trip down to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to take part in some mountain gorilla tracking.
These gentle giants can only be found in this region (Rwanda, Uganda, Congo) of the world with a population of around 5000.
In Uganda, the gorillas are found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) and Mgahinga national park (MGNP).
There are 5 tracking areas Rushaga, Ruhija, Buhoma, Nkuringo in BINP and Ntebeko in MGNP.
East African Community Residents (EAC) : 250,000/=
Foreign Residents: US$600
Foreign Non-Residents: US$700
Our overall experience of gorilla tracking was splendid and worth every sweat, fall and penny. We commend the Uganda Wildlife Authority for fiercely protecting these endangered species and definitely recommend the experience to everyone.
Bwindi is located in the southwestern region of Uganda and is an 8- 9hr drive from Kampala. It took us around 7hrs to get to Kabale town and then 1.5 hrs drive from Kabale town to the Rushaga gate up in the mountains. The scenic drive is beautiful and winds round the mountains with breath taking views of the hilly countryside.
We stayed at the Rushaga Gorilla Camp and were blown away by the beautiful views from all angles of the lodge.
After a couple of days of rest, we were ready to go gorilla tracking. As soon as you arrive at the Rushaga Gate, security checks all visitors to the park and SOPs are observed because of COVID. Once we enter the park, we're taken to a side area where UWA officials and rangers give us an in depth orientation of the park and its residents the Mountain Gorillas.
After a few official procedures regarding documentation and registration, we were ready to see some gorillas.
Divided in groups of seven, our guide/ranger Augustine took us through the guidelines and we were given two armed security guards and a porter to help guide us through the trek.
The trek which was downhill and uphill wasn't as easy as it looked due to the slippery grounds and thick bushes surrounding us. Almost all of us slipped and fell at some point but thankfully no serious injuries were sustained.
After an hour long walk, we arrived at the Bweza section of the forest that was home to a family of 11 mountain gorillas.
As we approached the area, the ranger asked us to lower our voices, put on our face masks and keep a 10metre distance from the gorillas.
We spent a whole hour watching silently as the gorillas moved, ate leaves and just minded their own business.
The area is securely guarded and monitored by more rangers and UWA soldiers to protect the mountain gorillas.
After another long trek back to camp, we were finally awarded our gorilla tracking certificates.