Mountain gorillas are found within only three African countries that include Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. With about 1060 of these Giant Apes left in the whole World, Uganda is a home to over 520 (about 480 in Bwindi Forest and around 40 in Mgahinga National Park) hence it would be a dream come true to meet face to face to one of the World’s most treasured wildlife.
With three options (choices), you are probably wondering which of the three countries would offer the most unforgettable gorilla safari experience and I recommend Uganda but these are the most interesting reasons why you can’t afford to miss tracking mountain gorillas from Uganda;
1. The country is safe for all tourists
Anyone who has ever been to Uganda will concur that she is one of the safest and secure countries in the African continent and the people are very friendly and welcoming to visitors. If you compare the three destinations where gorilla trekking is conducted, Rwanda and Uganda are the safest while the Democratic Republic of Congo is often avoided due to the rebel insurgencies within the Eastern side of the country but the next reason is why you would rather track gorillas from the Pearl of Africa (Uganda).
2. Gorilla trekking is cheaper
If you compare Uganda and Rwanda, you should definitely choose the former because price of gorilla permits cost about $600 per person for foreign non-residents, $500 for foreign residents and Shs 250,000 for East African Community Residents compared to the latter that charges an exorbitant $1500 per person for all categories of tourists. Much as the Democratic Republic of Congo offers permits at only $400 (cheaper than the two countries), but because of the ongoing instability in the Eastern side of the country, it is often avoided by tourists.
3. You can also enjoy the exhilarating Gorilla Habituation Experience
Uganda is the only destination is the whole World that offers the interesting Gorilla Habituation Experience where tourists are allowed to spend four hours with the Mountain gorillas instead of the usual one hour spent during normal gorilla trekking. This adventure is conducted within two sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest that include Nkuringo and Rushaga sectors and permits costs only $1500 per person. Gorilla Habituation is when these primates get used to the presence of humans.
4. The country offers shelter to the highest population of these Giant Apes
It is a clear fact that Uganda offers shelter to the highest number of mountain gorillas with more than half calling Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga National Parks home. There are over 400 (11 habituated gorilla families) and 40 (and one habituated group) found within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park respectively of the total 880 of these Giant Apes left in the World, hence 96 permits are sold in Uganda per day (based on the maximum number of 8 persons allows to visit a gorilla family).
Habituated gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include Mishaya, Bweza, Nkuringo, Kahungye, Busingye, Nshongi, Oruzogo, Bitukura, Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura while only the Nyakagyezi group is found within Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Therefore, Uganda is the best destination for gorilla trekking safaris because it has the highest population of mountain gorillas, the adventure is cheaper, the destination is safe for gorilla trekking and is the only country that offers the exciting Gorilla Habituation Experience.