Uganda which is also known as the Pearl of Africa is a landlocked country that is blessed with beautiful people and stunning scenery that attract a number of people in and around the globe. It has 10 national parks that offer remarkable views of wildlife like elephants, giraffes, lions, crocodiles, Ugandan kobs and so much more. Uganda is also blessed with profuse birdlife and is a bird haven for even the rarest of species of birds. The country is also famous for being one of the only three countries in Africa that have the Mountain Gorillas. These are and can be found in only two of its 10 national parks and these are the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
The tracking permits in Uganda are at a cost of US$700 each. This is an advantage to some but it is during these times that heavy rains and mud are depicted thus tracking the Mountain Gorillas can become quite challenging. Uganda, unlike Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo is undoubtedly the country sheltering the biggest number of these Mountain Gorillas; one of the reasons many trackers prefer gorilla tours in Uganda. However, one has to be prepared to sit through a couple of hours to get to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and or the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park where tracking will take place.
There are two means of transport available that can get you to your destination and these are by road or by air. If one opts for the latter, they should be prepared to face the costs since it is quite expensive though it helps you get there much earlier. The road transport on the other hand is the best option because it give s you the opportunity to see a number of attractions and capture memories along your journey.
There are only 13 already habituated gorilla tours groups in the two national parks and of these 12 are found in Bwindi while only one is in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park has got 4 sectors where these gorillas are located;
- The Buhoma sector with three habituated groups namely Mubare family, Habinyanja family and Rushegura family.
- The Ruhija sector with three habituated groups namely Oruzogo family, Bitukura family and the Kyaguriro family.
- The Rushaga sector with five habituated groups namely Nshongi family, Mishaya family, Kahungye family, Busingye family and the Bweza family.
- The Nkuringo sector with the Nkuringo family.
Mgahinga National Park on the other hand has only one sector which is Mgahinga and it has only one family called the Nyakagezi.
Accommodation in these places is not a problem at all in these areas especially since it caters for all kinds of guests from the luxurious ones to the visitors that are on strict budget. Some of the places you can stay at include;
- Bwindi Backpackers Lodge.
- Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge.
- Bakiga Lodge.
- Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge.
- Nshongi Camp.
- Buhoma Community Rest Camp.
- The Silverback Lodge.
3 Day Gorilla Tracking Uganda at the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
Day One: Transfer to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
Leave the city of Kampala very early in the morning after having yourself a delicious breakfast. Travel to the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park so you could get ready to go Mountain Gorilla Tracking the following day. Enjoy your lunch en-route as you take in amazing views from the picturesque drive. Check into your hotel and or lodge upon arrival and have dinner and rest. Accommodations range from budget to moderate and then to luxury depending on whichever package you opt for. Tented camps that are quite close to the gorillas are also available.
Day Two: Mountain Gorilla Tracking.
Start off your day with an early breakfast to give you a head start before you leave for the park’s headquarters where you are to be briefed and taken through the rules and regulations on what you should and shouldn’t do when in the park with the gorillas. Have a remarkable moment with these gentle giants as you capture epic moments of them going about their daily activities with your camera. You might as well be able to catch a glimpse of other primates lurking in the trees and a wide range of bird species too. Later descend and if you wish take a walk to see the nearby community and or village of people watching their way of life like local beer brewing processing and making of traditional herbs. Head back to your accommodation to have a meal and catch some sleep too.
Day Three: Kampala City Tour and Departure.
Travel back to the city of Kampala after having a satisfying meal in the morning. Make a couple of stops en route like at Mbarara where you are to have a delicious lunch then also at the Equator where you will take amazing shots before proceeding to the city center. If time is still a friend, take a brief city tour and then afterward head to the airport to catch your flight back home.
- Transportation in a 4WD Vehicle.
- A Fluent English speaking guide.
- Park fees.
- Gorilla Permits.
5 Day Gorilla Tracking Adventure.
Day 1: The Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Depart from the city of Kampala and head to the Queen Elizabeth National Park using the route from Kampala to Masaka which lasts about 7 hours. Make a couple of stopovers like in Mbarara to have your lunch and at the Equator to take some pictures. When in Mbarara, transfer to the Queen Elizabeth National Park which is about 3 hours away where you will enjoy your dinner after you have checked into your lodging facility and then get some rest.
Accommodation: Katara Lodge, Mweya Safari Lodge, Engazi Lodge, Park View Lodge.
Day 2: Boat Cruise on the Kazinga Channel and Game Drive.
Get up early in the morning to an early breakfast and then set off for a game drive at the Northern area of the park which is the Kasenyi Plains. Here you will begin your quest on finding the lions and leopards as you come across masses of elephants, Ugandan Kobs, buffaloes, Defassa waterbucks, warthogs, giant forest hogs and bushbucks to mention but a few. Head back to the lodge to have lunch and then head for a cruise along the Kazinga Channel in the afternoon. Get to see more herds of hippos and elephants, a number of endemic birds and not forgetting the plethora of migratory birds too. Later, head back to your place of accommodation to enjoy your dinner, get refreshed and then have some rest as well.
Day 3: Ishasha and the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Travel to the southern side of the park; Ishasha as early as 8am after enjoying your timely breakfast. At Ishasha, get to see the tree climbing lions after taking nearly an hour’s drive from your lodging facility. Most lions climb up to the trees to try and find shelter from the scorching sun and also to relax after feasting on a meal of antelopes. In the afternoon, head en route for the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park after stopping over at the Savannah Hotel for lunch. If you get there just in time, take a community walk among the community of the Batwa pygmy people. Head back to your accommodation for dinner and rest.
Accommodation: Mahogany Springs, Gorilla Forest Camp.
Day 4: Gorilla Tracking
Enjoy your breakfast very early in the morning as you get ready for tracking. Travel to the park headquarters where you will be briefed on what you are expected to do when with the Mountain Gorillas. You are distributed into tracking groups of 8 persons before you can begin your adventurous hike. Spend an hour watching the lifestyle of these gentle giants and thereafter descend back to your hotel for refreshing, a meal and rest.
Day 5: Departure
Have your breakfast and then head to the city center and then transfer to the Entebbe International Airport to catch your departure flight. However because it takes you close to 8 hours traveling from Bwindi to Entebbe, you can opt to catch your flight from Rwanda’s Kigali International Airport since it only takes you 5 hours tops to get there.
6 Day Mountain Gorilla Tracking Adventure.
Day 1: Visit the Murchison Falls National Park
Set off from Kampala city after having an early breakfast from your place of accommodation and head en route the Murchison Falls National Park. Stopover at the Equator for a picture moment, buying souvenirs and to watch a couple of experiments done there as well. Proceed to the town Masindi where you will have your lunch and thereafter continue to the park. Go hiking to the top of the falls later and take pleasure in seeing the impeccable views that are made whole with a rainbow. Head back to your hotel, have dinner and get some rest too.
Accommodation: Red Chili Rest Camp, Paara Safari Lodge and the Sambiya River Lodge.
Day 2: Boat Cruise along the Nile River.
Head to the Southern side of the Nile River after your early morning meal for a game drive. Watch a number of wildlife like the Elephants, Hartebeests, Lions, Bushbucks and Jackals to mention but a few. Drive back to your lodging facility to have lunch and relax before heading out to the bottom of the falls for a boat cruise later on in the afternoon. Birdlife here is also profuse especially since you are sure to see birds like the Goliath Heron, the Piacpiac, the African Fish Eagle, the Kingfishers, the Rock Pranticole and the African Jacana among a number of others. Other animals you are sure to see include the Buffaloes, Kobs, Hippos, Water bucks, Crocodiles and Giraffes. Head back to your lode to have a meal and rest.
Day 3: Visit the Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Enjoy your morning breakfast before departing for the Queen Elizabeth National Park via the Rwenzori Mountains. Arrive at your lodging facility and then after head off for a launch cruise along the Kazinga Channel. Be sure to see most of the park’s population gathered here. Head back to your lodge to relax have a meal and get some rest.
Accommodation: Enganzi Lodge, Mweya Safari Lodge and the Park View Lodge.
Day 4: Game drive and the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
Wake up to an early morning breakfast before embarking on a drive in the direction of Kasenyi through the park. During this game drive, you will be able to see a number of predators like the lions feasting on their unfortunate catch. Enjoy your lunch and then begin traveling to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Get there just in time to check in, have a meal and rest after.
Accommodation: Wagtail Camp and the Gorilla Mist Camp.
Day 5: Mountain Gorilla Tracking.
After having your breakfast head for the park headquarters where you are to be briefed by the head ranger on what you are expected to do. Hike in to the forest and get welcomed by the sight of these gentle Mountain gorillas as they feed and go about their daily activities. Take only an hour watching and photographing these gorillas before heading back for lunch at your lodge. In the evening go for a walk at the nearby community of Batwa who are pygmies and get entertained by their way of life. Return to your lodge have dinner and rest.
Day 6: Departure.
Have an untimely breakfast before checking out your lodge and transferring back to the city of Kampala with an en route stop over at the Equator for more photography moments.