Gorilla Tracking In Mgahinga National Park
Gorilla tracking in Mgahinga was unheard of from the start due to the fact that it is over shadowed by Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Volcanoes National Park that have more habituated gorilla families. Mgahinga National Park has only one gorilla family called Nyakagezi that has over 10 members with 4 silverbacks. Gorilla tracking is the major attraction to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in the southwestern parts of Uganda.
The experience involves trekking into the forest in search for these endangered creatures in their natural habitat to learn about their daily lives in the jungle. The park has one habituated gorilla group called the Nyakagezi, which has of nine members, 2 silverbacks, 2 juveniles, 3 adult females, and 2 infants. This group is now settled in this park unlike before when it used to cross to Rwanda and DRC and back to Mgahinga so you can be sure to find them in this park though there’s no guarantee. We cannot rule out that the group can cross so it is always wise to check for updates from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) before you make your booking through a trusted tour operator in Uganda.
Gorilla tracking starts from the park headquarters with registration and briefing at 7:00 am by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) staff on the proper guidelines of this jungle activity. After that, visitors are updated on the dos and don’ts while in the park and in the presence of the Gorillas, a team of guides is the introduced to the guests to take them through that fascinating experience. The actual trekking starts at exactly 8:00 am hitting the jungle in the Virunga Mountains as you search these forest giants and will spend a full hour with them from the time of contact.
The time taken to track remains uncertain because the Gorillas are wild and they keep moving and cannot keep in one place. There is no guarantee to meet these creatures because like earlier said they are wild and their movement determines where and how long it takes to find them and spend some time learning their behavior closely. The guides will take you to the area where they left the mountain gorillas the previous day.
Best time to track the Gorillas in Mgahinga
Gorilla tracking is open to visitors throughout the year. The best time, however, is June to early September then December to February when there are fewer chances of rain. During this period, gorilla tracking in the park is easier because it’s a dry season and the habitat remains relatively drier making it easier to hike through the dense jungles and steep slopes of the forest in search for the gorillas. The period of March to May and September to November are equally good for one to embark on gorilla trekking in Mgahinga because they offer a unique tracking experience. These months are characterized by heavy rainfall, muddy and slippery forest trails which make it quite challenging but valuable for one to hike while searching these apes.
Cost of Gorilla Permit
Gorilla permit authorizes you to access the park and meet the Gorillas and spend an hour in their presence. It costs $600 per person for foreigners, $500 for foreign residents and 250,000Ugx for East African residents. This cost includes the park entrance fees and a guide to take you to the gorillas sharing insights about the lives of these endangered apes.
Where to get the Gorilla Permits
Gorilla permits can be obtained from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) headquarters in Kampala or at the park headquarters in Kisoro district through a trusted Ugandan tour operator.
Parking list for gorilla tracking in Mgahinga
For you to enjoy you Gorilla tracking safari you will need to have appropriate outfit to make your experience better. Your packing list should include but not limited to the following; Waterproof hiking boots, insect repellents, long-sleeved shirts & t-shirt, trousers, hat, sunscreen, a camera with extra batteries, first aid kit, valid visa/passport, a walking stick which you can find at the park headquarters among others.
How to get there?
Mgahinga can be accessed road in a good 4×4 car from Kampala via Kabale to Kisoro and this journey takes about 8 hours. It can also be accessed by air; you board a plane from Entebbe to Kisoro Airstrip which is near the park. This is the quickest mode of access and it takes just one hour. Daily flights can be booked in advance with your local Uganda safari operator with local air transport operators.
In conclusion therefore, The higher number of tour activities makes Mgahinga the best place for Gorilla tracking, it is easier to have other activities like mountain hiking, Golden monkey tracking which gives your journey to Mgahinga more fulfilling than it would in another park.