Gorilla trekking in Africa is done in three countries including Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Visiting the mountain gorillas in the wild is one of the most fantastic adventure wildlife encounter on planet earth. Kwita Nzina is also the naming ceremony of the mountain gorillas that is carried out in Rwanda and this same activity attracts many tourists and has brought high revenues to the country of Rwanda. The mountain gorillas are also endangered species that makes life experience of seeing these unique primates in their natural habitants so extra ordinary and very beautiful.
These mountain gorillas are over 900 individuals and these are remaining in the world according to national geographic, the real number of these primates that are remaining with in the rain forests is 700. The world Wildlife Fund also estimates that the real number of these Mountain gorillas that is remaining is 880 individuals and the opportunity of trekking Gorillas in these rain forests is a once life time adventure and one of the greatest wildlife experiences with in Africa.
The best places known for trekking the mountain gorillas in Africa are the three countries that offer this trek in Africa and these include; Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. All these countries are found in Africa. These are also naturally found within the dense rain forests and are all in central Africa. These areas are also forested mountainous areas that are occupied by the African mountain gorillas. The national parks were the Gorilla tracking safari takes place include; Mgahinga National park located in the Far East in western part of Uganda and it borders Rwanda just near Volcanoes National park, Bwindi impenetrable National park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Game park in Rwanda and the Virunga National Game Park in Democratic republic of Congo, DRC.
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga & Bwindi Impenetrable National park (Uganda) Bwindi Forest has got 13 gorilla groups and it’s situated in southern Uganda and Mgahinga national park has got 1 gorilla family. The gorilla families that are found in Bwindi include; Mubare, Rushegura, Habinyanja and these are found in Buhoma sector, the Rushaga sector has got Nshogi, Mishaya, Busingye, Kahungwe and Bweza. Nkuringo family has one group called Nkuringo and Ruhija sector has three families including; Buitukura, Oruzogo and Kyaguriro. Mgahinga National park has also got one gorilla family which is called Nyakagezi and this group moves between Rwanda and Uganda and in last two past years, the group has been staying in Uganda and it has gorillas including the four silverbacks. Bwindi impenetrable National park is also known to be UNESCO World Site and it’s here in south western Uganda that has half of the gorilla population totalling to 440 that is half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world. This park covers an area of 331km of the thick montane and the lowland rain forests. Mgahinga National park is also located in the Far East in western part of Uganda and it borders Rwanda just near Volcanoes National park as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo near the Virunga National park. This is also a known gorilla territory that falls in Virunga Volcanoes region and also distances three main central African countries. This national park is the smallest park and is about 34kn forming part of the bigger Virunga conservation Area that is 434km of the bigger volcanic mountains. This national park is also home to one gorilla family that moves between Rwanda and Uganda and it’s difficult to be trekked by the tourists. Within Uganda, these national parks are well managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority and it takes over 12 hours to drive to both of these national parks. This drive gives the tourists the exact picture of what a rural area looks like and also passes through the most beautiful scenery that is so eccentric to the eyes of the viewer. There is also an attractive way of reaching these two parks, by taking a domestic flight from Entebbe Airport by Aero Link to Kayonza Airstrip that is near Bwindi and here the tourists can be driven for a short while in order to be able to access the park.
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda) Volcanoes national park also covers an area of about 125km of fantastic scenic forest that is covered with mountains as well as the six volcanoes, this is why Rwanda is also known as the land of a thousand hills. There are over 480 mountain gorillas that are found along the border of the Virunga Conservation Area which are within the Virunga Mountains. This conservation area also includes the volcanoes National park that is managed in Rwanda. This is where the great primatologist Dian Fossey who lived and worked with the mountain gorillas. These gorillas that live here are habituated more than in any other areas and they are used to human beings around them. This national park has got 10 gorilla families including the Susa Gorilla family, Karisimbi gorilla family, Amahoro, Agashya, Sabyinyo gorilla family, Umubano gorilla family, Hirwa, Kwitonda, Bwenge and Ugenda gorilla family. This national park is also situated in northern Rwanda and its only 80km away from the city of Kigali. Access to this national park is so easy and so quick than getting to Bwindi which is located in Uganda. This national park is 2 and ½ hour’s drive from Kigali and in case you are traveling on a tight budget, you can also opt to take a mini bus to Ruhengeri town which is situated at the park entrance or you can also take a tax. Gorilla tracking in this national park is so active than in Bwindi Forest, this is because these mountain gorillas move around less some times. This park’s open terrain amid the bamboo forests that allows the light in the environment, which makes an opportunity for taking the photos than in Bwindi forest which is so thick. Tracking of the gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda which is completely different. Tracking in Rwanda or Uganda is completely different, with in Uganda, a bought gorilla permit gives you a chance to trek that exact gorilla family. In Rwanda, the permit will give you chance to track a particular family and the gorilla group allocated to you depending on many dependant factors. After having the briefing about gorilla trekking, the visitors are divided into groups according to fitness level, age and the location of the gorilla family at the same time.
GORILLA TREKKING WITH IN VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK IN DRC Gorilla tracking in DRC is carried out in Virunga National park which is also UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s located in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and borders both Rwanda and Uganda. Virunga National park also covers an area of about 7800km and is also home to 200 of the mountain gorillas living mostly in the southern part of the park. This national park is also managed by Congolese national park authorities with the institute Congolais Pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) , These are also partner with Africa Conservation Fund. After, the reduction in these mountain gorilla numbers are due to the ruthless attacks which killed 10 gorillas, their population has also increased and more stable now. The efforts have been put in by the rangers who live within Virunga National park. The park is also 32km west of Goma which is also the capital city of North Kivu province. Transport from Goma to Virunga National park that can be also be arranged with Virunga National park. The roads to the national park are so poor and it’s also the best to travel with someone who knows the place. The other option can be a guided tour since tourism infrastructure is not well developed as in Uganda and Rwanda. It’s also well advisable that the best way to arrive at Goma is by passing via Rwanda on a well maintained road from Kigali.it also takes three hours to drive to arrive the border of DRC which is near Goma. This border crossing is also easy and from there, it’s also a short walk of 10 minutes to Goma . The other option would be by crossing the border of Bunagana in south western Uganda, where you can access an affordable local visa which can be bought.