Gorilla Trekking In Mgahinga National Park
Gorilla trekking in Uganda’s Mgahinga National park is one of the most popular Uganda safari activities. The park has one habituated gorilla group called Nyakagezi, which can be tracked by tourists.
Nyakagezi gorilla family consists of 5 silverbacks, 2 adult females, and three youngsters. Eight permits are available daily to trek this gorilla family.
The high proportion of Silverbacks in this gorilla family makes gorilla trekking in Mgahinga very impressive.
The mountain gorilla group at Mgahinga can be visited under strict supervision.
The availability of vegetation, such as bamboo shoots, affects the movement of the gorillas, and locating them requires experienced guides who will be able to pick up on their tracks and locate them in the park.
Registration and briefing for gorilla tracking in Mgahinga commence at Ntebeko at 07.45. Tracking starts at 08.30 and can take 3 to 8 hours depending on the location of the gorilla family.
Once gorillas are found, you are allowed to 1 hour with them, studying their behavior, taking photographs, and videos.
Gorilla treks in Uganda’s Mgahinga are open to visitors throughout the year. But it is best done in June, July, August, and September then December, January, and February.
During this period, gorilla tracking is easier because it is a dry season and the habitat remains relatively drier thus making it simpler for visitors to hike through the dense jungles and steep slopes to search for the gentle mysterious giants.
Nyakagezi Gorilla family’s territory lies between the Ntebeko and Muhabura entrance gates, do check a day in advance which trailed with be used the next morning.
What To Pack For A Gorilla Trek In Mgahinga Uganda
- Cameras and extra batteries
- Energy giving snacks
- Insect repellent; especially for mosquitoes and other biting insects
- Sun Blocker cream
- Sunglasses: These help with protection from direct sunshine.
- Extra shocks for hiking
- Long-sleeved shirts/t-shirts
- Long trousers: Jeans are mostly recommended
- Rain jacket/Rain poncho
- Waterproof Hiking boots and long shocks
- Strong gardening gloves to support selves on branches or vines.
- Headband & Hat
- A warm sweater; can be worn in the early mornings and cool nights
- Avoid wearing bright colors
Mountain Gorilla Trekking Rules In Mgahinga
Before You Visit The Gorillas
- The minimum age for tracking in Uganda is 15 years. In case you have traveled with children below the age of 15, they will also be provided with an activity.
- The maximum number of visitors is 8 persons per gorilla group.
- Gorillas are susceptible to many human diseases, and it has long been feared by researchers that one ill visitor might infect a gorilla; resulting in the possible death of the whole troop should no immunity exist. For this reason, visitors who know they are habouring a potentially airborne infection such as flu or a cold should not trek gorillas (the permit fee will be refunded.
- Wash your hands with a hand sanitizer of 60% alcohol or soap and water before you head out for a gorilla trek.
On The Way To The Gorillas
- Please always speak in a low voice in the forest so that you do not disrupt the peace of the gorillas.
- Don’t throw away garbage in the forest.
- Follow your guide through the trekking trails and stick to the group for your safety.
- Human waste should be buried 30cm deep.
When You Are With Gorillas
- Once in the forest, trekkers should not approach the gorillas more closely than 10 meters. This rule is often contravened by curious younger stars and sometimes adults approaching their human visitors. You will need to calmly and slowly move back to regain the 10-meter distance.
- It is forbidden to eat, smoke, urinate or defecate in the vicinity of the gorilla family.
- Turn away if you need to cough or sneeze and cover your mouth
- Flash photography is forbidden
- Please always stay in a group during the visits.
- Speak in a low voice; you are free to ask the guide question.
- Don’t touch the gorillas, they are wild animals.
- You will be given one hour to stay with gorillas after encountering them.
How Much Does A Gorilla Trek In Mgahinga Cost?
To trek gorillas in Uganda, you must have a gorilla trekking permit– issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority. A Uganda gorilla permit for gorilla trekking cost US$700. The rate includes guide fee, park entrance fees for the day, and community development contribution, but excludes accommodation fees.
How Do I Book A Gorilla Trek In Mgahinga?
It is strongly recommended to book your gorilla permit through a Uganda tour operator who is a member of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO).
During your search for tour operators in Uganda, you will find out that there are 200 plus tour and travel companies in Uganda.
However, some of these companies are ‘Briefcase companies’. A fraction of those is officially recognized partners in the marketing and sale of gorilla permits. The best Uganda gorilla trekking companies are those that have permanent offices and members of AUTO.
Permits should be booked in advance.