How Many Gorillas Are In Uganda
Of the 1063 mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) still living earth today, over 50% of them reside in Uganda alone. These are distinct and endangered species with slow production rate, giving birth to a single off-spring at a time and on rare occasions to twins. Over 459 of the world’s mountain gorillas live in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park an increase from 400 in 2011.
Mountain gorillas are among the world’s unique wildlife living only in the Virunga Region and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The Virunga Region where these apes reside in the wild include Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Virunga National Park Congo and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. In Uganda, mountain gorillas are in the two parks – Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (this is located near Sarambwe Reserve of D.R. Congo).
Where do mountain gorillas live in Uganda?
The endangered mountain gorillas peacefully reside in the 5 locations/areas in Uganda – 4 locations are in Bwindi and only one exists in Mgahinga National Park – Southwestern Uganda. The 5 sectors are the spots to track 21 habituated gorilla group families and they include Ruhija region, Nkuringo, Buhoma and Rushaga located in Bwindi;
In Mgahinga, mountain gorillas live in one group – Nyakagezi. For all gorilla treks in Mgahinga National Park, only 8pax are allowed to visit this group to explore more about their behaviors, taking photos, etc. Ruhija sector – An interesting gorilla trekking region located in the Eastern side of Bwindi at altitude of 2350m and has 4 habituated gorilla groups: Oruzongo, Mukiza, Kyaguriro and Bitukura groups.
Buhoma region – A gorilla area in the Northern side of Bwindi and also a home to the oldest habituated gorilla group in Uganda – Mubare. Currently, additional 3 groups are open for gorilla tracking in Buhoma and they include Habinyanja, Katwe and Rushegura gorilla family.
Rushaga region – This is one of the Southern sectors in Bwindi National Park and it has the largest groups of mountain gorillas including Kahungye, Mucunguzi, Bweza, Biking group, Mishaya, Busingye, Kutu, Nshongi gorilla group and more. Nkuringo – Nkuringo region is one toughest regions located in the Southern side of Bwindi and currently comprised of 3 gorilla families – Christmas, Bushaho and Nkuringo.
Cost of gorilla permits
In order to be permitted to visit mountain gorillas in Uganda, visitors require valid gorilla permits. Every gorilla permit Uganda has is sold at US Dollars 700 per person if you are foreign non-resident, the foreign residents USD600 and shs. 250,000 for East African citizens and Ugandans with plans to visit Bwindi or Mgahinga for gorilla tracking. Once a gorilla permit is secured, you have a higher opportunity to visit one group and this will be in a group of 8 people per day.
The price of gorilla permits covers your park guide services, the experience or encounter with gorillas in the wild and photography, etc, but not price of accommodation, transportation and additional activities in Bwindi, Mgahinga or other parks in Uganda. The demand for permits is without doubt high and it is good to have them booked early at least 2-6 months before actual visit to see mountain gorillas.
How do I buy a Uganda gorilla permit?
Purchasing a gorilla permit is easier via a trusted ground tour operator or directly via Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). Dealing with a tour operator is advantageous because the process doesn’t stop at securing a gorilla permit from UWA alone, but our team goes further to book accommodation, transportation and putting everything required of your gorilla safari.
When to visit to see Uganda mountain gorillas?
Mountain gorillas in Uganda can be views all year-round in Bwindi or Mgahinga NP, but the most preferred time is the dry season. The dry season guarantees relatively smooth treks through the jungles for you to see mountain gorillas and this is from June to September, December to February.
How many hours can I spend with mountain gorillas?
Strictly an hour is available for tourists to stay face to face with mountain gorillas and this is after 2-6 hours of trekking via the forest. At times, you can spend fewer hours or more to walk via the steep slopes while searching for gorillas but it all depends on the how fast you can walk.