According to the testimonies given by many tourists from gorilla trekking, it has been confirmed that, Gorilla tracking in either Uganda or Rwanda is one of Africa’s most memorable wildlife encounters. In Uganda, the 3 days gorilla safari package is most popular, while in Rwanda, they have a 1 and 2 days safari packages. However, there are longer gorilla safari packages depending on your interests! The short gorilla trips are mostly booked by people with other safaris in Kenya, Tanzania or Zanzibar, they pass by Rwanda or Uganda for gorillas only!
According to gorilla census of 2011, there are approximately 880 mountain gorillas remaining on earth and it is fortunate that half of them live in the Virunga Mountains which are shared by Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and another half lives in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest of Uganda.
Uganda has two Gorilla National parks namely Mgahinga and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park while Rwanda has Volcanoes national park. Democratic Republic of Congo on the ther hand has gorillas in the magnificent Virunga National park.
Gorilla Groups in Bwindi Uganda – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Gorilla families in Uganda include; Mubale, Rushegula, Habinyanja, Oruzogo, Bitukura, Nkuringo, Kahunje, Nshongi Mishaya, Bushinje and so on. These are found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Mgahinga Gorilla park on the other hand has only one gorilla group called Nyakagezi.
Time taken while searching for gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest is unpredictable however, some times range from 2 to 8 hours or a full day depending on their movement in their natural setting.
But the thrill of meeting gorillas in mist erases the difficulties trackers go through in trying to search for them. It should also be noted that a maximum of eight people visit each gorilla group per day. This is done to avoid annoying gorillas which can cause danger to the visitors, and to minimize the environmental impact of crowds in the forest.
Only one hour is given to visitors enjoy the view of the gentle giants in their habitat but visitors are free to take photos and films for record keeping.
About Gorillas in Rwanda
It is much easier to meet and see gorillas in Rwanda as the near by gorilla groups can easily reached in a maximum of 3 hours. More so, visitors are allocated to gorilla families according to their level of fitness unlike in Uganda.
Rwanda gorilla groups
There are currently 10 main groups habituated for gorilla tracking in Rwanda; the Susa, Sabyinyo, karisimbi, Amahoro, Umubano, Hirwa, Bwenge, Ugenda, Group Thirteen, etc.
The groups vary in number from around 9 to 39 individuals and all currently have at least one silverback male. Of the seven groups, there are a couple that tend to be found on the saddle between Mount Sabyinyo and Mount Gahinga which is around a two hour walk from the park entrance.
Nothing is guaranteed though and you may find yourself tracking a group such as the Susa, first studied by Diane Fossey and often found on the slopes of Mount Visoke, a five hour hike away.