With a diverse collection of activities that visitors can get involved in, gorilla tracking comes out to be the best leading activity at Mgahinga Gorilla national park and almost 75% of Mgahinga's visitors come to view the precious primates. With Country Uganda being left with an estimate of 400 mountain gorillas, the Smallest Mgahinga park becomes one of the two blessed places where a visitor can have high chances to view the endangered mountain Gorilla species. The park is the best destination to trek the precious Nyakagezi gorilla group which frequently moves adjacent in the forests of Rwanda and Congo. The most valued park where gorillas are found is Bwindi Impenetrable and these two parks are near each other making it possible for one to trek through both of them on most of Uganda safaris.
The moment you visit the park, the welcoming atmosphere is an evidence of adventure filled of natural beauty. A day ‘trek through the forests of Mgahinga with a well-trained guide who explains the gorillas’ behavior along the way is a lifetime experience.
Normally, Gorilla trekking starts from Ntebeko Entrance gate at around 8:00am in the morning and this memorable activity daily takes like 2-4 hours. A tourist is needed to plan for his/her time well while with a gorilla family since the maximum time allowed spending with them is one hour.
The best time to visit the place for trekking the mountain Gorilla is during the dry seasons when the park trails can be easily accessed. It is during this dry time that the thick forests can be easily penetrated without any challenge and when the routes are not as muddy as it is in the rainy season. The two dry Seasons Preferable for Gorilla Safari are June to October and Mid-December to end of February. However, gorilla trekking activity can be carried out throughout the year.
A tourist taking photos during gorilla tracking
For those who are planning to do a gorilla tracking safari in Uganda there are number of rules and regulations to be followed by the tourists., the following information would apply.
- Before departing on your gorilla tracking: A maximum number of 8 visitors are allowed to visit a group of habituated mountain gorillas in a day and this is done to minimize behavioral disturbance that big numbers can cause to the gorillas and the risk of them being exposed to human-borne diseases, It’s advisable for visitors to always wash their hands before they head out to the gorillas.
- On the way to the gorillas: Please always keep your voices low because you will also be able to observe the great bird life and other wildlife in the forest. Do not leave rubbish in the park and whatever you carry into the forest should be carried back out with you; you will be taken to place where the guides observed the gorillas the day before. From this place are you will be guided to follow the gorilla’s trail to trace for them. Look for the gorilla’s nesting sites on the way, when you are almost reaching the mountain gorillas, the guides will always inform you to get set.
- When visitors are with the gorillas, they are Always requested to keep a 7 meter (21 feet) distance from the gorillas because the more distance between you and the primate, the more relaxed the group will be., You must stay in tight group when you are near the gorillas, Keep your voices down at all times. However, it is allowed to ask the guide questions because they are well informed about the gorillas. Visitors are requested not to smoke, eat or drink when they are near the gorillas. Drinking and eating is not allowed because it will increase the risk of food/drink droplets falling, which can likely increase the risk of transmission of diseases to the rare species, Sometimes the gorillas charge. Follow the guides example (go down slowly and do not see the gorillas directly in the eyes and wait for the other animals to pass). Do not risk to run away because that is likely to increase the risk, Flash photography is not permitted, when taking pictures move slowly and carefully, do not play or feel the gorillas. They are a wild animal that means they can harm; the only time visitor is allowed to spend with the gorillas is one hour. However, if the gorillas become nervous, the guide can finish the visit early before the one hour, after seeing the mountain gorillas, keep your voices low until you are 200 meters away from the gorillas.
- As far as health issues are concerned, mountain gorillas are very susceptible to diseases which affect human begins. There are number of rules and ways to minimize the risk that your visit might poses to them: Respect the limits imposed on the number of visitors allowed with the gorillas each day. This is done to reduce the risk of disease transmission and stress to the group, if you are feeling ill, or you are carrying a disease which is contiguous, stay behind voluntarily. An alternate visit will be arranged for you, or you will be refunded your money, If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the gorillas, please turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order to minimize the spread of bacteria or viruses, Always stay 7 meters (21 feet) away from the gorillas. This is to protect them from catching human diseases, Do not leave any rubbish (e.g. food wrappers) in the park; foreign items can harbor diseases or other contaminants, If you need to help yourself while in the forest, please request the guide to dig for you a hole with his panga. Make sure that the hole is 30 cm deep and after wards fill the hole with soil.
- What to bring on your Gorilla Safari: Wear comfortable hiking shoes which do disturb in steep muddy slopes, Put on ear plugs for those who feel uncomfortable with the jungle sounds, , Carry rain gear, Carry a packed lunch and enough drinking water, sunscreen lotion, a hat because the weather is unpredictable and insect repellent, come with a photo of film camera. Using cameras with flashlight not allowed so they recommend using films of 400-800 ASA.
Within Uganda, Gorilla trekking is mostly done in Bwindi National Park and in Mgahinga National Park. But because of the unreliability of gorillas in Mgahinga, highest number of the sold permits are for Bwindi impenetrable National Park in the Pearl of Africa -Uganda, every gorilla permit is sold at US$600 there are plans from May to April 2016 they will selling them US$350. On a single day, approximately 72 people travel into Bwindi to trek gorillas and only 8 people are allowed to see a gorilla family. It’s strongly advisable for clients to book their gorilla permit with the Uganda Gorilla safaris and Tour agent; the most prominent mistake is to book a gorilla family which is far away from your choice of accommodation remember the routes to Bwindi and its various regions are often tricky because this is a remote area and jungle. If you would like to do the gorilla trek on your own so as to save costs, chances are high for you spending more. The Safari guides in the destination have been highly trained to help you with all you want to do so contact them.
Tourists taking a good look at a gorilla
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