Safari activities that can be done before or after a Uganda Mountain Gorilla trekking safari
Mountain Gorilla trekking is a top bucket list safari activity in Africa and therefore many would love to enjoy the experience. Mountain Gorilla trekking is a single day activity and can be done as the only activity on safari or else be tailored on an extended or Long Uganda safari. From our popular 3 Days Uganda gorilla trekking safari Bwindi to any other safari including Mountain Gorilla trekking, many gorilla trackers which other activities they can undertake within the gorilla habitats before or after their gorilla trekking experience. So here I give you a pick on top optional safari activities before or after Mountain Gorilla trekking what you can do after or before your Mountain Gorilla trekking safari;
Visit Lake Bunyonyi
Lake Bunyonyi is popularly known as the lake of little birds because of the many bird species within the lake area. It is Africa’s deepest lake and a bilharzia free lake. Taking a dive in to the water after a Uganda gorilla trekking safari is one way to relax. Besides, swimming (recommended for experienced swimmers) you can also go on a boat cruise to one of the 29 islands within the lake. The popularly visited island is the punishment island which has a very touching story of the natives who used this island as a point to punish young girls who got pregnant before marriage. Whether after trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, you can still visit Lake Bunyonyi.
Batwa cultural experience
The Batwa cultural experience is a unique cultural experience within the tropical forest. The Batwa are a previously hunter-gatherer tribe of pygmies who originally lived in harmony with the Mountain Gorillas in the forest. They lived in caves and trees of the forests for hundreds of years. Most of the pygmies have a height on average less than 150 cm (4 ft 11 in) tall. They are restricted to the mountain range areas of Bwindi and Virunga. The Batwa experience was started by the Batwa themselves to preserve their culture. During the experience, they demonstrate to tourists how they lived within the forest, survival tactics and the gorilla way of life. The experience can be had at the comfort of your accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park or you can opt to take the Batwa walk.
A Uganda birding safari is another great option here. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is named the best birding spot in Africa and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is also home to several Albertine rift endemics. Taking a day or 2 to go birding during your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda will definitely be rewarding. Bird species that can be sighted in Bwindi are inclusive but not limited to; the Handsome Francolin, Neuman’s Warble, Dwarf Honey-Guide, Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, Toro-Olive Greenbul, Black Bee-eaters, Bronze-napped Pigeon, the rare Chapin’s Flycatcher, Cassin’s grey flycatcher. The Black kite, Rwenzori Turaco, Blue -headed coucal, Grey – capped Warbler, Wax Bills, Ibis, Pin-tailed whydah, speckled mouse bird, stone chat and many more can be spotted in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Golden Monkey trekking
Restricted within the Virunga Mountain ranges, golden monkeys are a beautiful ape to trek on a Uganda tour. The Golden Monkey (Cercopithecus Mitis Kandti) is a local subspecies of the widespread Sykes Monkey, also known as the “Blue Monkey” (found in Bwindi Forest National Park) and is endemic to the high-altitude forests of the Virunga massif. Golden monkeys are a beautiful sub species of monkeys from their golden coat, long tail to the playful and intrusive character. They spend most of their time leaping from bamboo branches or skipping on the forest floor. You can opt to go golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park at a fee of USD 50 per trek for about 4 hours.
Mountain Gorilla trekking itself requires hiking but if you are daring to take another hike then you can opt for it. Hiking is undertaken in the 3 out of the 8 Virunga volcanoes of Mt. Sabinyo, Mt. Gahinga and Mt. Muhavura which offer breath -taking drops into deep gorges and ravines. Mt. Muhavura is the highest at 4,127m with a relaxing view of Virunga volcanoes, Lake Edward at Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Rwenzori mountains (the highest in Uganda). The hike to the peak of Mt Muhavura will take you about 8 excruciating hours to get to this whole new world. Mt. Gahinga the second highest is 3474m taking about 6 hours. Mt. Sabinyo is 366m above sea level and here you get an all East and Central African experience as you set foot on Uganda, Rwanda and Congo just within 8 hours. You can also hike within the trails of Bwindi forest.
Taking an optional safari activity before or after your trek lets you understand more the region which you have visited and this is the best way to appreciate diversity.