Where to track gorillas in Uganda is a common question among those that plan to undertake gorilla safaris in Uganda. Since the country features a range of ten National Parks, it is at times challenging to ascertain which destination gorilla trekking in Uganda takes place and its location.
Apparently sheltering close to a half of the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas, Uganda has positioned herself not only as an epitome of gorilla conservation but also as a destination that allows people re-unite with their ancestral brothers and the famous great apes of Africa which are not found in any other continent in the world.
Despite the count of ten (10) National Parks, Uganda features only two of these parks where mountain gorillas thrive and thus presenting the ground for Uganda gorilla trekking safaris. The two destinations all situated to the south west of the country include; the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. But importantly to note is that it is not only about the broader destinations but exact regions in those destinations where gorillas are tracked.
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park features four regions which possesses independent habituated gorilla families that are part of the greater 400 count of mountain gorilla population in the park. Understanding these regions allow the travelers on gorilla safari in Uganda to know where to secure the gorilla permit, book accommodation and drive to.
The pioneer Buhoma to the north is the commonly known among the four because of being the first to conduct the gorilla trekking activity in the whole of Bwindi when its Mubare family was opened for tracking on October 13th 1993 after two year habituation process from October 1991. The region also features other two gorilla groups named Rushegura and its origin group Habinyanja.
In this region, there are more accommodation units of all categories ranging from up market / Luxury lodges of Gorilla Forest Camp to Buhoma Lodge and Mahogany Springs; Midrange / Standard lodges like Silverback Lodge and the Budget / Basic establishments like Buhoma Community Rest Camp. The road to Buhoma is also good as the terrain is not that too mountainous like to the south of the park.
To the east of the park, there lies Ruhija region which is formerly known for research about the mountain gorillas. In fact, its family of Kyaguliro has been a research group for long before it was introduced for tracking. The other gorilla groups include; Oruzogo and the Bitukura. The Ruhija region still has issues with decent accommodation especially for affluent up market travelers. The apparent Luxury lodge that is used is Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge, the mid-range / standard accommodation include the Gorilla Mist Camp and Bakiga Lodge while the Budget / Basic lodge include; Broadbill Forest camp, Ruhija Community Rest Camp and the Trekkers Tavern. The accessibility follows a mountainous terrain and would at times be challenging in rainy season.
To the south of the Park, there lies Rushaga region which features the highest concentration of gorilla families in Bwindi including the largest gorilla family that has ever been habituated known as Nshongi though it disintegrated to form other new families. Other gorilla groups include the Bweza, the Busingye, the Mishaya and the Kahungye. The accommodation in Rushaga is advancing with the up market / Luxury lodges including Chameleon Hill Lodge and Gorilla Safari Lodge, the Midrange / Standard lodges being Gorilla Valley Lodge, while the Budget / Basic being Nshongi Camp and Nshongi Gorilla Resort. The accessibility is also challenging because of mountainous landscape but offers great sightseeing views.
To the South West of the park, there lies Nkuringo region which features one gorilla family Nkuringo and because of the raised hills, it is regarded as the challenging to trek and ideal for those who wish to undertake adventure gorilla safari in Uganda. The Up market / Luxury accommodation in Nkuringo is Clouds Mount Gorilla Lodge – the most expensive safari lodge in Uganda with magical views of the Virunga and the Impenetrable forest while the midrange / Standard in Nkuringo Gorilla Camp. The accessibility to Nkuringo follows a challenging rugged terrain but the views are wonderful.
Unlike Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has no regions where various groups are tracked. It features one gorilla family Nyakagyezi and the trekking starts at either Ntebeko Visitor Center or the Muhabura side depending on which side of the Volcanoes that the group is feeding from.