Would you like to visit the gorillas in their natural habitat? Here are the 5 best places which you can consider adding to your Africa travel itinerary where you will have an amazing encounter with the great apes!
BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK
Bwindi national park is located in the southwestern part of Uganda. It lies on the western arm of East African Rift valley. It lies about 530km from Kampala the capital city of Uganda and the journey to the park by road takes an estimated travel of 10 hours on road. If you would like ro spend less hours in transit, you can consider flying to the park. The park can be accessed by air, and there are domestic flights connecting from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Kisoro which is close to the southern part of Bwindi. This is one of the two national parks in Uganda that offers the experience of gorilla trekking.
The park is divided in to two parts the northern, close to Kihihi and the southern close to Kisoro district. The unique aspect about this park is that activities are done in relation to the sectors such as the Nkuringo sector that lies close to the Buhoma sector which is well known for its impenetrable forest and also offers the best experience for community walks such as visiting a traditional healer, rural homestead, blacksmith and brewers. The Gorilla families that are found in this sector are Nkuringo and Katwe which is the recently opened group for tracking.
The Ruhija sector which is famous for its bird species apart from the gorillas is considered to be the most remote sector among the four sectors. The gorilla families in this sector include; Oruzogo, Bitukura and Kyaguriro.
The Rushaga sector is well known of having the highest number of gorilla families such as Mishaya, Nshongi, Kahungye, Busingye and Bweza. This sector lies between Kabale and Nkuringo.
The major activity done in Bwindi impenetrable national park is gorilla trekking which is limited to a number of 8 people per particular gorilla group.Other activities include guided forest walks, birding and the primates viewing. One of the most interesting activities is the Batwa cultural experience which is picking up at a high speed since it was introduced in Bwindi national park.
MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK
Mgahinga national park is located in the southwestern Uganda on the border with Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. The park covers 33.7 sq. kilometers, and one of Uganda‘s prime habitat for critically endangered mountain Gorillas which move within the park under the forest looking for food. Mgahinga national park is one of the places in the world where the mountain gorillas can be found hence attracting many people to visit Uganda for gorilla trekking safaris.
In addition to that, the park has enough food for the gorillas that’s the reason why some of the families from Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo even migrate to Mgahinga national park making it easy for a visitor to see them in their natural habitats.
VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
In Rwanda one can only see mountain gorillas in the volcanoes national park, which is a section of the Virunga Mountains with an approximated number of 400 mountain gorillas residing on an altitude of 2300 to 4500 meters on the southern part of Virunga massif.
The park also has 10 habituated gorilla families that are open for visitors taking safaris in Rwanda. Among these groups are; Susa group which Dian Fossey did her research with, Karisimbi family, this family separated from the initial Susa and today it is called Susa b having 15 individuals, Sabyinyo gorilla group is headed by Guhondo a strong Silverback, Amahoro gorilla group is the most peaceful group and it has seventeen individuals, Umubano group which was initial under the Amahoro but separated, the Agasha group, Kwitonda family, Hirwa Group, Bwenge family, and the Ugenda family.
KAHUZI BIEGA NATIONAL PARK.
Kahuzi Biega national park is another prominent park in D.R. Congo and it is found 50km west of Bukavu town near the western side of Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border. The park was gazetted in order to protect the eastern lowland gorillas, the largest gorilla species in the world.
The park was stretched from to 6000 sq. km to protect the mountain forest and also the virgin forest found in the lower altitudes. The Park is named after the dormant volcanoes Mount. Kahuzi and Mount Biega. Unlike other parks in this region, Kahuzi-Biega is home to only the rare eastern lowland gorillas.
VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK
The Virunga national park is located in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo, south of Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border. It is a home for the mountain gorillas and part of the Virunga Massif that is associated with Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park and Uganda’s Mgahinga national park.
Gorilla tracking at Virunga national park is an extraordinary experience with worthy gains that can be achieve by undertaking a tour to this virgin destination.
Remember that in this national park tracking depends on the time you encounter with the gorillas because finding them depends on their location and daily movements but one is given only one hour to interact with the gorillas after meeting them.
Discover the beauty of Virunga national park, coupled with varied vegetation types, views of Nyiragongo volcano, beautiful sceneries and a number of primates, mammals and bird species that inhabit this park.