Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Tracking Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is arguably one of the most worthwhile wildlife encounters in Africa. It is a 321km tropical forest in South-Western Uganda that is over 20,000 years old. It is blessed with over 450 gorillas, of which over 200 are habituated and open for tourism. It has the highest number of habituated families, 18, each made of 7-35 members comprising of infants, sub-adults, mothers, juveniles and alpha males.
While chimps have 98.7% common D.N.A with humans, gorillas are slightly above 98%. Ironically, they seem to connect more with visitors of the human race (than chimps do). You will sense a strong chemistry as they look at you as much as you are staring at them during the one hour you will be permitted to dwell in their presence. First though, you will have to brave a 1-5hours hiking excursion through the forest in search for a random location where they are roaming in search for food and wild fruits. Throughout this hike, you will be accompanied by a very enthusiastic ranger guide who is very knowledgeable about the park’s flora and fauna.
One of the reasons why visitors keep coming back to Bwindi is that each gorilla experience is totally different from any other. While the highlight of one opportunity might be that National Geographic moment when two silverbacks are wrestling, the next might be when the whole troop follows you down the mountain to the boundary of the forest as you journey to the finishing point of the adventure. Budget permitting, we recommend booking two gorilla tracking permits. This will afford you the opportunity of meeting two different families and comparing their ways of life.
Thanks to its concentration of over 50% of the world's surviving population of mountain gorillas, Bwindi is a modern-day mecca for primate-lovers. It perfectly complements Tanzania’s wildebeest migration and Kenya’s rejuvenating beach-life.
Bwindi’s popularity and appeal is partly because it offers a varied choice of safari options across most budgets. Accommodation ranges from large family-friendly lodges, luxurious eco-friendly lodges, intimate camps and budget bandas. Whatever your safari arrangements are for the Bwindi, you can be sure of plenty of dazzling primate action.
If you are a big fan of luxury, you fly there. On the part of gorillas, while permits to track one of the habituated families costs $600, the habituation experience costs $1,500.