Mountain gorillas are subspecies of primate animals called gorillas. Gorillas are the largest great apes left in the world which live in the tropical rain forests of Africa. Mountain gorillas derive their name from the location and nature of their habitats as these live in the mountain ranges of central east Africa of Virunga that is straddled by Rwanda, Uganda and DR.Congo and the Kigezi highlands of Uganda.
These huge primates are endangered species of animals in that if not preserved and conserved well in the forthcoming years they will get extinct. There are about 900 mountain gorillas left in the world and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda has a half of these amazing primates that is about 420 gorilla individuals in the wild.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in the southwestern part of Uganda in the kigezi highlands in Kabale district. Due to the possession of mountain gorillas, this national park has become as famous in the tourism world as thousands of people around the world visit it to watch the gorillas in the wild. This wonderful biodiversity is protected and managed by the Uganda wildlife authority under the government of Uganda.
By the effort of the Uganda wildlife authority, they found a way of making people know how conserving and meeting the mountain gorillas is beautiful and important to the world by putting up a gorilla trekking activity where people go to the park to watch and interact with the mountain gorillas in their natural environment from a close range. There are eighteen habituated mountain gorilla families in Bwindi impenetrable national park and these include;
- Buitukura, Oruzogo Kyaguriro and the newly habuated one Bikyingi – three groups in the Ruhija area
- Mishaya, Nshongi, Kahungye, Busingye and Bweza – five gorilla-groups inthe Rushaga area
- Nkuringo family and recently dispensed group of Bushaho – two groups in the Nkuringo area
- Rushegura, Mubare and Habiyanja
One might ask “what are habituated gorillas?” habituated gorillas are gorillas that are tamed so that they can tolerant the presence of mankind at a close range or in other words these are gorillas that can be watched by people who may wish to interact with the gorillas in the wild. Mountain gorillas are found in a group of 2-40 individuals in essence one can never find a gorilla on its own without a partner in the wild.
Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi starts with briefing of visitors or gorilla trackers at the head quarters of the park early in the morning and then they are allocated to certain groups comprising of 8 people in accordance to the gorilla family they are going to watch on a day. It should be noted that a certain gorilla family is visited by one group of gorilla in day. These trackers are taken to the start up points where the gorilla patron leads them into the tropical rain forests of Bwindi to interact with the only left mountain gorillas in the wild.
During a trek through the forest a gorilla patron narrates stories about the mountain gorillas that mount up the excitement and also the trackers are able to see other wildlife like various bird species, trees and also monkeys. It takes the trackers 2-6 hours to reach the gorillas due to the fact gorillas are nomadic animals that keep moving from one place to another making their tracking very hard. But the long walks are all forgotten when the trackers meet the gorilla face to face since it is such an exhilarating moment.
When the trackers meet the gorillas they interact with them by observing the way they feed, play and also communicate and at times the young gorillas come close to trackers with an intention of playing with them. The trackers also take photos of these wonderful animals that are kept are memoirs. We can only give the hints of how it is like to trek the gorilla in Bwindi but the experience is unexplainable as former trackers have had outrageous remarks about gorilla trekking in Bwindi.
So for those who have never tracked the gorillas the time is now book with a local tour operator to go on a gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable and have a thriller of an experience.