One of the most exciting and authentic holidays in Africa is to go chimp and gorilla trekking in Uganda. Enter the wild habitat of wild animals where people should not be – you are privileged to be a witness to family groups of the biggest primates in the world, going about their daily lives in survival mode. Enter huge lush forests on the slopes of extraordinary mountains in some of the most untouched regions in the world. This is your chimp and gorilla trekking holiday in Uganda…
Might mountain gorillas
The best destination to see half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas in Uganda is Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. This happens to be the most popular area for tracking the gorillas, in Buhoma forest, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, known to be the smallest park measuring 34km, is home to one gorilla family that keeps on moving between Uganda and Rwanda therefore making it very difficult to trek this small gorilla population. It is also part of the large Virunga Conservation Area connecting 434km of volcanic mountains that in turn join Uganda with Rwanda and the DRC.
Chimps in forests
Although gorilla trekking is top of every visitor’s list, chimpanzee trekking should be right up there too. Kibale National Park features the biggest population of chimps on earth and is the best place to observe them. This Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda and is home to a total of 70 mammal species, the most famous being the 13 species of primate including the chimpanzee.
It therefore seems logical that Kibale’s most popular activity is the Kanyanchu Primate Walk. Seek the stars of this trail, the chimps, while also coming across other fascinating diurnal monkeys. The chances of finding Kanyanchu’s chimps are excellent as they have been tracked since 1993. Start your guided walks at 8am or 2pm for 3 hours.
Permits vs guarantees
When you set off on your gorilla trek, it is good to know basic information about these intelligent creatures. Uganda is home to more than 9 gorilla families and the country gives out a maximum of 8 permits per day. Remember that even when you have bought your gorilla permits, this is not a guarantee that you will see the elusive mountain gorillas – you will have 95% chance of viewing them, thanks to the rangers who monitor these huge creatures 24 hours a day.
If you want to see the 3 habituated ape families in Buhoma, you need to trek through thick tropical forests for 3 to 10 hours. Habituated gorillas are more used to people than really wild primates which makes it safer. Within the southern part of Bwindi, you will find the Nkuringo , Nshongi, Kahunje, Rushaga and Businge gorilla families.
A family of habituated individuals
The Nyakagezi family is the only habituated gorilla family in Mgahinga National park and this group moves across the border making viewing very unpredictable. The Nyakagezi family is said to be one of the most amusing gorilla families to trek and also contains more silverbacks within the group. Mgahinga National Park is also the only place in Uganda where you can see Golden monkeys. Buy permits to enter the bamboo forest when you get to Mgahinga.
So much to see and do while gorrila and chimp trekking
There is so much to see and do while you are there, in Bwindi Forest – look out for the 120 mammals including 30 elephants, 360 bird species and over 200 butterfly species. If you love bird watching, you will need a trained bird guide to take you into the dark forest and skilfully copy their songs. Bird watching goes hand in hand with gorilla trekking.
Set off on delightful nature walks to see some of the 324 tree species that have been recorded in Bwindi including giant fern trees, shrubs and enormous vines. Book exciting nature walks to view the orchids and unusual monkeys. Try to see some of the three waterfalls which will simply take your breath away.
Stay in the natural yet chic Silverback Lodge not far from the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, with magnificent views of the valley and lush forests, home to some 350 mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, other mammals, myriad birds and plants. Enjoy gorilla trekking to view more than 50% of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world numbering about 350 animals. Discover non-habituated chimpanzees, more than 100 other species of mammals, 346 species of birds, and 163 species of trees on various trails into the wilderness.
Enjoy après-tracking cocktails on the extensive veranda and watch wildlife from your room. Refurbished facilities and delicious cuisine. Choose from 12 elegant rooms made using forest vines, sisal rope and purple slate stone – en-suite bathrooms with hot water showers, relaxing chairs on verandas.
Chimp and gorilla trekking in Uganda is for tourists with a passion for primates and remote untouched habitats. Check with Journey in Style where you should book your unique African safari to see your ancestors in action.