Any of our tours may be added to your trek up the Rwenzori Mountains
There are three places in Uganda where you may trek mountain gorillas, Bwindi National Park, north west of Kabale town and Mgahinga National Park near Kisoro in the far south west of Uganda. Both areas are considered safe to travel and both offer different experiences. Bwindi has magnificent forests and incredible bird life, both habituated groups in Bwindi number between 16 to 22 gorillas, while Mgahinga has beautiful forests with the backdrop of the Virunga volcanoes, creating the emotions of the "Gorillas in the Mist". The group in Mgahinga numbers nine however the vegetation is in general less dense than Bwindi, need say less actual food (bamboo shoots and plants) than Bwindi and hence the smaller group.. It is true that the Mgahinga gorillas sometimes cross the border into DRC (Congo) however this is seldom and usually only for a few days mainly during the last few weeks of the dry season during September and March. Below is a short write up on approximate costs and how to get there so as to enable you to make a choice on which group you may wish to see. Some people actually visit groups in both Bwindi and Mgahinga. The other place you can see gorillas in Uganda is Nkuringo however one company holds all or most of the permits and it is necessary to book through them.
Bwindi National Park has enormous biodiversity with over 190 species of birds and several species of monkeys. The forests are spectular and earn the name Impenetrable Forest. This does not mean that the forest is so thick that you can not walk or get an excellent view of the gorillas but relates to the lushness of vegetation and the volume of food available to support the enormous biodiversity including the mountain gorillas. There are two habituated groups who are at times very close to the park headquaters, however at times they may be and hour or two walking to find them and may take three to five hours walk however this gives an excellent chance see the may birds, other monkeys and other animals as you search for the gorillas. It does get wet and slippery so we recommend that your wear good hiking boots and carry a raincoat.
Permits for Bwindi National Park must be purchased in Kampala from Uganda Wildlife Authority headquaters. Permits cost $500 each payable in either US dollars or local currency. If you are doing a tour with us (Backpackers Hostel or Travel Uganda Ltd) we will arrange a permit or permits for you.
You may arrange for a private safari either at Backpackers Hostel or with one of the many safari companies around Kampala or choose to travel on public transport as follows;
To get to Bwindi you may catch a bus directly to a village called Butogota about 17km from the National Park. The bus leaves the Kampala bus park at about 6.30 every morning and as there is only one bus to Butogota be sure to be early. Sometimes to bus may leave a little later as it only leaves when every seat is occupied but do not risk missing it. Cost 25,000/- Ush. You can then get a special hire or pick up to take you up to the park for about 45,000/-. The best place to stay at Bwindi is the community campsite right near the park gate where you may camp for10,000/- or stay in a banda for either 20,000/- Ush. They also have drinks and meals. Another good campsite is opposite on the top side of the road and is simular in pricing..
Check in at the park office for gorilla trekking is 7 am the morning of trekking.
If you wish to travel directly back to Kampala after trekking you will have to sleep in Butogota as the bus for Kampala leaves about 5.30am. If you wish to travel to Kabale of Lake Bunyonyi you may opt to stay at Bwindi another night, travel into Butogota early morning a catch a matutu or pickup down to Kabale.
THREE DAY GORILLA SAFARI
Depart Kampala at 9am to dive the 550km to the Bwindi National Park stopping for lunch at lunch at Mbarara, and stay in the Bohoma Rest Camp near the gates of the Bwindi National Park.
Early breakfast, at 8am report to at the park offices for briefing about gorilla trekking and at 8.30am leave for gorilla trekking it usually takes 4-8 hours of hiking in the mountains in search for gorillas. It is really a fantastic experience to see the gorillas feeding and spending a full hour with the tourists. Their size is and just how gentle they are is a sight that one can never forget as they play, eat or just sit and watch you with a look of wonderment in their eyes.
Drive back to Kampala (eleven hours)