The roads that lead to the gorilla trekking destinations in Uganda and Rwanda are good but the traveling is slow than the European and American roads. The secondary roads are so bumpy and slow and most especially as you come to Uganda’s gorilla parks. You also need to get well prepared for the long car journey all day. The 4 x4 drive vehicles are also needed for these types of routes in the rainy season.
Bwindi is also home to world’s largest population of the mountain gorillas is also over 8 hours drive from Kampala or Entebbe. In case you have never visited this place, the drive is so fantastic to view the African life with in the trading centres that you pass by. In case you have got some time to spare, you can make a diversion for the safari in Lake Mburo National park or visit Queen Elizabeth National Park. The bwindi community hospital has also got a good page on the public transport ways for those that are interested in reaching Bwindi from Kampala.
If you want to fly, a return ticket from Entebbe to Bwindi is also $460 per person with Aero link Uganda. This takes 1 and half hours to fly with a small aircraft, you will also enjoy the islands on Lake Victoria, the swampy marshlands, and mist covered valleys and the trading centres. You will also pass over the islands on Lake Victoria and also view the peaks of the volcanoes nearing the distance. It’s also known that the distance from Kisoro or Kihihi is also about 30 minutes and this also depends on where you are to trek.
More so, in case you donot have the time for the long drive, the flight to Kigali and a short drive to volcanoes national park is also an easy option. The drive to this park which is also home to Rwanda’s mountain gorillas and this takes 2 hours from Kigali on the good roads. And as you come back, you will also understand well why it’s also called the land of 000 hills. Its also easy to fly to Kigali and then drive to Uganda to trek the gorillas. Both the options can take less time than driving from Kampala which is a long journey.
The items to pack for the gorilla trekking tour in Uganda or Rwanda
Since the porters are inexpensive, this also means that you are free to pack all the gorilla trekking equipment. Water, clothing without worrying about how you will be able to carry it. Below is also the allowed list for gorilla trekking.
- The walking boots or shoes and these are better since they have good grip and also support the ankles on the hilly terrain.
- The long sleeved shirt that will protect you from the tree branches
- The water proof jacket and the trousers.
- The Gaiters or the long socks to pleat the long trousers into and this will protect the legs from the scratches and keeping the insects out
- The gloves that will hold the vegetation
- The sun screen , sun glasses or the hut
- The camera equipment’s
- The walking poles
- Remember to carry enough water since hydration is so important
- Tips, these can also be at your own will for both the rangers and the porters.
- The gorilla permits and the passport
- A small bag
Note that the mornings in the park and in the mountains are usually cool and the night time can also be cold. You will also then adventure the mist and the rain as you check the mountain gorillas. It can also be somehow hot from the sun of the hiking uphill’s, this means that the layered cloths are needed and the moisture type of clothes.
About photographing the mountain gorillas
The importance of the mountain gorillas will be so important in case you like photographing the wildlife. You will also want to get the best photos of this once lifetime adventure to show the family and the friends that you left back home. In Uganda, its also hard to get good photos under the dark canopy of Bwindi forest. More so , in case you are lucky, you might also come across your gorilla family with in a clearing. In Rwanda, the vegetation is more of bamboo and the short grass which cab make good photography. You will also move so its good to be organised before you start your gorilla trek. If you hire a porter, you can also be able to make a fair bit of the kit with you.
The photographing tips for the mountain gorillas
- If you are taking the photos using a standard point and shoot camera, you will also need to make sure that the camera is fully and well charged.
- Remember to always take extra card
- Take fat film (400 -1600 ASA) in the case you have a film camera.
- Remember that the flash photography is not allowed when taking photos of the mountain gorilla. You also have to make sure that your camera is also with you so that you know how to incapacitate the automatic flash and the automatic focus light functions.
- You can have more than one camera since it’s also a bit had to change lenses while the gorillas are moving around.
- Take a zoom lens, wide angle lens and the fixed focal length lens.
- There are also the DVD recorders that are allowed, so it’s easy to shoot a video of the mountain gorillas, since you will also close to them and thee are low mover.
- The photographs of the mountain gorillas with in the low light of the forest and can also appear under exposed. The experienced photographers will also recommend shooting at ISO 1250 or higher in the forest.
- The professional film maker also need permission and need to buy filming permits in advance from UWA in Uganda or RDB in Rwanda.
- Also keep the camera or the phone with in a water proof bag since it can also rain anytime.
Are the mountain gorilla endangered species.
These mountain gorillas are classified as critically endangered on the IUCN red list of endangered species. in the current day, the mountain gorillas are also threatened not only due to the high demand for the meat, but also their infants as well as the high demand for the forest in which they live. For the poor communities that live around the gorilla habitants, it’s the forest that provides them with many of their basic human need and the political instability is another factor that affects the Congolese population of the mountain gorillas in the DRC region of the Virunga volcanoes.
The gorilla conservation is also the first conservation option in Rwanda and Uganda. The Gorilla tourism also helped in bringing the population of the mountain gorillas back from extinction but also threats to their survival that are very real. The highest threat to the gorilla come from human, the illegal logging of the rain forest, the encroachment of the land for farming, poaching as well as the risk of transmitting the diseases by the humans. More so, political instability I also a factor that also affects the Congolese population of the mountain gorilla in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the region of Virunga volcanoes.
The conservation also includes going out into the forest, on foot or day after day as you try to get the poachers, killing the poacher’s dogs which also spread rabies in the park and also removing their traps. It’s also known that the gorilla population in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC has also increased from the low census record of 245 in 198 to a total of 881 gorillas in 3013.
The rangers also have proceeded to protect these primates and poaching of these primates is also very rare these days and the poachers will become caught as they kill the animals.
Rwanda has also got the annual Kwita zina gorilla naming ceremony that is so interesting for the visitors that come to Volcanoes National park. It’s also celebration of Rwanda’s progress in gorilla conservation and the main challenges these apes face unceasingly.’
More so, if you trek to view the mountain gorillas, you may be interested in knowing that each of the gorilla permit fees also goes to the communities that live around the national park. The benefits of this also include; the local communities that receive a physical benefit from tourism in remote parts of the country where there are little employment opportunities. This financial incentive will also encourage the local people in supporting tourism. Coming into the park is also restricted but before the national park were gazetted, the people used to enter to collect the firewood, set the snare and also hunt and burn the charcoal.
The removal of the batwa people from the gorilla park was also another good step that the authorities took in 1990s, when the gorilla population faced with the death. The batwa culture and their way of life are so unique and by visiting and supporting the batwa projects, you are also contributing to the gorilla conservation.
In the past year, many of the people from all over the world also dedicated their lives to the conservation of the mountain gorilla.in the year 1885, the American primatologist Dian Fossey was found dead in her own house with in volcanoes National park and she is also believed to have been killed by one of the poachers she fought in her protection of the gorillas. The mountain gorillas are also protected than ever, and their numbers are also increasing each year. The rangers also have put their lives in danger in order to protect these gorillas.
The conservation organisation that protects the mountain gorillas
So in case you want more information about the conservation and initiatives in and around the national parks of Uganda, Rwanda and in the DRC.
- Conservation through the public Health (CTPH)\
- The Uganda Wildlife Organization (UWA) that manages the national park and the rangers are also monitoring the movement of the gorillas.
- The gorilla Organisation that work with the communities to protect the habitants of the gorillas of Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC
- THE Dian Fosy Gorilla Fund international (DFGF)
- The article of Gorilla Doctors
- The mountain gorilla Conservation programme
- The international Gorilla Conservation programme.
The gorilla trekking tourism and the community tourism initiatives have also helped in raising the funds and creating the awareness of the dilemma of the critically endangered mountain gorillas.