Mountain gorillas are the largest living primates and the world's most endangered apes with a population of less than 800 individuals world over- none in zoos. They are found in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
They share 97% DNA with human beings! They are our closest living cousins after the Chimpanzee.
They have up to 25 vocalization for communication
Mountain Gorillas are shy, social and very active during day. They live in families of 8-25 members with one leading male (The Silver Back).
Gorillas have a lifespan of 50 years in the wild. They reproduce at a very slow speed with a gestation period of approximately 8.5 months and an interval of four years to the next birth.
Gorilla tracking is the major tourism activity in Uganda. The activity is done in only two National Parks namely; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The Uganda is blessed with nine habituated Gorilla families which include; Kyaguriro, Rushegura, Mishaya, Mubare, Habinyanja, Nkuringo, Nshongi, Bitukura, and Nyakagezi. There are more families under habituation. Uganda is home to over a half of the total population of these gentle giants in the whole world
To be certain of going Gorilla trekking in Uganda, it is a must you buy a permit which is issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) at USD 500 only. Only eight people are allowed to visit a group per day, this minimizes behavioral disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases.
It is recommended to book Gorilla Tracking Permits as early as possible. We advise you book at least 3 months in advance to ensure tracking on the desired dates and the tracking of simpler families.
UWA uses the funds generated from the sale of these permits for the management of the National Parks. A percentage of the funds raised from park entrance fees are also donated to local communities living adjacent to the parks to contribute to their development and improved natural resource management in the region. By following these rules and through the purchase of the permit, YOU too are contributing to the Mountain Gorillas conservation.
Uganda Gorilla Tracking Rules
1. No one with a communicable disease (e.g. flu, diarrhea is allowed to enter the park).
2. Do not stand over Gorillas, stay together in a tight group while with the Gorillas, don not surround them.
3. Do not use flashes while photographing
4. Do not smoke, drink or eat when you are near the gorillas. Eating or drinking inevitably will increase the risk of food/drink morsels/droplets falling, which could increase the risk of transmission of diseases.
5. Turn away from the gorillas if you have to sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose in the process.
6. Bury all human faeces a minimum 30cm deep and ensure that the hole is properly covered.
7. Do not litter. All litter must be carried out of the park and disposed off properly.
8. No person under 15 years is allowed to trek gorillas.
9. Do not make loud noise or move suddenly. Ask in a whisper if u must.
10. The maximum time you can spend with the gorillas is one hour. However, if the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide will finish the visit early.
11. Do not spit on vegetation or soil while in the park. Use your hankie of other garment.
12. A 7 meter (21 feet) distance should be observed at all times from the gorillas. The far back you are, the more relaxed the Gorillas will be
13. Sometimes the gorillas charge. Follow the guides example (crouch down slowly, do not look gorillas directly in the eyes and wait for the animals to pass). Do not attempt to run away because that will increase the risk.
14. Do not touch the gorillas. They are wild animals.
15. Do not look at them straight in the face rather give a sideways glance.
16. After the visit keep your voices down until you are 200 metres away from the gorillas.
Adult males range, 1.65–1.75 metres in height (5 ft 5 in–5 ft 9 in), and 140–200 kg (310–440 lb) in weight. Adult females are often half the size of a Silver back, averaging about 1.4 metres (4 ft 7 in) tall and 100 kg (220 lb).
Mountain Gorillas have a facial structure which is described as Mandibular Prognathism.
Almost all gorillas share the same blood type (B) and, like humans, have individual finger prints.
*A visitor shall be declared unfit for Gorilla Trekking due to illness, by a warden-in-charge in the park, 50% of the tracking fee will be refunded. Illness is determined at the discretion of the warden-in-charge. The cancellation policy will apply to visitors who fall sick prior to their travel to the park.
*Permits are non-refundable but visitors who track the whole day and fail to see them for whatever reason will be refunded 50% of the tracking fee.
*The gorilla permit is not a guarantee that the gorillas will be clearly viewed.
* Chances of seeing Mountain Gorillas are 98%.
*The minimum age limit for visiting the Mountain Gorillas is 16 years.
Gorilla Tracking Requirements in Uganda
• Ankle level boots are ok but make sure it is something handy.
• A warm cardigan
• Thick trousers and a long sleeved top.
• Rain Coat
• Video- filming is allowed in the parks though not outside the park
• Water proof container for cameras
• A pair of binoculars if possible.
• If you prefer wearing a hat, a baseball cap is recommend