Looking for something new to do this summer? Why not visit Africa and take an expedition to the tropical rain forests of Africa that host the mountain gorillas. This wildlife experience is one of the lifetime adventures one can ever enjoy on the African continent. You will hike through the tropical rain forests and look out for the few remaining populations of the mountain gorillas.
Did you know that there are just about 1005 mountain gorillas remaining in the whole world? Their population is such small that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categorize them as endangered species! Even the remnant population is still facing a lot of hardships most especially in the Virunga National park in Eastern Congo where rebel groups normally takeover some of the park for their rebel activities. Fortunately the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo with aid from the South African Army and the United Nations wiped out the rebel activities from Eastern Congo in 2015 and the place is now a safe haven for mountain gorillas.
There are several parks in Africa where travelers go for mountain gorilla trekking in Africa. Here is a quick guide to where you should go for this memorable adventure;
Uganda is home to almost half of the remnant population of the mountain gorillas in the world. The government of Uganda in the early 1990s gazetted two wonderful protected areas as national parks to provide a gorilla haven. These are;
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda – host to over 400 individual mountain gorillas. The park has been safe and open to tourism for over 20 years and tourists visit the park daily to enjoy gorilla trekking.
- Mgahinga National Park in the Virunga – Ugandan part of the broader part of the Virunga. The park is visited from Uganda though it is also easy to start your tour from Kigali, Rwanda.
Both parks are safe environments for the mountain gorillas and the population is growing in these two national parks. There are daily gorilla treks conducted in the morning and these guided expeditions are led by well knowledgeable game rangers who will not only ensure your safety but also offer knowledge about gorilla tracking in the forest.
Rwanda is the favorite destination for gorilla trekking in Africa. Also known as the land of a thousand hills, the gorilla population in rwanda’s volcano National Park is on the increase – Thanks to Dian Fossey the American Zoologist who brought the plight of the “murder of the mountain gorillas” to the whole world. It was in the Volcanoes National Park, that Dian Fossey not only lived but also established the research center that has created a better understanding of these gentle giants.
The Volcanoes National Park in the Virunga Region is the best place for short gorilla treks. The park is open every day and it has received a good number of tourists who go gorilla tracking in Africa. This is the best option for those looking for short gorilla treks given that it is close to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, a place where most safaris start from in Rwanda.
The Democratic Republic of Congo
The Virunga National Park is located in Eastern Congo. The park protects a good population of the mountain gorillas. Though in the past it has been disturbed by rebel activity in the region, the park is now open for gorilla tourism.
Organizing a Gorilla Trek Africa
You can either decide to travel independently or take a fully guided safari in either Uganda or Rwanda. There are several gorilla trekking safaris available from both international and local tour operators. However for the best experience we advise booking your tour with a local tour operator. These will help you create a perfect trip to see gorillas in different locations. In addition they know better the details on ground about the gorilla groups to hike. The tour operators will help you to book gorilla permits from the Uganda Wildlife Authority, Rwanda Development Board or the Virunga Park, arrange their transport to the gorilla parks plus making accommodation reservations in the most appropriate locations as per the availability of the gorilla passes. Whether your are interested in short gorilla tours, budget or luxury gorilla holiday, there are experienced tour consultants who will customize it for you a trip to meet your needs.