One of the most exciting attractions in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo is the trekking of the mountain gorillas, a species of primate in danger of extinction that exists in but a few tropical forests of the area of Equatorial Africa.
Mountain gorillas were studied only in recent years by scientists and especially by primatologists, including the most famous Dian Fossey (“Gorillas in the Mist”, 1988). Fossey was murdered in 1985, when she was 52 years old, after spending years sensitizing the world that it was time to protect gorillas from hunters and illegal businesses.
The national authorities of the national parks began to habituate some gorilla families so that they could get use to receiving human visitors. This activity named “Gorilla tracking” needs to be reserved with a long lead to guarantee an individual permit. Only small groups of a maximum of 8 people a day can visit a single family of gorillas. That allows to preserve the life of these primates.
Bwindi Gorilla Resort The most recent study conducted in 2006 reveals that there are around 750 mountain gorillas in the world. Half of these, or 370 individuals, are in the Impenetrable National Park of Bwindi, a small but original rainforest located in south-western Uganda. Almost 30% of this number, which corresponds to 5 families in all, has been familiarized to receive visits from tourists even though in future new families will be open to the public. The other half is in the Virunga Volcanoes Conservation area which is shared between Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. At the moment you can visit 8 families in the Volcanoes National Park on the Rwanda side. On the Congo side there are 5 familiar families, but the situation of insecurity in the area since 2006 is causing serious damage to the stocks of these poor gorillas.
How to prepare for your tracking:
The mountain gorilla safari is “trekking” inside in the rainforest. This is located at an average altitude of almost 2000 meters. The visitor must be prepared to face some rather cold nights and humid weather conditions. In these areas, rain is a frequent phenomenon throughout the year. The duration of the trekking cannot be predicted because it will depend on the movement of each family in its natural habitat. However, be prepared for a walk of almost 5 hours, sometimes on steep trails in very difficult terrain conditions where the Gorillas live.
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