How to see mountain Gorillas in the Wild?- Gorilla trekking tips and advice
How to see mountain gorillas in the wild? – Though they are endangered species, the number of Mountain Gorillas in the world has quadrupled in the past 40 years. Understanding the interdependencies between these gentle giants, the people that live near them, and if you want to see them is essential for protecting them and keeping the population rising. Here’s what you need to know to see and help Mountain Gorillas.
What are the difference between a Mountain Gorilla and a Lowland Gorilla?
You may have seen Lowland Gorillas in zoos, but unless you have been trekking at high altitude in central Africa, you have never seen a Mountain Gorilla. Mountain Gorillas live in only three countries of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The world has two separate populations of this endangered species. One lives in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. The other lives in the Virunga Mountains which straddle the three countries, in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, and in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park. They can’t survive in captivity or even, for long, at altitudes outside their preferred range of 7,200 to 14,100 feet above sea level.
Which country is best to see the Mountain Gorillas?
Due to political unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it is best to see Mountain Gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda. In Uganda, there are 19 habituated Gorilla families for tourist visits, compared to 10 in Rwanda. On average, trekking is more challenging in Uganda, particularly in Bwindi Forest on any given day they can be very near or very far from base camp in any of the parks. Trekking in Rwanda is at a higher elevation than in Uganda.
Accommodations and Gorilla permits costs are lower in Uganda, with a greater range of wilderness lodging choices. Distances and driving times are shorter in Rwanda and road conditions are better. English is everywhere in Uganda, though it is also easy to find English at tourist centres in French-speaking Rwanda. If you trek in Uganda, you have a broader range of other activities savannah and boat safaris, Chimpanzee trekking, visiting the source of the Nile to add to your trip.