Uganda Travel News

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Volcanoes National park is with no doubt one of the best tour activities in Africa and thousands of tourists flock Uganda and Rwanda to participate in this activity. While many websites talk only about good things, there some few that can annoy.

One thing you have to prepare for is waking up early in the morning. One reason for waking up early is that you have to get an early breakfast, prepare your trekking gear before joining others for briefing at Park headquarters. Sometimes, tourists stay in the Northern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National park (Buhoma Region) and trek gorillas in the Eastern side of the forest. This means that tourists have to wake up at about five am to drive up to two hours to Ruhija. This is very common due to the fact that Buhoma region has got some of the fine lodges such as Gorilla Forest Camp, Buhoma Lodge, Mahogany springs among others yet gorilla permits for this region tend to sell up quickly. The same thing happens when you are tracking in Ruhija and you stay in Kabale. You will have to wake up early and drive for about one and half hours to reach the starting point. In the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, if you stay in Kisoro town, you will still have to drive up to two hours to reach Nkuringo or Rushaga side of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Unpredictable behaviours of given habituated gorilla family of the day. Tourists are allocated gorilla families on the day of trekking depending on their interests as well as their physical conditions. The elderly are given a chance to trek a closer family compared to those who are physically fit. Being given a family that is closer is never a guarantee that the trek will be simple. Sometimes a gorilla family can be closer and once gorillas see you, for one reason or the other can decide to start moving and hiding in difficult places that require you to trek for longer times than expected. This is not common but can happen anytime and it annoys.

In your group, you may have people who move first and people who are extremely very slow. The Uganda Wildlife Authority guide is supposed to direct the whole group to move at the pace of the slowest person in the group. This therefore means that a trek which could have taken two hours may end up taking up to four hours simply because a person was slow. The only remedy is to take porters who may carry such a person or give her a push or a pull during the trek.

They always say that the best time to trek gorillas are the drier months of June, July, August and September as well as December, January and February in order to avoid rains. In Bwindi Impenetrable national Park, this is not practical since even during the dry season, rain can decide to fall. Rain can disrupt your gorilla trek as the forest becomes more challenging and you have to trek up and down in a slippery environment making the whole experience challenging but rewarding. That’s why tourists are encouraged to have their rain jackets as well as energy giving foods.

There can be excitement once you have found your gorilla family. Everyone stretches out to get his or her own camera to capture gorilla moments and many of your group mates will end up obstructing you as well as denying you space to have good shorts. While this is not common, it may happen and can be annoying.

Its also annoying when one wants to trek gorillas with his/her children and he is told that the child is under age. For anyone to trek gorillas, he/she must be fifteen years and above. If Authorities doubt the age of someone, they might need proof to make sure that indeed you have the minimum age required. This requires providing the Authority with your birth certificate or Passport and this can be lengthy and annoying.

Booking gorilla permits directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority can be annoying as well. If you are not in Uganda with a chance of physically going to their office, you will need to write emails to the booking office which may be replied to or not, when you call their office, your call may never be picked but when you eventually pass through, you will be told to wire funds to their account but should their be any slight difference brought about by the transfer, you will need to pay it before you get your permits. While Uganda Wildlife Authority has improved on their services, it is recommended that you book your gorilla permit and tour through a local tour operator especially those under AUTO (The association of Uganda Tour Operators).

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