Why few tourists trek gorillas in Mgahinga
- March 4, 2015
- Posted by: Africa Safaris
- Category: Travel News
Mountain gorillas reside in three countries in Africa. These special gifted countries include Uganda which is the pearl of Africa, Rwanda-Country with a thousand hills and the Democratic republic of Congo (Rich country but politically unstable).
Habituated mountain gorillas are in four national parks of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Volcanoes National Park.
Much as Uganda has habituated mountain gorillas in Mgahinga National Park, very few tourists are willing to trek this grate apes in this national park. Mgahinga has one habituated gorilla family named Nyakagezi with about 7-14 members that can be tracked.
There several reasons as to why tourists do not prefer trekking gorillas in Mgahinga as explained below.
For quite sometime, Nyakagezi gorilla family has been very mobile until now. This gorilla family used to migrate to either Rwanda’s Volcanoes National park or Virunga National Park in Democratic republic of Congo and spending most of the time in these countries instead of Uganda. This therefore has scared away tourists who are never sure if these gorillas will be in Mgahinga the day they trek. The good news is that the family has been stable for two years now without changing locations as it used to do.
Being the only habituated gorilla family in Mgahinga National Park, tourists are never guaranteed and feel insecure that in an event that they fail to see or find it, there is no alternative family that they can turn too. In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where over twelve habituated gorilla families can be found, when one fails to find one gorilla family, they can try out another gorilla family so that clients/tourists get to see these great apes. This therefore acts as a hindrance to gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park.
Gorilla permits for Nyakagezi family are booked in advance. Who ever wishes to trek gorillas in Mgahinga must have to pay for his or her gorilla permit on ground. This is challenging in that, you will never have any guarantee and the fact that before you buy your ticket, book accommodation and make all your travel arrangements, you need assurance that your gorilla permit has been booked. The reason why Uganda Wildlife Authority is not accepting advance payment to Nyakagezi gorilla family is that this family can decide to move to Rwanda or Congo so they do not want to commit themselves on this.
Mgahinga National Park faces steep competition from the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable national park. That is Nkuringo and Rushaga. This side is located in Kisoro district same as Mgahinga National park and as such, there high chances of seeing gorillas in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National park compared to Mgahinga National park due to the reasons mentioned above and as such, one finds one finds no reason as to why he/she should risk to trek gorillas there.
In conclusion, it is a fact that Mgahinga National Park have one habituated gorilla family that can be accessed and trekked by tourists, the family has been stable for the last two years and there is no doubt that you can get the same experience as you can get in Volcanoes or Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Mgahinga National park gorillas tend to get bookings most especially in high seasons of June, July, August, September when families in Bwindi and Rwanda are fully booked.