Gorilla tracking is the major tourism activity in Uganda. The activity is done in only two National Parks, and these are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The country is blessed with nine habituated Gorilla families which include; Kyaguriro, Rushegura, Mishaya, Mubare, Habinyanja, Nkuringo, Nshongi, Bitukura, and Nyakagezi. There are more families under habituation. Uganda is home to over a half of the total population of these gentle giants in the whole world
To be certain of going gorilla tracking, it is a must you buy a permit which is issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) at USD 600 only. Only eight people are allowed to visit a group per day, this minimizes behavioral disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases.
It is recommended to book permits as early as possible. We advise you book at least 3 months in advance to ensure tracking on the desired dates and the tracking of simpler families
UWA uses the funds generated from the sale of these permits for the management of the National Parks. A percentage of the funds raised from park entrance fees are also donated to local communities living adjacent to the parks to contribute to their development and improve natural resource management in the region. By following these rules and through the purchase of the permit, YOU too are contributing to the conservation of the mountain gorilla.
RULES OF GORILLA TRACKING
1. No one with a communicable disease (e.g. flu, diarrhea is allowed to enter the park).
2. Do not stand over them, stay together in a tight group while with the gorillas, don’t surround them.
3. Do not use flashes while photographing
4. Do not smoke, drink or eat when you are near the gorillas. Eating or drinking inevitably will increase the risk of food/drink morsels/droplets falling, which could increase the risk of transmission of diseases.
5. Turn away from the gorillas if you have to sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose in the process.
6. Bury all human faces a minimum 30cm deep and ensure that the hole is properly covered.
7. Do not litter. All litter must be carried out of the park and disposed off properly.
8. No person under 15 years is allowed to track gorillas.
9. Do not make loud noise or move suddenly. Ask in a whisper if u must.
10. The maximum time you can spend with the gorillas is one hour
11. Do not spit on vegetation or soil while in the park. Use your hankie of other garment.
12. A 7 meter (21 feet) distance should be observed at all times from the gorillas. The far back you are, the more relaxed the group will be
13. Sometimes the gorillas charge. Follow the guides example (crouch down slowly, do not look the gorillas directly in the eyes and wait for the animals to pass). Do not attempt to run away because that will increase the risk.
14. Do not touch the gorillas. They are wild animals.
15. Do not look at them straight in the face rather give a sideways glance.
16. After the visit keep your voices down until you are 200 metres away from the gorillas.
Adult males range, 1.65–1.75 metres in height (5 ft 5 in–5 ft 9 in), and 140–200 kg (310–440 lb) in weight. Adult females are often half the size of a silverback, averaging about 1.4 metres (4 ft 7 in) tall and 100 kg (220 lb).
Gorillas have a facial structure which is described as Mandibular Prognathism.
Almost all gorillas share the same blood type (B) and, like humans, have individual finger prints.
*A visitor shall be declared unfit for tracking if their ill by a warden-in-charge in the park, 50% of the tracking fee will be refunded. Illness is determined at the discretion of the warden-in-charge. The cancellation policy will apply to visitors who fall sick prior to their travel to the park.
*Permits are non-refundable but visitors who track the whole day and fail to see them for whatever reason will be refunded 50% of the tracking fee.
*The gorilla permit is not a guarantee that the gorilla will be clearly viewed.
* Chances of seeing the Gorilla are 98%.
*The minimum age limit for visiting the gorillas is 16 years.
GORILLA TRACKING REQUIREMENTS
Ankle level boots are ok but make sure it is something handy.
A warm cardigan
Thick trousers and a long sleeved top.
Video- filming is allowed in the parks though not outside the park
Water proof container for cameras
A pair of binoculars if possible.
If you prefer wearing a hat, a baseball cap is recommend
Diet: Lungfishes, Catfish, Tilapia, Frogs, Reptiles, and small mammal
Habitat and feeding: Swamps, marshes, particular floating vegetation, generally muddy areas on fresh water bodies
The Shoebill is a massive bird, growing to heights of 3-1/2ft to 4-1/2ft tall.
The birds nest solitarily, laying one to three eggs in a large flat nest built amid swamp grasses or sedges, usually in remote areas. These eggs measure 80 to 90 mm high by 56 to 61 mm and weigh around 164 g. It takes 140 days of nest-attendance to get from new-laid egg to independent offspring and it takes three to four years to get from newly independent offspring to mature adult.
This species is considered to be one of the five most desirable birds in Africa by ornithologists.
Mountain gorillas are the largest living primates and the world's most endangered apes with a population of less than 800 individuals world over- none in zoos. They are found in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
They share 97% DNA with human beings! They are our closest living cousins after the Chimpanzee.
They have up to 25 vocalization for communication
Mountain Gorillas are shy, social and very active during day. They live in families of 8-25 members with one leading male (The Silver Back).
Gorillas have a lifespan of 50 years in the wild. They reproduce at a very slow speed with a gestation period of approximately 8.5 months and an interval of four years to the next birth.
Diet: Mainly herbivores eating fruits, herbs, leaves, stems, roots and shoots. Sometimes ingest small insects like ants and termites.
The Goliath Heron, is the world's largest heron. It measures 120–152 cm height, 185–230 cm wingspan and weighs 4–5 kg.
The species is very aquatic, even by heron standards, inhabiting marshes around lakes, swamps, mangrove wetlands, reefs with few cool water, and sometimes river deltas within elevations from see level to to 2,100 m.
Goliath Herons generally prefer to nest on islands or islands of vegetation coinciding with the start of the rains. The birds may abandon a nesting site if the island becomes attached to the mainland. They nest fairly low in variously sedge, reeds, bushes, trees or even on rocks or large tree stumps. The nests are large, often measuring around 1 to 1.5 m in diameter. In these nests they lay pale blue eggs, averaging 72 mm by 54 mm and weighing around 108 g. The clutch size can range from 2 to 5. Incubation lasts 24 to 30 days.
Mainly prey on fish, specializing in relatively large fish. The largest fish targeted may measure 50 cm although the heron may not be able to swallow prey up to this size. Small fish are generally ignored and the average Goliath catches around 2 or 3 fish a day. Breams, Mullet, Tilapia and carp have locally been recorded as preferred species. Frogs, prawns, small mammals, lizards, snakes, insects and even carrion are also part of the diet.
Turacos are a group of African near-passerines. The Great Blue Turaco is the largest turaco and also the largest species in the diverse Cuculiformes order (which includes the cuckoos).
Generally, the Great Blue Turaco is 70–76 cm in length with a mass of 800–1,231 g. In the Bandundu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Great Blue Turaco is actively hunted for meat and feathers. The blue and yellow tail feathers are prized for making good luck talismans.
This brightly coloured medium-sized Kingfisher ranges from 20 - 23 cm, from bill tip to tail. The bird is endemic to Africa, preferring a variety of wooded habitats with some trees, especially Acacias, including around human habitation. The Woodland Kingfisher is aggressively territorial, attacking intruders including humans. It has a striking display in which the wings are spread to show the white linings.
They nest in tree holes excavated by Woodpeckers or Barbets, where they lay up to three round white eggs.