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Meet Uganda’s Great Silver Back Gorillas

Meet Uganda’s Great Silver Back Gorillas

  • Posted: Jan 17, 2018
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Gorilla trekking is one of the best wildlife encounters in the whole world. While on a trek through the impenetrable jungles of Africa, your eyes are first set on the dominant silver back the head of the entire gorilla family. There are two protected areas where Uganda’s mountain gorillas are protected; the tropical rain forests of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. These parks are located in southwestern Uganda. These rain forests date back to even more than 25000years and they have about 400 diverse plant species. These forests shelter approximately 400 mountain gorillas, which is almost half of the worlds surviving mountain gorillas almost half of the world’s total population of mountain gorillas with their leaders the great silver backs.

Silver backs are the mature male leaders in the groups of mountain gorillas in the forest. Their name encompassed from their silver saddles across their backs. Thesilver back being the head of the group, he is accounted for the safety of his group (troop). This troop consists of 5 to 30 gorillas. The silver back are always in charge of the troop, to make decisions on where the group forages for food, where to travel, where its to rest and where its to sleep at night.

Silver back gorillas are huge with a height of about 5.7 to 6.2feet and weight of 360pounds.According to their heads; their ears are too small for them. They have large bony crests on the tops of their skulls and backs to support their teeth and jaw muscles, and also to give their heads that conical shape. The silverbacks are the hairy species of gorillas. They have long and thick hair to helps them in insulation while at higher elevations. They have uniquely shorter legs compared to their hands. At the age of twelve, these silverbacks start developing their silver saddles; the young males that have not developed these saddles yet are called “black backs”.

The silverbacks are quite gentle and shy despite their huge size and strength. They are very social, though only with in their specific family . They are affectionate; they play and hug with each other just like the humans do. They also laugh and even throw things when angry as the humans. Otherwise, they are very peaceful animals.

They feed on vegetables, along the edges of dense forests though they can also feed on crop plants and rotting wood. They eat up to 45pounds of food in a day. The silver back is usually the only male in a troop to mate with all the females. The females choose this silverback because of its strength and size. Sometimes the silver back will allow other males to mate with one of the females in the family. The black backs (juvenile male gorillas) are no allowed to mate with females in the entire group. They are then forced o form their own families for which they become silverbacks and take the full responsibilities of their started families.

If there is any activity that you can never miss, then its gorilla trekking in Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga forest national park, come and experience the peaceful norms of the great silverback gorillas in their troops, they are the true definition of leadership.

Conclusively therefore, a silverback is the dad to the family. Trek any gorilla family and witness the fatherhood of a silverback in terms of defense and care for his family members.

Gorilla Trekking Vs Gorilla Habituation

Gorilla Trekking Vs Gorilla Habituation

  • Posted: Jul 17, 2017
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Choosing between gorilla trekking/tracking and gorilla habituation experience has become one of the confusing things for world travelers as they have failed to differentiate between the two. Mountain gorillas are the largest Apes in the world and the most remarkable species that you shouldn’t miss to see in life. There are nearly 900 mountain gorillas that are believed to be still living in the world and yet they are also the world’s critically endangered species. In the world, they are only found in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. The fact is that gorilla tracking has proven to be one of the leading adventures that reward its visitors with life changing experiences across African continent. With introduction of a new tremendous adventure in gorilla experience especially in Uganda, there is need for travelers to understand the differences between the two experiences so that visitors are able to make perfect choices based on their budget and equally allows them to achieve their long time dreams in the pearl of Africa.

Below is comparison between gorilla tracking and gorilla habituation experience.

The cost of gorilla permits:

A gorilla is a must to have on gorilla trek in Africa and comparably Uganda offers relatively affordable gorilla permits for gorilla tracking. A safari to the misty valleys of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park comes with a gorilla permits at $600 for foreign nonresidents, $500 for foreign residents and shs.250000 for East African residents specifically for visitors traveling during the peak season whereas those who intend to track gorillas during the low season the permits cost $450, $400 and shs.150000 for foreign nonresidents, foreign residents and East African residents respectively. Despite the fact that Gorilla Habituation Experience is only done in Uganda and only in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in the whole world, this experience comes at a cost of $1500 per tourists for foreign nonresidents, $1000 for foreign residents and shs.750000 for East African residents.


The magical hour:

During gorilla trekking, tourists are given only one magical hour to have a face to face interaction with mountain gorillas. For many, habituation experience is preferably the best given the fact it comes with a sum of 4 hours of magical face to face interaction with these tremendous species in the world and yet it also offers visitors a whole day trek habituating gorillas. Both hours equally offer magical experiences but habituation experience rewards with absolute wild experience as it gives more time for visitors to take photos of mountain gorillas, explore in depth the reality about daily behavior of these Apes in their natural habitat. It is also important to note that for gorilla tracking experiences, visitors are assigned to already habituated gorilla families and in Uganda there are 12 habituated gorilla families set for this unlike gorilla habituation experience which takes place in gorilla groups that are still undergoing habituation process and they are only 2 groups (Bushaho and Bikingi gorilla groups) that are set for habituation experience.

Maximum number of participants:

Usually, gorilla tracking accommodates only eight visitors per gorilla group unlike gorilla habituation experience where only four visitors are allowed which means more ultimate experiences for the visitors and they will be able to discover the daily life styles of the mountain gorillas in the wild with researchers and trackers. Visitors who choose gorilla habituation experiences enjoy fewer crowds as the gorilla groups receive fewer visitors, porters, guides, support staff which allows visitors to be focused on what brought to the wild. It is extremely the rarest experience that you must par take in life!


Gorilla habituation experience occurs only in the Rushaga (southern) sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. For gorilla tracking, it is done from Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga sectors of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest as well as in any country where mountain gorillas are protected which isn’t a case with gorilla habituation experience. In Rwanda, gorilla trekking is done from only one place and yet in Uganda, visitors explore various locations of the park which total up to 5, with four inside Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and the other is in located in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. For the case of Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors, visitors can access them even form Kigali Rwanda where they will spend nearly 3 hours to drive to southern sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

In conclusion, gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experience are strenuous adventures that only those visitors who are physically fit can par take. Visitors who intend to participate in any of these adventures must be well prepared to hike through the steep slopes and dense jungles of Africa for authentic African experiences. Remember only those above 15 years are allowed to track gorillas!

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda; Cancellation Guidelines

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda; Cancellation Guidelines

  • Posted: Aug 18, 2016
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The activity of Gorilla trekking in Uganda is carried out in the National parks of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla national park. This activity involves walking in the wilderness in search of these great apes. It is has been considered as a challenging activity and a maximum of 8 people are allowed to track the gorillas. The Mountain Gorilla booking permits are guaranteed by Uganda Wildlife Authority.
How to Secure a Gorilla permit at the booking Office
In Uganda, all the Mountain   Gorilla permit bookings are done at Uganda Wildlife Authority.  The permits   bought elsewhere   have to be   confirmed by the issuing authority which is   Uganda Wildlife Authority. These headquarters are located in Uganda’s capital city- Kampala.
Advance booking allocations
Booking in advance is allowed for a period of two years. A minimum of 30 percent is required as fast installment and the remaining balance should be paid within a period of 91 days before the tracking date.
Short time booking within a period of three months in advance
In case you are tracking on your own, you will be required to buy your permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority not more than 2 months and there is no guarantee on which dates of tracking.
Tracking Permit Limits
Tracking permits are not sold on the day you are going to track therefore; the booking will be opened for sale on the following day with no limits.
Permit refunds and cancellation Guidelines
The Authorizing body Uganda Wildlife Authority shall refund fifty (50) percent tracking fee. This may be a s a result of visitors failing to track due to illness which will be recommended by the Warden in Charge. For the case of Mgahinga Gorilla National park, since the Gorillas move, if the client fail to track the gorillas because of their movements to the neighboring country, they will receive a full refund of permits. In case you track a full day and fail to view Gorillas for one reason or another they will be refunded 75 percent of the tracking fee.

Upon cancellations, Uganda Wildlife Authority will retain the following percentages;
Between 0- 8 days to the tracking date- there will be no refund
Between 9- 45 days to tracking date there will be 75 percent refund
Between 46-90 days to the tracking date, there will be 50 percent
91 days and above to tracking date, there will be 75 percent refund.
A refund made on 30 percent deposit shall be at the value of the permit and permits must be sold be sold at face value and whoever sells at higher value will be penalized. The primary sale of permits by individuals or tour companies anywhere is illegal and all permits must be sold by Uganda Wildlife Authority only and all permits must be made directly to Uganda Wildlife Authority.
When to reschedule permits and Reservations
Rescheduling of permits are not permitted, except if it is more than 91 days to the tracking date and is within seven (7) days of the rescheduled date. A rescheduling fee of 20 percent will be attracted and a cancellation policy will apply and re-booking new date at full cost of a permit.
Payment of Gorilla permit Terms;
The majorly acceptable payment methods in Uganda;
Cash in the local currency (Uganda shillings), cash in US dollars, Cash in Great Britain Pounds and Euros is accepted. The US 100 $ bills should be 2006 and above. Traveller’s cheques are also allowed.
The time limit
Mountain Gorilla tracking is limited from 8:30 a.m to 7:00 p.m and all visitors are expected back at the campground.

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How To Track Mountain Gorillas In Bwindi National Park

How To Track Mountain Gorillas In Bwindi National Park

  • Posted: Sep 19, 2013
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The Gorilla trekking experience is the highlight of your safari on your Ugandan safari and when you visit Bwindi Impenetrable National park in the south Western part of the country.  You will be required to visit the park headquarters at the Uganda Wildlife Authority as early as 7:45 from where you will be allocated a guide before heading into the Impenetrable forest for the activity. Do not forget a walk stick which will be offered to you at the head quarters thus you should take this very useful because it will help you in slippery conditions. Porters to help you with your luggage are available at the park head quarters and these are very   helpful during the rainy season.

Presently there 12 gorilla families which are habituated for   viewing and these include; Mubare Gorilla family which is the oldest habituated gorilla group in Uganda. Habinyanja Gorilla family and visitors tracking this family need about 3-8 hours.  Other gorilla families include Reshegura gorilla family, Nkuringo, Nshongi, Mishaya, Kahungye, Bweza, Busingye, Nyakagezi and Kyaguriro Gorilla family.

The Mubare group was the very first group to be habituated for tourist in 1993 and was named after the stunning of Mubare Hills in which the group was discovered. The Habinyanja group was habituated in 1997 for tracking and received the first visitors in 1999. Rushegura group was habituated in 2000 and started receiving tourists in 2002. The Bitukura group found in the Ruhija region while the Mishaya is found in the Rushaga region. The Nshongi group is currently the biggest habituated gorilla family with over 25 members

The Nkuringo Region of Bwindi Forest is   one the most physically challenging regions although it is very rewarding in the forest for the enjoyment of Gorilla tracking The accommodation facilities in Nkuringo offer a very good environment to view the Nkuringo gorilla family and this group comprises of 19 members and most people who have tracked gorillas in Bwindi say, it is a favorite to track this gorilla group.

If you are involved in the gorilla habituation group, it will take you a minimum of two years with daily visits which allow the gorilla group to tolerate your presence. It should be noted however that it is only when gorillas are happy with the presence of human beings that  visitors are allowed to share the  daily  hour of contact with them  and only a maximum of eight people are allowed to  track  each habituated gorillas  and the walk to find these gorillas may be  as short as two hours.

While tracking gorillas, the park rangers and guides will clear the way and will assist you through the forest thus you will need very good fitness to make this walk a success though the walk may be slippery. Spending time, sitting with the mountain gorillas is one of the most amazing wildlife experiences one will ever have and a dominant male silver back can weigh over 200 kilograms. You are required to come with the following during tracking;

You should come along with; A minimum of two  litres  of water,Packed lunch, Some money ,A gorilla permit and passport  which will be asked at the check in, Long parts are required to be worn by you while walking in the bush, Walking boots and hiking socks are recommended to be worn and  Layers are best as  conditions in the tropical rain forest can change from hot to wet and cold in an instant. At the end of the track, you will  have to be  given  tracking certificate.