WHAT TO ADD TO YOUR UGANDA GORILLA TRACKING SAFARI
WHAT TO ADD TO YOUR UGANDA GORILLA TRACKING SAFARI
With 20 primate species that include some of the endangered and vulnerable species, Uganda is a prime primate destination. Mountain gorillas are the most sought-after primates and most who inquire about safaris to Uganda will have gorilla tracking as the highlight and at the forefront. To some, all they want is just to the gorillas either in Bwindi Impenetrable or Mgahinga Gorilla National parks. When Winston Churchill visited Uganda in 1907, a lot amazed him but he never saw the gorillas but he loved what he found. Here are some of what to add to your gorilla tracking safari.
A gorilla tracking safari will have you driving to the southwest and a lot of Uganda’s parks are concentrated on the western side of the country. Some will be less than 100km from your destination. So you can include some of these in your plan before going for gorilla tracking.
The drive from Kampala to Bwindi is a long one (about 10hrs) and most break the long drive by including Lake Mburo while on their safari. It is Uganda’s smallest savannah park famous for the numbers of zebras and impalas. The park is less on predators and the big 5 but it offers some unique activities from other savanna parks like walking safaris, horseback safaris, cycling safaris among others. So while planning for a gorilla tracking you can choose to watch wildlife at the park from a vehicle, on foot, by horse, or cycle around.
Queen Elizabeth National park
Bwindi Impenetrable National park’s headquarter- Buhoma, is just 62km south of Queen Elizabeth National Park’s Ishasha sector. The sector has gained fame because of the tree-climbing lion prides. After a gorilla tracking session, you can drive for about two hours to Ishasha and do an evening game drive or continue to the northern sector of the park. The Ishasha plains will offer chances of watching lions as they lazily hang in the shady fig trees and other wildlife like elephants, topis, buffaloes that roam the plains, while the northern part offers classic game viewing in the Kasenyi plains and also a cruise on the Kazinga Channel that has a galore of mammals, reptiles, and water birds. Chimpanzee tracking
While Kibale forest national park may be expensive in terms of driving distance and rates for chimpanzee tracking, and an additional day or two after gorilla tracking will have you walking in the depth of the 100m deep Kyambura gorge following chimpanzees or tracking the chimpanzees of Kalinzu forest.
Visit the local communities
Explore the bakiga and Batwa local communities while on a walk through the community. Get insights into the culture and history of these communities showed to you through performances of music and dance. This can be done in the evening after gorilla tracking.
Golden monkeys are endemic to Virunga volcanoes and are on the list of Uganda’s 20 primate species. Mgahinga is one of the parks in the 3 countries of Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R. Congo which host about 4000 individuals of these endangered primates.
Mgahinga has troops habituated for tracking and semi-habituated troops for those who are interested to spend more time with the golden primates by getting involved in the habituation process. Just like the gorillas one hour and 4 hours are allowed for tracking and habituation activities respectively.
Mgahinga national park sits on 3 volcanic mountains and each of these can be summited in a day (return trip) and each has its uniqueness at the top.
Mount Muhabura is the highest kissing the clouds at 4127m and it is a 12km round trip summit from Ntebeko. This volcano has a Crater Lake sitting at the top and on a day when the mist is not covering the park, you can have a clear view of Lake Edward, Bwindi Impenetrable national park, Rwenzori mountains, and the Virunga Volcanoes. Sabinyo is the second in height standing at 3669m and hiking this is breathtaking and not for the weak-hearted as it follows a steep ridge up to the peak. While at the peak, you can be in the 3 countries of Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R. Congo that share the mountain.
Gahinga on the other hand is the shortest at 3474m and a swamp fills the crater at the peak of the mountain. Most people who read about these volcanoes, like to attempt this because of the height and the chances that if lucky they can come across golden monkeys.
So you can choose to ascend through the contrasting altitudinal vegetation of any of the three extinct volcanoes here.
Lake Bunyonyi, a rising waterfront chill-out venue in southwestern Uganda. The lake is in a flooded valley that separates the districts of Kabale and Kisoro.
Most visitors take advantage of the fact that the lake is near the gorilla tracking trailheads like Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo of Bwindi impenetrable national park and just a turn and 8km drive from Kabale Kisoro road for those visiting Mgahinga gorilla national park. After gorilla tracking, which is a bit strenuous, we at the time decide to have our visitors rested here and also prepare for long drives back to Kampala. There are dozens of lodges that surround the lake and some are on some of the 29 islands that are enclosed by the lake.
Lake Bunyonyi is a place for all kinds of travelers, those who are active and those who want to just relax. There is a lot to engage in and keep occupied for a day or more.
You can now do more in less time after knowing where and what to have as an add-on to your gorilla tracking safari.