This day was almost unreal for me as it was happening. We left our campsite early in the morning in darkness and drove up winding roads through morning mist and passed local farms until we reached the park. By mid-morning we were trekking through the forest, no trails in sight, the Gorillas must be located by rangers. It was hot and silent except for the sounds of us following behind the ranger. When we made it to the ‘Bitikura’ family of gorillas we were all in awe. We knew what we came there to see but weren't entirely prepared for this face to face meeting with these beautiful animals. For an hour we were allowed to observe them, 8 of us in the middle of this forest without bars or cages dividing us, just us and this family. It gave me goose-bumps knowing that this animal only 10 feet away could rip me in half should they choose, but they didn’t, they were curiously watching us as we were them. I feel truly lucky to have these memories and this experience of sitting with these gorillas in their home.
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In February 2013, my husband Michael and I set off on an 8-month trip around the world. Here’s one of the many highlights of our adventure…
Gorillas are an endangered species; most live in Uganda and Rwanda. Going on a gorilla trek is not easy, but the effort is well worth it. First you have to figure out how to get a permit and buy it well in advance. Then you have to get to remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (it is called Impenetrable for a reason). After meeting your guide and fellow trekers for a safety briefing, you set out to find your assigned family. It can take anywhere from a few hours to the entire day to find them. We were lucky because our family, Rushegura, had wandered near town to feast on a resident’s banana plantation (naughty gorillas). After only one hour of hiking up very steep hills and over streams, we spotted the family. Then we were allowed to observe for just one hour before heading back. It was incredible to be so close to these magnificent animals.
At one point, I was lying in the dirt asking myself, “What’s harder—childbirth or gorilla tracking?” Yet seeing this mom with her baby was worth the effort of flying halfway around the world, trekking up a mountain through dense jungle foliage where every step was either steep or uncertain or both, trying to breathe and climb at somewhere around 6000 feet when my at-home atmosphere is about a mile closer to sea level. There are easier places to track mountain gorillas, but how could I resist a place with the magical name of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest?
Discounted Uganda mountain gorilla permits for the green season
We are delighted to inform you that we are now offering the chance to go mountain gorilla tracking at a discounted rate. Anyone tracking in November 2013, April-May 2014 or November 2014, is eligible for the special rate of US$ 350 per permit, instead of the normal US$ 500 charge.
This is a great opportunity. You can grab it by contacting our dedicated sales team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mountain gorillas live mostly on the ground and make their nests there on a daily basis. The chances of seeing the gorillas on a trek are higher than say, chimpanzees due to the fact that they are tracked on the ground.
On the gorilla safari, everyone will be expected to abide by some set of rules and regulations. The most important are: Flash photography is not allowed due to the fact that this usually startles the gorilla family and may easily get the gorillas agitated. Gorillas are very endangered and the fact that they share almost 98% of human DNA, are easily susceptible to human borne diseases.
Should the gorillas approach children outside the park at the Lodge, it is advisable to have the young ones move away to a safe distance.
On the gorilla trek, we will be moving as a group and for the sake of safety, we are supposed to keep our voices as low as possible. This way, we would be able to see some of the other shy forest dwellers. Please note that there is a limit on the number of people trekking a gorilla group.
Safety guidelines and concerns on the gorilla safari are usually addressed by the briefing guide who will advise on how to respond in case of a gorilla charge. The Silver back gorilla is very protective of the family and at times, it may be possible to witness some mock charging, hollow chest thumping or grunting.