The foliage parts on a winding trail to reveal 200 kilograms of muscle, covered by a thick coat of silver and black hair, sitting amongst the thickets of a vast and unforgiving forest. You make eye contact, but there is no threat. These beasts are docile if you keep your distance.
Uganda’s most important national park
Even if Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was not home to the Mountain Gorilla, its remoteness, natural beauty and enthralling biodiversity would attract visitors. But it is those magnificent great apes that have made Bwindi Uganda’s single most important tourist destination.
Coming face to face with mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is one of the most powerful and humbling wildlife encounters possible. You can always spot trekkers who are returning from having been with the gorillas: even the strong and silent types are grinning and chattering like birds.
Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi
Classic gorilla trekking, a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife encounter
Led by experienced, specialized Uganda Wildlife Authority guides, you will be introduced to the ecology of the forest and the changing landscape as you trek to the gorillas. Your guides are in communication with the team of trackers who will have been shadowing the gorillas since daybreak. The trackers direct your guides to bring you to the gorillas.
You should be prepared to walk through a challenging terrain of steep ridges and valleys, following animal paths through tangled undergrowth for about three hours to reach this point. Although sometimes contact can be made after 45 minutes and other times six hours.
Once contact has been made, you have up to one hour in which to observe the gorilla family from a distance of 7 meters. However, you should also be prepared for relaxed mums or inquisitive young to close this gap considerably! The trackers will remain in charge of the contact, telling you what to do in order to remain safe and enjoy the experience to the full.