Mountain gorillas are a subspecies of eastern gorillas and the largest primates in the world. Mountain gorillas were almost extinct in the 19th century but due to the conservation efforts of primatologists such as Dian Fossey who dedicated her life to conserving and studying mountain gorillas, the conservation efforts have greatly led to an increase in gorilla population.
The remaining number of mountain gorillas lives in Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda at the tropical rainforests of the eight Virunga volcanoes and Bwindi national park in Uganda with half of the population.
African Countries with Mountain Gorillas
In Uganda, mountain gorillas can be found at Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in the south-west and Mgahinga national park in the extreme south bordering Rwanda and Congo. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is home to 12 habituated gorilla families distributed within four sectors of the park.
When planning to trek gorillas in Uganda, tourists should book permits in advance and endeavour to book accommodation in the sector where the permits have been got from. Gorilla permits in Uganda cost $600 per person.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is also the only place that offers gorilla habituation experience which involves the process of joining researchers in the process of making gorillas get used to human presence. Gorilla habituation is more fun with only 4 people allowed for habituation compared to trekking which is eight people, the process also gives an opportunity of spending 4 hours with mountain gorillas.
Mgahinga national park is home to only Nyakagezi gorilla family meaning only eight permits are available in a day, Mgahinga is also home to three of the Virunga volcanoes which can be climbed and you can as well add golden monkey trekking to complement your gorilla trekking.
Mountain gorillas live at the mountain slopes of Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, the park is situated in the northwestern part of Rwanda only 2hours drive from Kigali Rwanda. The park is home to five of the Virunga volcanoes including the Karisoke research institute that was established by the famous American primatologist Dian Fossey whose conservation efforts later on led to her death in 1986 in Rwanda.
Gorilla permits in Rwanda cost $1500 per person, tourists can also ad volcanic climbing and golden monkey trekking to their safari, volcanoes national park is only 3 hours drive from Kigali city the capital of Rwanda.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Virunga national park is home to mountain gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the park is one of the most biologically diverse places on earth and it was the first park to be established in Africa in 1925.
Virunga national park is bordered by Mount Ruwenzori and two of the world’s most active volcanoes; Mount Nyiragongo and mount Nyamuragira are also located in the park. You can also visit the Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage within the park.
What to carry for gorilla trekking
While planning to trek mountain gorillas, keep in mind they live on higher elevations that will need some hiking and can sometimes be very cold. You will need to bring good hiking boots, garden gloves, rain coats, warm clothing, drinking water, energy snacks and insect repellents among the rest.