Where to find Mountain Gorillas
There are approximately 900 mountain gorillas remaining on earth. Unlike other gorilla species, mountain gorillas cannot live in captivity. They only survive in their natural habitat, afro-montane forests only found in Uganda, Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. These are located in the Virunga mountains (striding across the three countries) and Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The Virungas contain Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National Park in DRC. Bwindi Impenetrable NP has about 60% of the earth’s mountain gorillas.
Mountain gorillas live in families similar to humans, with a dominant silverback male. Humans can access these endagered giants after they have gone through a program called habituation which takes at least 2 years. About 28 gorilla families have been habituated for research and tourism. Tourists can visit the gorillas through an activity called gorilla tracking or trekking. It is called gorilla tracking because you walk in the tracks of the mountain gorillas as you search for them through the forests. It is also called trekking because you trek through forested highlands to find the gorillas. Basically you follow to where the gorillas spent the previous night to find them that day.
Your would need a gorilla tracking permit to track the mountain gorillas. Each gorilla permit is USD600 in Uganda; USD1500 in Rwanda, $400 in DRC. This entitles you to 1 hour in the presence of mountain gorillas. You can however pay USD1500 for a gorillas habituation experience and get four hours with the gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi.
On each given day, a gorilla family can be visited by a maximum of 8 persons. Chances of sighting the gorillas are real hight but of course there is no 100% guarantee for wildlife in its natural home.