Combine bwindi gorilla safari and Mgahinga
Combine bwindi gorilla safari and Mgahinga: This combined gorilla safari takes you to the smallest national parks in the country which are Bwindi which covers a total area of 331 sq. km and Mgahinga which covers an area of 33.7km. Both the national parks are located in the southwestern part of the country on the borders of Rwanda and DR Congo. A combined Bwindi gorilla safari and Mgahinga is done to help you compare two national parks that are homes to mountain gorillas in the country.
Bwindi gorilla park is home to the highest population of mountain gorillas while Mgahinga is home to the lowest population of mountain gorillas. Mgahinga is home to not only mountain gorillas but also golden monkeys that are found nowhere but in the Virunga conservation area. To book a combine Bwindi gorilla safari and Mgahinga you need to get a local tour operator whom you will send an email containing the dates of the month and year you want to travel and then the different activities you would want to be part of. They will calculate for you how much it can cost and then if you are okay with the price, they will first secure permits then accommodation and transport shall follow. The main highlights of a combined Bwindi gorilla safari and Mgahinga are mountain gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga, Batwa cultural tour, and birding.
Possible activities on a combined Bwindi gorilla safari and Mgahinga
On a combined Bwindi gorilla safari and Mgahinga, travelers can decide to do single gorilla trekking in Bwindi gorilla park or double gorilla trekking which will be in Bwindi gorilla park and Mgahinga national park. Both national parks are home to mountain gorilla families that are fully habituated for trekking activity. in Bwindi you have 19 mountain gorilla families to choose to track and in Mgahinga, you have Nyakagezi gorilla family to trek.
For a traveler that wants to do double gorilla trekking on this safari must book two gorilla permits one for Mgahinga and the other for Bwindi. Gorilla trekking in these national parks is done by those that are 15 and above and they must have gorilla permits from Uganda Wildlife Authority. The trekking activity in Bwindi and Mgahinga starts with a briefing from the park wardens who teach about the rules and regulations of the gorilla trekking activity.
The park wardens are responsible for the allocation of the gorilla families, grouping, and getting armed ranger guides to lead the trek. The trekking in Bwindi and Mgahinga takes 2-7 hours which usually depends on the location of the gorilla group and the speed of the trekkers. The moment the family is spotted, trekkers will get 1 hour around these apes and this will give them a chance to learn about their habits, watch them do daily activities, take photos and learn about their habits.
Golden monkey trekking
On a Bwindi gorilla safari and Mgahinga, golden monkey trekking can only be done in Mgahinga national park which is the only place to meet these beautiful primes. To trek the golden monkeys on this safari, you must have purchased a golden monkey trekking permit that is $60 for foreign non-residents, and foreign residents while UGX40,000 is for citizens of East Africa.
The golden monkey trekking activity starts early in the morning with a briefing from the wardens who teach trekkers about the dos and don’ts of the activity. Armed ranger guides lead the trek where they head to the jungle and start searching for these primates. After locating these monkeys, trekkers are allowed to be around them for 1 hour and this does help in knowing their habits, watching them do daily activities, and taking photos.
Birding activities can be done in Bwindi at the same time Mgahinga national park. Bwindi is home to over 350 bird species while Mgahinga is home to 115 bird species. Bird lovers can best do birding in Bwindi gorilla park because it has got a variety of bird species in all the four sectors of the park. You will need to pack a birding book, a pair of binoculars, and a camera.
Birding activities do give you an opportunity to encounter birds such as hammer kop, cattle egret, marabou stork, black kite, African fish eagle, black-crowned night heron, little grebe, hadada ibis, African hobby, augur buzzard, shikra, African jacana, red-eyed dove, yellow bill, spotted eagle owl, ross turaco, pin-tailed whydah, cape robin-chat, speckled mouse bird, alpine chat, and Kivu ground thrush among others.
Community visits on a combined safari in Bwindi and Mgahinga national park can be done in all the parks. The national parks were homes to the Batwa pygmies that were evicted out by the government of Uganda to protect the mountain gorillas, different wild animals, and the forests. Community visits are led by the local people who first take you around the forest and show you how they used to survive in the jungle, kill small animals for meat, gather fruits, collect honey, and use plants to cure illness. The visit will take you to their communities where you will visit different homesteads, people do daily activities, listen to their stories of long ago, and get entertained by the traditional dancers.
Best time to visit Bwindi and Mgahinga
Bwindi and Mgahinga can be visited at any time of the year however there are months that are better than the rest. The dry months of June to September and December to February are the best to visit these parks because they are characterized by little or no rainfall that leaves the trekking trails muddy and slippery, vegetation is short and thin giving clear views of the park animals, and the roads leading to the park are in passable.
Bwindi and Mgahinga can still be visited in the rainy season of March to May and October to November to enjoy the huge discounts on accommodation facilities. These months are however characterized by too much rainfall that makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall and thick with unclear views of the gorillas and the roads leading to the park are impassable.
What to pack for a combined safari in Bwindi and Mgahinga
The packing list to combine Bwindi and Mgahinga should contain waterproof hiking shoes, long cotton stocks, a pair of gaiters, gardening gloves, long-sleeved pants, long-sleeved shirts, a rain jacket, a sweater, a light backpack, a hat, insect repellents, facemask, sunscreen, a camera, a pair of binoculars, drinking water bottle, and energy-giving snacks among others.