Combine gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Rwenzori hiking
Combine gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Rwenzori hiking: This safari takes you to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park one of the Gorilla parks in Uganda where you get an opportunity to encounter mountain gorillas and then climb mountain Rwenzori. Mount Rwenzori is the highest mountain in Uganda and it’s located at the country’s border with DR Congo in Kasese district. The mountain is the highest in the country with the highest peak (Mount Stanley) at an elevation of 5,109 meters above sea level.
Combine gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Rwenzori hiking
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is one of the two places in Uganda where travelers can encounter endangered mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas can be trekked in Ruhija trekking region, Rushaga, Nkuringo gorilla trekking sector, and Buhoma trekking sector where different mountain gorilla families have been habituated for trekking purposes. The national park has over 19 mountain gorilla families available for trekking at any time of the year.
For this safari to happen, you need a gorilla permit which shall be used in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, and a hiking permit for Rwenzori national park. A local tour operator can help you get all these and this should be 3-4 months in advance to avoid inconveniences. A gorilla trekking permit is bought from Uganda Wildlife Authority and a hiking permit for Rwenzori is bought a few days to hiking at the head offices of Rwenzori mountaineering services.
This safari can start from Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and end with hiking mountain Rwenzori or it can start with hiking mountain Rwenzori and then trekking mountain gorillas in Bwindi depending on the local tour operator used. Where to start from or end doesn’t matter but what matters is encountering mountain gorillas and hiking mountain Rwenzori.
In case the safari is to start from Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, you will have to drive from Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, or Kisoro where you will connect to the region where you are to trek mountain gorillas. This takes 9-10 hours which is almost a whole day and then gorilla trekking will be done the following day.
The next day will start with waking you early in the morning for breakfast and then meeting your driver guide for a transfer to the sector offices where trekkers gather. Here trekkers gather in one place and then park wardens teach them about the rules and regulations of the gorilla trekking activity, group them and allocate gorilla families trek.
Each of the groups is led by armed ranger guides who take the trekkers through the shortest trails to get to the mountain gorilla family. Searching for mountain gorillas can take 2-7 hours which normally depends on the location of the gorilla family as well as the speed of trekkers. During the search park animals are spotted and the moment the mountain gorilla family is spotted, armed ranger guides are given an opportunity to be around these apes for 1 hour and this will give them an opportunity to see them do daily activities, take photos and learn about their habits.
In case mountain gorilla trekking is finished early, you will check out of your lodge and start on your journey to mountain Rwenzori which is about 4 hours from the park. On reaching mountain Rwenzori, you will just check in your lodge for accommodation, have dinner, and an overnight stay while preparing for mountain gorilla trekking the following day.
Hiking mount Rwenzori can take 7-8 days if you are to reach the summit. On the first day you will drive to Nyakalengija trailhead ver early in the morning where you will hike up to Nyabitaba hut. On day two you will start from Nyabitaba hut and hike to John Matte hut. On day three you will start from John Matte hut to Bujuku hut. On day three you will start from Bujuku hut to Elena camp. On day four you will and hike to Mount Stanely where you will leave on day to four to the summit Margherita. On day five hike from Elena camp to Stanely plateau and Margherita plateau. Om day 6 you will process to the peak of Margherita where you will have an aerial view of lake irene and the surrounding places. The following day will be for descending to guy yeoman camp located at the shores of River Mubuku and this is where you will have dinner and overnight stay. On day 8, you will descend up to Nyakalengijja which normally takes 5-6 hours and here you will meet your driver guide to transfer you back to Kampala or Entebbe international airport.
When to have this safari
A combined gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Rwenzori hiking can be done at any time of the year however there are months that are better than the rest and these are the dry months. The dry months occur from June September and December to February. They are characterized by little or no rainfall that makes the trekking trails in the park stay dry, the vegetation is short and thin with good views of the mountain gorillas and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Travelers can still visit Bwindi and hike Rwenzori in the rainy seasons of March to May and October to November. This season favors budget travelers because lodges are at a discount but travelers should note that in this season, the trekking trails are muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall and thin with unclear views of the animals and the roads connecting to the parks are impassable.
How much does it cost to hike Mountain Rwenzori
To hike mountain Rwenzori up to Margherita peak, you need a permit which is bought from Rwenzori head offices at a fee of $1250 for foreign non-residents, $1100 for foreign residents, and $550 East African citizens.
How much does it cost to see mountain gorillas in Bwindi?
As you combine gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Rwenzori hiking, you need a gorilla trekking permit which is got from Uganda wildlife authority. The gorilla trekking permit costs $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 for citizens of East Africa. A gorilla trekking permit should be purchased early in advance of 3-4 months to avoid last-minute disappointments especially if you are visiting the park in the dry season.