Gorilla photography safari to Bwindi
Gorilla photography safari to Bwindi: Are you interested in gorilla photography and would want to have a gorilla safari? Well. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is the best place to visit for gorilla photography safaris. The national park is found in the southwestern part of Uganda near the DR Congo border. Bwindi covers a total area of 331 sq. km which comprises tropical forest.
Bwindi is home to the highest number of mountain gorillas most of which have been habituated for travelers to encounter them and others are still going through habituation and open for habituation activities. Fully habituated mountain gorilla families in Bwindi are 19 and these live Buhoma region, Nkuringo region, Rushaga region, and Ruhija region. Semi-habituated mountain gorillas are 2 and these are found in Nkuringo and Ruhija sectors.
Encountering mountain gorillas is every traveler’s dream come true as they can’t be found anywhere in the work but Bwindi and Virunga conservation area. Travelers who afford to move from their homes and encounter mountain gorillas always carry their cameras to capture different photographs during the unforgettable lifetime experience.
Travelers that are planning to have photography safaris to Bwindi are advised to carry cameras that have no flash because those that haven’t aren’t allowed to capture pictures of mountain gorillas for different reasons. Travelers who visit the national park with cameras that have flashlights must turn them off while capturing mountain gorillas because the flashlights can make the mountain gorillas charge because to them it’s a threat. When the mountain gorillas charge, they can fight you and your safari will not be wonderful.
Apart from using cameras that have no flashlight, the other rule to follow while photographing mountain gorillas is to keep a distance of 7 meters away from mountain gorillas. This is done to enable mountain gorillas to keep doing their daily activities as you capture different photographs and maybe avoid the contraction of diseases.
Travelers visiting Bwindi gorilla park for gorilla photography should consider buying or coming with cameras that have a wide range to capture good images from a far distance. When heading to the jungle, make sure that these cameras are fully charged and you can move along with extra batteries. Travelers should also come along with waterproof bags where they can keep these cameras in case of rain. Bwindi being a tropical rain forest, it can rain at any time of the day even if it’s the dry season.
With gorilla photography in Bwindi, you don’t have to acquire a photography permit all you have to pay are the gorilla permits to enable you to be part of the gorilla trekking and encounter a mountain gorilla family. Only those that are visiting Bwindi for gorilla filming are the ones supposed to acquire filming permits from Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Tips for gorilla photography to Bwindi
Go for gorilla habituation families when going for gorilla photography in Uganda
At Africa adventure vacations, we normally advise our clients who are intending to go for photography in Bwindi to visit semi-habituated mountain gorillas by booking gorilla habituation permits. This is because the gorilla habituation permit allows travelers to be around mountain gorillas for 4 hours. During the 4 hours, travelers don’t have to rush to take pictures anyhow. They can use some hows to see the mountain gorillas do daily activities, learn about their habits. The other hour can be used to be part of the activities to make mountain gorillas get used to the human presence around them. The other hours can be entirely gorilla photography and travelers will be able to take the best shots using the best angles minus panicking.
We however don’t discourage travelers that can only afford gorilla trekking permits from photographing mountain gorillas. Travelers can still photograph mountain gorillas during gorilla trekking just that the time given is very little. Gorilla trekking comes with a permit that allows you to be around mountain gorillas for only 1 hour and we think it’s very little for you to take photographs of mountain gorillas, learn about their behaviors and watch them do daily activities.
How much does one pay to see mountain gorillas in Bwindi
To see mountain gorillas of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, you need a gorilla trekking permit or a gorilla habituation permit. These gorilla permits are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority which is a government body in charge of tourism in the country. The gorilla permits are of different prices and their time around mountain gorillas differs.
A normal gorilla trekking permit allows you to be around a fully habituated mountain gorilla family for 1 hour and comes at a fee of $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 citizens of East Africa. The gorilla habituation permit that allows you to be part of the habituation exercise for 4 hours costs $1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 foreign residents, and UGX750,000 East African citizens.
Travelers that are intending to have a gorilla photography safari to Bwindi should consider booking gorilla permits in advance of 3-4 months to avoid last-minute booking disappointments especially if coming in the dry season. A lot of travelers want to encounter gorillas in Bwindi and the permits being few, they sell out quickly.
Why mountain gorilla photography safari in Bwindi
Apart from Bwindi gorilla park, mountain gorillas can be found in Mgahinga national park, volcanoes national park, and Virunga national park. Of all these gorilla parks, mountain gorilla photography is best done in Bwindi and one of the reasons is that the park has a variety of mountain gorilla families that are over 21 and a traveler has a wide range to choose from. Another advantage Bwindi has over other national parks is that there are semi-habituated mountain gorilla families available for habituation and not seen anywhere else in the world but this park. Travelers can be with these two mountain gorilla families for 4 hours and this activity is only done in Bwindi.
When to have gorilla photography safari in Bwindi
Travelers intending to visit Bwindi gorilla park for a photography safari can come at any time of the year because the park is always open. The best time to visit the park for a photography safari is however during the dry season which occurs from June to September and December to February. These months are characterized by little or no rainfall that makes the trekking trails stay dry, the vegetation is short and thin with great views of the mountain gorillas and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Budget travelers can visit the national park for a photography safari in the rainy seasons of March to May and October to November to enjoy discounts on accommodation facilities. The rainy season is however characterized by too much rainfall which makes gorilla photography very difficult and sometimes destroys the cameras. The rain makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery which affects the speed of trekkers, the vegetation is always tall with unclear views of the park animals and the roads leading to the park are impassable.
Accommodation on a gorilla photography safari to Bwindi
There are four sectors in Bwindi where gorilla photography safaris can be done and all these sectors have a variety of accommodation facilities where travelers can stay. These accommodation facilities range from budget to mid-range to luxury options and they include Rushaga Gorilla Lodge, Four Gorillas Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Engagi Lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Heights Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Ruhija Community Rest Camp, Bakiga Lodge, and Gorilla Valley Lodge among others.