Gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Ngamba island
A gorilla trekking safari to Bwindi and Ngamba island takes you to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park where you meet mountain gorillas and then Ngamba island sanctuary where you meet orphan chimpanzees. Bwindi is located in the southwestern part of the country and is home to mountain gorillas that are found in four sectors of the park which are Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo, and Rushaga. Ngamba island sanctuary is located on Lake Victoria southeast of Entebbe.
Ngamba island is one of the popular islands on Lake Victoria because its where travelers can find orphaned chimpanzees. Ngamba Island is home to about 55 orphaned and rescued chimpanzees that were rescued from poachers and meat traders from across East Africa. Travelers to Ngamba island sanctuary get an opportunity to view and also feed the chimpanzees. Ngamba island sanctuary can be visited at any time of the year if you have a permit. The permits for the sanctuary are issued by a non-organization called Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi can be done in any of the four regions of the park at any time of the year. On this safari, if you happen to book in advance, you have a chance to trek from a region you want and even a gorilla family of your choice if you deal with a good tour operator. There are 19 mountain gorilla families that are open for gorilla trekking purposes and the 2 are open for habituation purposes.
To have a safari to Bwindi where you will trek mountain gorillas and Ngamba island sanctuary where you will meet mountain gorillas, you need to first look for a trusted local tour operator who will organize the whole safari for you. There are so many tour operators in the country who organize safaris but we do advise you to such for one that is licensed by Uganda Tourism Board to do safaris.
Africa adventure vacations is one of the tour companies that you tour companies you should work with if you are intending to have a gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi and also a visit to Ngamba island sanctuary. What you will do is send us an email containing the dates of the month and year you want to travel, the activities you would love to do on the safari, and the number of days you want your safari to happen.
We shall look at your email, see what you want, and calculate how much the whole safari can take you and then we come up with a total which we shall send you attached to the itinerary. When you agree with our price, you will write to us back and then we send you different banking details so that you send us part of the money for the safari.
Once we have received the money, we can use part of it to book the gorilla permits for Bwindi as well as chimpanzee permits for Ngamba island so that you be able to encounter the primates on your safari. Booking the safari should be done early in advance of 3-4 months so that we find the gorilla permits still available. After securing the permits, we book the accommodation and then transport to the park. Travelers who want to fly to Bwindi we shall book with Bar Aviation Uganda, or AeroLink Uganda.
The safari shall start from Bwindi gorilla park where you will reach on first-day head to your accommodation for relaxation as you prepare for gorilla trekking the next day. On the day of gorilla trekking, you will wake up early in the morning for morning breakfast and then get your luggage and meet your driver guide to lead you to the sector offices.
Here you will meet other guides and park wardens who will teach you about the rules and regulations of the gorilla trekking activity, group trekkers, and get armed ranger guides to lead them in the jungle. The search for the gorilla family assigned can take 2-7 hours of going through different trails, meeting different park animals and birds. The moment the mountain gorilla family is located, trekkers are given 1 hour to be around this family, watch the members do daily activities, take photos and learn about different gorilla habits.
From Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, you will visit Ngamba island sanctuary which is on Lake Victoria. To get to this island you use speed boats which take 45-50 minutes or traditional motorized canoes which take 90 minutes. On arrival at the island, you will be welcomed by the staff who will lead you to the visitor’s centre to relax as you listen to the history of the sanctuary. Later you will be taught about the rules and regulations to follow while around these primates.
Stuff at this sanctuary will take you around the jungle where you will meet the orphaned chimpanzees, watch them do daily activities, take photos, and record videos. If you reach the sanctuary when its lunchtime, you will be allowed to feed the chimpanzees. After visiting Ngamba island sanctuary, you will be transferred to your hotel, place of residence, or Entebbe international airport for your flight back home.
When to visit Bwindi and Ngamba island sanctuary?
A safari to Bwindi and Ngamba island sanctuary 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 that happen from June to September and December to February are the best to visit Bwindi gorilla park because they are characterized by little and sometimes no rainfall. This means that the roads connecting to these places are passable, the trails are dry, and the vegetation is short and scattered giving good views of the mountain gorillas. During the dry season, any mode of transport is okay to visit the park and the island because the weather is clear.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Ngamba island can be done in the rainy season of March to May and October to November and this favors the budget travelers because there are huge discounts on accommodation facilities. Travelers should however note that there is plenty of rainfall during these months which sometimes affects transportation, the roads leading to these places are impassable, boat rides to Ngamba island sanctuary delay, vegetation is tall with unclear views of the park animals and trails in these areas are muddy and slippery.
What to pack for a safari to Bwindi and Ngamba island
Travelers intending to trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi and habituate chimpanzees on Ngamba island sanctuary can pack waterproof hiking shoes, long cotton stocks, a pair of gaiters, gardening gloves, a rain jacket, a sweater, long-sleeved pants, long-sleeved shirts, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellents, facemask, sanitizer, light backpack, a camera, a pair of binoculars, energy-giving snacks and drinking water bottle.