How difficult is gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park?
How difficult is gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park?: In this article, we talk about how difficult mountain gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park is. Mgahinga national park is a gorilla park found in Uganda. The national park is one of those found in the southwestern part of the country in Kisoro district. Mgahinga was gazetted as a national park in 1991 after the Batwa had been evicted out of the jungle. The area was gazetted to protect many wildlife species the most being mountain gorillas.
Not every zoo or national park in the world has mountain gorillas but only four national parks of East and Central Africa harbor mountain gorillas. Mgahinga national park, Virunga national park, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, and Volcanoes national park harbor mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas can only survive in areas with thick vegetation cover at elevations of 4,000mm to 2,000 mm.
Mgahinga national park is one of the areas that have thick montane, afro montane, and bamboo vegetation cover which supports the life of mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas have thick fur more than that of any other primate an adaptation that does help them to survive in areas where temperatures often drop below freezing point.
Mountain gorillas of Mgahinga national park live on the slopes of three mountain found within this park. They do live on slopes of Virunga volcanoes named Sabyinyo, Gahinga, and Muhabura. The slopes of these mountains have got thick afro montane and bamboo vegetation most of which are food to them.
When you have booked a gorilla permit which is a legal card from Uganda Wildlife Authority to allow you to visit a gorilla family, next you wait for gorilla trekking which one of the best experiences in life. Among the so many questions that come into mind include how difficult is gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park. Well, the answer you have been looking for is here below.
Mountain gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park is not difficult but it can still be difficult for a category of people. Mgahinga national park has only one mountain gorilla family so far habituated for trekking and its name is Nyakagezi. The gorilla family comprises 10 members and can be trekked by a maximum of 8 people.
Tourists that are asking about how difficult gorilla trekking is need to know that it is hard to determine because mountain gorillas don’t say in the same place. They tend to move to different areas each day and there is no guarantee that you will find them where you expect them to be.
When the mountain gorillas are so close to the starting points, gorilla trekking becomes easy because locating them takes a few hours. Mountain gorillas can still be far from the starting point and tourists find it easy to locate them assuming the trails are easy to go through.
When the mountain gorillas in Mgahinga national park have moved to higher elevations, that is when mountain gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park becomes difficult. The mountain gorillas normally move to higher areas during the dry season in the months when food is very scarce within the park. What makes gorilla trekking in Mgahinga difficult is once the mountain gorillas to the lower slopes of some of the Virunga volcanoes, the hiking trails become tiresome.
How difficult is mountain gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park is related to fitness levels. Mgahinga national park has only one mountain gorilla family to trek therefore you have no option but to trek it. Anybody that has a reasonable level of fitness will find mountain gorilla trekking not so difficult in Mgahinga national park.
Mountain gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park can be done by the young ones above 15 years and even the very old ones who are 50 years and more. The ranger guides have been taught to ask trekkers if they are okay with the speed at which he is moving or if he should slow it. A ranger guide must make sure that all trekkers keep in the group and are not so far from each other.
Where mountain gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park can become difficult is when trekking trails become difficult to go through. This is usually during the rainy season when plenty of rainfall makes them slippery and wet. Trekkers find a hard time to navigate through the slippery trails and sometimes are given sticks. Trekkers during the rainy season should expect their shoes to get dirty and their clothes wet.
Searching and finding a mountain gorilla family in Mgahinga national park takes 2 to 7 hours. Eventually, you will see any of the members of the group, and as soon as you do a ranger guide will ask you to start following the rules and regulations of the activity for your safety as well as that of the gorillas.
Around the mountain gorillas, you will feel relaxed seeing your dreams come true. You will be able to ask the ranger guide as many questions as you can but in a low voice. You will be able to capture images of mountain gorillas, record videos while learning their behaviors. You will encounter than do daily activities among which include coupling, hunting, nesting, eating, and breastfeeding among many others.
After 1 hour around the mountain gorillas, a time comes when you have to head back to the starting point. Tourists normally want to stay longer but the 1 hour rule set by UWA can’t allow them. Mountain gorillas must be left alone in peace to continue with their day to day activities.
When tourists get out of the jungle, they are always privileged to observe mountain gorillas while in their natural habitats. It’s always a dream come true watching primates that are said to be close relatives to human beings with 98% human DNA next to them. Trekkers drive back to Ntebeko Visitors Centre where they pick up their gorilla trekking certificates.
What to pack for a gorilla trek in Mgahinga national park?
To make gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park easy, you need to pack the right equipment to use while in the jungle. The list is long and some of them include waterproof hiking shoes, a pair of gaiters, long cotton stocks, a rain jacket, a sweater, long-sleeved shirts, long-sleeved shorts, a hat, a light backpack, energy-giving snacks, a drinking water bottle, a camera and a pair of binoculars among others.
best time to trek gorillas of Mgahinga national park
December to February and June to September are the best times of the year to go gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park. These months have little or no rainfall received which keeps the trekking trails dry and easier to navigate, vegetation is short and scattered with good views of wildlife, and roads connecting to the park are in good condition.
Tourists more so budget travelers can visit Mgahinga national park in the rainy season from March to May and October to November and this is the low season when lodges are cheap and tour operators offer discounts. During the low season, trekking trails are muddy and slippery, vegetation is tall with unclear views of wildlife, and roads leading to the park are in poor condition.