Why is gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park 1 hour
Why is gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park 1 hour: Despite the 2 to 6 hours taken looking for mountain gorillas, trekkers are given 1 hour to be around the apes. Tourists think that the 1 hour given is not enough to be around one of the most loved animals in the world. Among the animal species people dream of meeting include mountain gorillas and it’s not only because they are endangered but because they are close relatives to human beings sharing 98% of human DNA.
1 hour or 60 minutes is the time given to tourists to be around mountain gorillas while in their natural habitats doing their day to day activities. One of the areas in the world where mountain gorilla trekking does take place is Mgahinga national park. Mgahinga park is a small protected area of 33.9sq.km in the southwestern part of Uganda. The national park is home to over 100 species of mountain gorillas that roam in afro-montane and bamboo vegetation in the park.
Even though tourists move from their home countries so many miles away from Mgahinga national park, pay for airline tickets, and sleep in the best lodges they will be given only 1 hour to be with mountain gorillas. This 1 hour rule was set by Uganda Wildlife Authority which is the government body managing and controlling all park activities.
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park takes 2 to 7 hours depending on the speed of trekkers which is determined by the nature of the trails or speed of the slowest trekkers and the location of mountain gorillas. When the mountain gorilla family is located, trekkers are given 1 hour to be around the members in their natural habitats. The one hour given is said to be enough for tourists to learn about the gorilla habits, watch the members do daily activities, and take photos.
Reasons why gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park lasts 1 hour
Mountain gorillas are endangered species of primates therefore there is a need to conserve them. When trekkers are around mountain gorillas for many hours, they will stress them while taking pictures, recording videos and they will also not allow them to do daily work as planned. Time around mountain gorillas is reduced to 1 hour to allow the apes to stay in their natural habitats freely.
Mountain gorillas are vulnerable to human diseases since they share almost 98% DNA with human beings. The time to be around members of a mountain gorilla family in Mgahinga national park is 1 hour because they want to reduce the risk of the spread of human diseases to mountain gorillas. Some of the communicable diseases that can spread to mountain gorillas include flu and colds but trekkers are further asked to keep a distance of 7 meters away from the apes.
To minimize the disturbance of mountain gorillas by human beings is another reason as to why time around mountain gorillas is limited to 1 hour. Mountain gorillas are like human beings, they wake up and have a plan for the day. They wake up early in the morning by 6 am and start to move around the park while doing daily activities they are supposed to do. Among the mountain gorilla activities include nesting, hunting, grooming, breastfeeding, eating, and many more. Being around mountain gorillas for more than 1 hour might not give them enough time to do activities as planned.
To reduce on the trampling of the vegetation. When trekkers overstep on the vegetation they might damage it yet it’s home to so many wildlife species recorded in Mgahinga national park. 1 hour is given to reduce on the rate at which the trekkers step on the vegetation that is useful to the animals at the same time the natural environment.
Mountain gorillas in Mgahinga national park have been fully habituated and are used to human presence around them but this does not mean that one must be around them for so many hours. Even though these mountain gorillas are habituated, tourists should know that they remain wild animals and scientists say that if you stay around them for so long they might see you as a threat which could be dangerous to the mountain gorillas and the trekkers.
How much does one pay to be around Mgahinga mountain gorillas for 1 hour?
Tourists who want to encounter mountain gorillas of Mgahinga national park must go with a gorilla trekking permit which is a legal document from Uganda wildlife Authority. The gorilla trekking permit is sold at a fee which is $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 citizens of East African member states.
Only 8 gorilla trekking permits are available in Mgahinga national park and the tourists who want to trek mountain gorillas in this particular park are advised to book their permits 3 to 4 months or more in advance in order to avoid being left out. A local tour operator can help with booking the gorilla permit or you can book directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority at the same price.
How can one spend more time with mountain gorillas?
Tourists can only spend 1 hour with the mountain gorillas in Mgahinga national park however if they want to spend more than that they can visit Bwindi impenetrable forest which is not so far away from Mgahinga. Bwindi is the only place in the world where tourists can spend up to 4 hours with a semi-habituated mountain gorilla family. There are two gorilla families in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and over 8 people can go for gorilla habituation where they spend up to 4 hours with the apes.