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Best Time to Do Gorilla Tours in Uganda

If you’re planning a gorilla trekking trip to Uganda, timing is everything. Uganda is one of the few places in the world where you can see mountain gorillas up close in their natural habitat, and the experience is truly unforgettable. But to make the most of your trip, you need to know when the best time to go is. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the different seasons, weather patterns, and other factors that can affect your gorilla trekking experience in Uganda. So, let’s get started!

Uganda’s Climate

Uganda experiences two seasons; the dry and wet seasons. The dry season occurs from June to September and December to February, while the wet season occurs from May to April and October to November. The country is categorized by two climatic changes: tropical and warm climates, due to its moderate rainfall, with variations of dry and rainy seasons. Uganda has an average temperature ranging between 25 to 29 degrees Celsius, dropping with a minimum of 12 degrees Celsius and an annual rainfall ranging between 1000 to 2000 millimeters high.

Best Time to Do Gorilla Tours in Uganda

Although Uganda’s gorilla tours can be done all year round, the busiest season to do gorilla tours is during the dry season. During peak seasons, the country receives less rainfall, which enables visitors to access the forest trailhead to locate the gorilla family they wish to trek. The months of June to September and December to February are the best months to encounter gorilla trekking in each of the gorilla safari destinations. During peak seasons, over 80 permits are sold on a daily basis; thus, it’s advisable to book your permit in advance before your arrival time for Gorilla tours.

Visiting Gorillas in Low Season

The low season is characterized by heavy rainfall, which interrupts the gorilla trekking activity. However, the possibility of getting permits is easy, even at the last minute, compared to dry seasons. During the low season, there are no crowds, and visitors can enjoy the activity without conjunction of people in the park. The accommodation rates also become cheaper.

Therefore, March to May and September to November are the best months for budget gorilla tours. However, it’s essential to note that when it rains, it does not rain all day long; it might rain in the morning, and in the afternoon, the sun rises, and work goes on. Visitors are advised to carry the right equipment for gorilla trekking tours during the low season.

Cost of Gorilla Permits

Gorilla permits are essential for participating in gorilla trekking tours in Uganda. Uganda gorilla permits cost USD700 for Foreign non-resident, USD600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 for East African members. The gorilla habituation experience cost USD1500 for a full day. On the other hand, Rwanda gorilla permits cost USD 1500, while Congo gorilla permits cost USD400.

Many travelers prefer doing gorilla trekking in Uganda than in Rwanda because of the high costs of permits in Rwanda compared to Uganda. Gorilla permits in Uganda can be bought directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority Offices through emailing or contacting them. It’s advisable to book your gorilla permits in advance for easy reservation and arrangements because of the limited number of permits on sale on a daily basis.

Items to Carry for Gorilla Tours

It’s important to carry the right equipment when participating in gorilla trekking tours in Uganda. These include long-sleeved trousers, a waterproof day pack, rubber boot hiker, warm stockings, warm clothes, hand garden gloves, energy snacks, mineral water bottles, sunscreen, hat, rain gear, clear camera, and other essentials.

Accessibility

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are easily accessible by both car and air. It takes approximately 8 to 9 hours to drive from Kampala to the main destinations. Alternatively, you can take a domestic flight with Aero Link Airlines from Entebbe International Airport to Kihihi or Kisoro Airstrip, which takes about 1.5 hours.

Benefits of Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Gorilla trekking is a unique experience that offers visitors a chance to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. It is an opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures up close and personal, something that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the world. Additionally, gorilla trekking in Uganda provides visitors with a chance to explore the country’s beautiful landscapes, including its lush forests, rivers, and hills. It is a chance to see and experience the culture of the people who call Uganda home.

Differences between Gorilla Trekking in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo

Although gorilla trekking is an activity that is carried out in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo, there are some notable differences between the three countries. In Uganda, gorilla trekking is carried out in two national parks, namely Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. In Rwanda, gorilla trekking is carried out in Volcanoes National Park, while in Congo, it is carried out in Virunga National Park. The cost of gorilla trekking in Uganda is generally lower than that in Rwanda or Congo, and Uganda also has more habituated gorilla groups available for trekking.

Conservation Efforts in Uganda to Protect Gorillas

Best Time to Do Gorilla Tours in Uganda

Uganda has implemented several conservation measures to protect its mountain gorillas. One of the most significant conservation efforts is the habituation process, which involves slowly acclimatizing the gorillas to human presence, making them less aggressive towards humans. Additionally, Uganda has established national parks that are dedicated to the conservation of gorillas and their habitats. The government has also set up community-based conservation programs that provide local communities with an incentive to protect the gorillas and their habitats.

Tips for a Successful Gorilla Trekking Experience

To have a successful gorilla trekking experience in Uganda, it is essential to prepare adequately. Visitors should ensure they have the necessary permits and should also be physically fit as the trek can be challenging. Visitors should also bring the right gear, including sturdy hiking boots, long-sleeved shirts, and pants. Additionally, it is crucial to listen to the guides and follow the park rules and regulations to ensure a safe and successful trek.

Other Activities to Do in Uganda Besides Gorilla Trekking

While gorilla trekking is undoubtedly the top highlight of a visit to Uganda, there are plenty of other activities to do in the country. Whether you want to explore Uganda’s rich culture or experience its stunning natural landscapes, there is something for everyone.

One popular activity is a wildlife safari in Uganda’s national parks. Uganda is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras, and many more. Some of the best national parks to visit for a safari include Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Kidepo Valley National Park.

For those interested in cultural experiences, a visit to a local village is a must. Uganda is home to over 50 different ethnic groups, each with its unique traditions and customs. Visitors can learn about Ugandan culture by participating in traditional dances, tasting local cuisine, and visiting craft markets.

For adrenaline junkies, Uganda offers a variety of outdoor activities, including white-water rafting on the Nile River and bungee jumping at the Nile High Bungee. For those looking for a more relaxed experience, a boat cruise on Lake Victoria or a visit to the Ssese Islands provides a chance to unwind and enjoy the scenery.

Finally, Uganda is also an excellent destination for birdwatching. With over 1,000 species of birds, including the rare shoebill stork, Uganda is a paradise for bird enthusiasts. Popular birdwatching destinations include the Mabamba Wetland and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Overall, Uganda offers a diverse range of activities that can complement a gorilla trekking experience or serve as a standalone adventure. Whether you are interested in wildlife, culture, adventure, or relaxation, there is something for everyone in this beautiful country.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the best time to do gorilla tours in Uganda depends on your preferences and availability. However, the dry seasons of June to September and December to February are generally considered the best times. During these periods, the trails are less slippery, the weather is clear, and the chances of seeing the gorillas are higher.

Regardless of when you visit, gorilla trekking in Uganda is an experience of a lifetime. From the stunning landscapes to the cultural experiences, Uganda has a lot to offer. Remember to follow the park rules, respect the gorillas, and take the necessary precautions to have a successful and safe trekking experience.

With proper planning and a sense of adventure, you can embark on a memorable gorilla trekking tour in Uganda and make memories that will last a lifetime.

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