Uganda conserves two Gorilla populations, in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the Virunga Volcanoes. The latter site straddles the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC and the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park forms the Ugandan portion of these volcanoes.
Initial surveys of this species estimated about 450 individuals in the Virunga Volcanoes and 130 in Bwindi in 1960. Habitat loss and hunting caused numbers in the Virunga Volcanoes to plummet to 230 in the mid-1970s, but with conservation support the mountain gorilla population has gradually increased, the census, conducted in 2011 in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda, confirms a minimum population of 400 mountain gorillas, up from 302 in 2006. The total world mountain gorilla population now stands at about of 1063.
Gorilla Trekking was first established at Buhoma in 1993 as the headquarters to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, but now operates out of four trail heads, the others being Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga. Today more than 11 habituated Gorilla groups can be tracked in Bwindi, a thrilling venture regarded by most who have undertaken it to be a true once in a lifetime experience.
Guests will meet early at 8 am and have a briefing from the rangers. Guests can hire porters who will assist with carrying bags and help guests climb over logs etc on the jungle pathways. The porters are always a wonderful help on the trek. By hiring them, guests help support the local communities around the forest.
The trek can take a couple of hours or less than an hour, depending on where the gorillas are in the forest. Along the way, Guests will then spend an hour watching the gorillas feed, forage and play. This is always a memory which will last a lifetime. They are such large, powerful creatures, but are so gentle. Guests will then hike back to the starting point.