Gorillas in Uganda: Amazing African Apes
In Dec 2016, I boarded a plane to Uganda with the aim of encountering Mountain Gorillas. I had already booked my Gorilla permit in advance with a local tour Company based in Kampala. I had booked a three days trip to Bwindi Impenetrable forest and on 20th December 2016, I landed at Entebbe International Airport at 11:15am on Ethiopian Airline.
Reaching there, I was welcomed by Kelly, the safari guide/ driver from the company I booked with. He briefed me and thereafter, transferred me to Kampala Serena Hotel for lunch. Being Japanese, I was given Asian meal which I liked so much – feeling at home. After a delicious meal, I asked my guide to drive me to the home of the Ndere troupe to have a relaxed evening with cultural music, dance and drama.
I enjoyed cultural music, dance and drama accompanied by the sounds from local music instruments. Later, we return to my Hotel for dinner and overnight.
At around 8:30am the next day, we started our journey to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Home of Mountain Gorillas in Uganda).
It was a long journey to the park – approximately 8hours drive. On the way we had a stopover at Agip Motel in Mbarara for lunch and then proceed to Chameleon Hill Lodge in Nkuringo sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. We reached the lodge at 5pm for relaxation as we wait for dinner and overnight.
The next day morning after breakfast, I went to the park headquarter for briefing about the dos and don’ts while with Gorillas. During briefing, we were told that a maximum of eight people visit each gorilla group and only one gorilla group (Nkuringo) is trekked in Nkuringo section.
During briefing, the rangers told us not to be so close to Gorillas for health reasons, No making noise amidst gorillas, No dumping rubbish in the park, a void flashing cameras, Clothes with shouting colors among others.
At around 8:30am, we were escorted by the rangers through the impenetrable forest while searching for the gentle giants. Oh! I was filled with happiness at my first sight to the gorillas. We wound them feeding, Gorilla mothers breast feeding. Young ones being carried by their mother and so on.
We were given only one hour to view Gorillas and take photos but one hour was worth the amount I paid! And I didn’t find much hardship since we found the group after 90 minutes walk.
After Gorilla trekking, I returned to my lodge for lunch and then we cross to Rwanda through Gatuna boarder- proceed to Kigali Airport for my flight back home and this marked the end of my gorilla safari, my next destination was Masai mara National Park in kenya and Northern Tanzania section (Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara and Olduvai Gorge).