Taking journeys to Africa to view the wildlife there is very exciting and rewarding but going there to view the great mountain gorillas is another very amazing experience. With few of them remaining on the planet, mountain gorillas are very interesting mammals that are worth viewing while in their natural habitats. There are only three countries in Africa and the world at large where mountain gorillas can be viewed in their natural habitats, which include Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. Mountain gorillas are very endangered wild animals whose numbers had been greatly reduced by poaching while others were killed during civil wars as some of the mountain gorilla national parks had become fighting grounds. After a series of conservation programs especially in Rwanda and Uganda, the mountain gorilla population started increasing steadily and today their total population is estimated at 900, which is also expected to increase in time.
These incredible animals attract a number of tourists who travel from different parts of the world to come and go for mountain gorilla safaris in Rwanda, Uganda or the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Rwanda has a half of the mountain gorilla population in the Virunga area with a total of 10 habituated mountain gorilla families, Uganda has half of the total mountain gorillas in the world (over 450) in the mountain gorilla national parks of Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga gorilla national park with a total of 12 habituated mountain gorilla families 11 in Bwindi and 1 in Mgahinga. Democratic Republic of Congo has the least mountain gorilla population with only 6 habituated mountain gorilla families.
How Mountain Gorilla Tracking Is Like
This usually start very early in the morning as guides assemble at the national park headquarters for briefing and allocation to the mountain gorilla family they will be tracking as well as to the guides who will be leading them.
After the tourists are briefed, the guides direct them to the forests as they track the mountain gorillas. A hike through the forest gives tourists an opportunity to view other wildlife species in the forest hence providing a double experience. The hike through the forest depends on the movement of the mountain gorillas and can range from an hour to 5 hours or more.
Once the tourists get to the mountain gorillas, they are given an hour to view the gorillas as they take photographs and learn more about the life in the jungle. Once the hour elapses the tourists are guided back to the national park headquarters from where they are given certificates of participation. A one on one encounter with the mountain gorillas is usually the anticipated moment and its very rewarding and worth hiking through the thick forests. Mountain gorillas are usually on the move as they look for fresh foods and for new places for building their nests for shelter. Its therefore very likely to bump into a mountain gorilla family on the move while others can be seen relaxing or feeding on the green leaves that are in reach of their hands.
Mountain gorillas live in families of close relatives that are usually protected by the dominant silverbacks that usually protect the female and young mountain gorillas in case of any intrusion.
All the tourists interested in mountain gorilla safaris in Africa should endeavor to acquire their mountain gorilla tracking permits. Permits for Uganda are sold at $600 in the high tourist season and $400 in the low tourist season. Permits in Rwanda are sold at $750 while those for Democratic Republic of Congo are sold at $500. All the three countries offer exclusive mountain gorilla encounters that are truly remarkable and life changing.