Uganda a land endowed with misty forests, snow-capped mountain ranges, lake and Rivers, hills, wildlife and beautiful landscapes. The country has beautiful sceneries and dense tropical rainforests-some of the few in Africa, which are a home to roughly half of the world’s mountain gorillas. I had an experience that proves that Uganda is truly ” Gifted by nature”.
Arrival in Uganda
We arrived in Uganda and had a short stay in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. It was so beautiful hanging out, relaxing and enjoying the experience in Africa with warmly welcoming people, beautiful people and service.
Journey to the heart of South-West
After our night in Kampala, we set out early morning to southwestern Uganda with Churchill safari guides, anxious for experience in “the pearl of Africa.” The journey took us 6 hours drive, passing charming attractions en route like the royal drum makers, the Equator, and we stopped at the roadside market to enjoy Lunch, fruit and vegetables en route. The journey from Kabale to Buhoma took us 3-4 hours with a 4WD, since the terrain is hilly and roads are bumpy.
The driving time was approximately 9 hours and we arrived late afternoon and spent the night at Bwindi Tented Camp.
Gorilla tracking safari at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is magnificent Rain Forest, lying across the steep ridges of the Albertine Rift Valley. The forest is a home to 326 gorillas, roughly half of the World’s Mountain Gorillas. The altitude of the forest is above 5200 feet which means trackers need to be physically fit for tracking. Since the demand of Gorilla tracking is systematically growing, we had to book for gorilla permits in advance as well as organise our trip with the help of Churchill safaris and Travel.
Gorilla tracking experience started early morning with the guides waking us up, and preparing us for the all day adventure into the mountains. We then took a long walk at 8:30 am local time early in the morning through the forest in search of gorillas. Accompanied by a guide and porters, we were fitted out in jungle boots and rain jackets because the park is often wet. The terrain can be difficult, with steep slopes covered in dense vegetation that gives the park its name. The time taken to track the gorillas varies from as little as half an hour to as much as 8 hours, and it may occasionally last the whole day! The Tracking was quite rigorous, and rain gears, sunscreens, insect repellants and a hat given the fact that the weather is un-predictable was part of the experience.
The walk through the dense forest with our guides took us to the spot where the Gorillas were last seen, and we started following their trail through the dense forests of Bwindi. Finally we had the most exiting experience when we had an
encounter with the Gorillas. Looking at the gentle giants is surely the most exciting encounter Uganda has to offer. We were limited to one hour with the gorillas with rules of course. We were also allowed to take a few pictures of the Gorillas, an opportunity no one could miss. Parting from the Gorillas is not easy. Leaving the spectacular view was such a difficult task.
The day ended with a walk back after a long day, with scenes of other attractions like mammals including diurnal primates like the black and white colobus monkeys, buffalo and elephants, bird species endemic to the Albertine Rift and butterflies. The forest has a dense under storey of fern, shrubs, vines, and About different tree species have been recorded here, 10 of which occur no where else in Uganda. The day was full of experience and adventure.
Gorilla tracking remains the most popular activity in Uganda safaris, though its dependent on the seasonal movements of the habituated gorilla groups. The experience was worth every drop of sweat and money paid, very enjoyable and exciting. An experience hard to forget.