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Visiting the Mountain Gorillas in Africa

When people talk about safaris, the very first place that comes to the mind of a person is Africa. The safaris in Africa draw thousands of people from all over the world. Holidays in Africa give you the opportunity to become a part of nature. You must have surely seen documentaries about Africa safaris and there are several adventures you can ever take on the African continent.  However have you ever thought about taking a gorilla safari in Africa? Visit the gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo to make your dream come true. Many travelers look for something new to do during their holiday. Do not wonder any more about which adventure activity you can engage in during your next trip. If you are thinking of an adventure holiday that will never fade from your memories, you should consider taking a gorilla safari to Eastern Africa.

A gorilla safari can entail a trip ranging from a 1 to week+ adventures through the forests in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo looking for the mountain gorillas in their natural habitats. These trips are led by experienced trackers who have spent their entire lives living in or close to the forest. The treks are enchanting as you weave through overhanging vines, moss-covered Hagenia trees and giant Lobelias that thrive in the tropical climate tracing for the forest dwellers who colonised these thick forests. There are several places where you can go gorilla trekking and these are;

Volcanoes National Park

The Parc National des Volcans (PNV) is one of the most popular places where you can go gorilla trekking in Africa. This tropical rainforest in Northern rwanda is part of the Virunga Conservation Area and covers more than 125 kmsq. The park is home to five Virunga volcanoes: Sabyinyo (3.674 m), Gahinga (3.474 m), Bisoke (3711 m), Muhabura (4.127 m), and the Karisimbi, the highest volcano with an altitude of 4.507 m. All five volcanoes are extinct and if you are looking for the active ones, the nearby Congo has some; the Nyiragongo erupted in January 2002 and Nyamulagira in July 2002.

Virunga National Park

The Virunga National Park is abother interesting place to visit if you are looking to gorilla tracking in Africa. It would have been the best place to see the gorillas, however the political instabilities in the Eastern part of Congo have greatly disturbed gorilla tourism in Virunga National Park. Howevr of late the park is open to tourists looking to see the mountain gorillas in Congo and there are a few tour operators who offer gorilla trips to the Park.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the smallest of all the gorilla parks. It is located in South Western Uganda  on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains. The Mgahinga Gorilla National Park covers 33.7 sq.km and was established solely to protect the mountain gorillas. The park provides a secure habitat for these massive, but gentle creatures and there is one gorilla group that has been habituated for gorilla warching. The park can be reached by road through Kibale and Kisoro 510km to Kampala.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Bwindis Impenetrable Forest is true African Jungle where travelers go gorilla watching. Its dense undergrowth, vines and other vegetation make it almost impenetrable and thus a place that offers the true gorilla trekking adventure. Its mysterious and awesome. There are ten habituated gorilla groups that are available for tourists interested in watching the gorillas. Trek through the huge trees that are festooned with creepers and parasitic plants , giant thickets of bamboo as you look for the endangdered mountain gorillas. The park is also home tp several other primates that incliude Colobus Monkeys, Chimpanzees, etc. There are also several species of birds that can be seen, including various turacos and a great many birds of prey. This forest is a sanctuary for almost half the worlds population of mountain gorillas (about 420 of 880), which is the rarest race of gorilla.

Creating a Gorilla Trip

There are several tour operators offering  safaris to the gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. Most safaris can be tailor made according to your requirements and budget. You can easily combine your gorilla trip with another adventures such as sightseeing, game viewing, boat ride or canoe safari to watch water based animals in other national parks such as hippos,crocodiles, buffaloes, elephants and zebras while drifting along water.

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Wildlife Photography Safaris in Uganda

Uganda a block of East Africa hosts an incredible variety of habitats and wildlife. The conservation of these habitats into National Parks and Wildlife Reserves is the cornerstone for wildlife viewing. One of the most important geographical features of the region is the Great Rift Valley. The large depressions within the Rift Valley fed by streams have become great Lakes, around which many species of wildlife can be found.

They include several National Parks and Wildlife Reserves and concentrate on different aspects of wildlife observation.  Some Uganda safari packages focus on a particular interest or activity like bird watching, primate viewing. Some safari guidelines bases on national Parks are too often selected for quantity of animals, certainty and ease of viewing on the game drives. Some National Parks became so popular that they are overcrowded with too many minibuses and jeeps getting careless and scaring animals. Animals move around, seasons change weather varies. There is no way of knowing what each day will bring and there is no guarantee that you’ll see absolutely everything you are after, but most safaris give an amazing wildlife experience!

The long stay is an important aspect, the more time you have to go on safari the more you will see! The chosen travel style will also greatly enhance your wildlife experience; Camping safari will offer you a different experience than lodge safari a part from Katara lodge in queen which provide wildlife view verandah.  The game drives are the most common way to observe African wildlife and for most visitors the backbone of their safari. Game drives should be undertaken in a customized 4 x 4 drive vehicle with a driver-guide who has experience and knowledge of the area.

The game drives can be organized at any time of the day but you will have the best chances to encounter wildlife in the early morning and late afternoon. It is cooler and animals are then most active.  A first-time visitor will want to see plenty of game, mainly large animals. Although the major animals are important, we advise not to get too caught up with ‘Big Five’ fever, the African wilderness has so much more to offer, especially its incredible bird-life, smaller mammals, primates, reptiles, trees and other plants… If you are receptive to learn about the different aspects of nature and conservation your trip will be much more meaningful and pleasurable.