Today 16th December 2019 is a day of great news for the Uganda Tourism fraternity as Uganda’s ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities with the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration has officially announced the population census of the mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable national park. As of December 2018 Uganda has 459 mountain gorillas in 50 groups and 13 solitary individuals in Bwindi impenetrable national park. The global population of mountain gorillas is now at 1,063 individuals in Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC. This means that Uganda is home to 51% of the global population of mountain gorillas in the 340 square transboundary protected forest.
The mountain gorilla census results were announced today by Ephraim Kamuntu the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities in an event held at the Kampala Serena Hotel that was attended by different stakeholders in the tourism sector, conservationists, ambassadors and the media. “It’s not just the biggest population of gorillas that we have. We also have about 11% of the world’s bird species, all of Africa’s big five safari animals, a huge population of chimpanzees, excellent weather, the source of the world’s longest river, a happy and fascinating people and more. Uganda continues to reaffirm itself as a leading holiday destination,” Minister Kamuntu said at the event. The Uganda’s minister of Tourism at the event mentioned that there has been an increase from 36 families of gorillas in 2011 to 50 gorilla groups in 2018 in Bwindi impenetrable national park. Please note that only 20 families are habituated and open for visitors.
Bwindi impenetrable national park located in south western Uganda is well known for the famous mountain gorilla trekking and this prime destination welcomes tourists to Uganda every year as they seek do the exciting gorilla trek. Bwindi impenetrable national was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 because of its rich diversity. Aside from the mountain gorillas the park is home to about 350 species of birds and the forest is home to 23 Albertine rift endemics 14 of which are recorded nowhere else in Uganda. The park also offers nature walks with various trails within the forest, community walks and cultural experiences activities can be arranged as well in addition to the gorilla trek. Mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda is also done at Mgahinga gorilla national park.
To trek mountain gorillas in Uganda, you need a gorilla permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). Kagera safaris arranges gorilla trekking tours to Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. In Bwindi impenetrable national park, trekking happens in different locations or trail heads that is Ruhija, Buhoma, Rushaga and Nkuringo. Nyakagezi gorilla group is located in Mgahinga gorilla national park. The location where you trek is mainly determined by the choice of lodge, availability of gorilla permits and date of travel. The demand for gorilla permits is high during the peak season so if you plan to travel during that time we advise that you book way ahead so as to secure the gorilla permit.
Conservation of gorillas benefits everyone on the tourism chain in Uganda. The communities living near the park gets 20% of park entrance fees. This is significant growth for gorilla tourism in Uganda and East Africa as a whole.