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Uganda Gorilla Tracking Permits

To visit the groups of Mountain Gorillas you must first obtain a tracking permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority in Kampala.

Members of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators are able to purchase permits up to 2 years from the month of tracking. African Finfoot Safaris helps many of her visitors to obtain permits for either the Nkuringo, Bushasho, Nshongi, MIshaya, Bweza Kahungye or Busingye groups on the south side of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Gorilla groups on the Buhoma sector of Bwindi where availability exists. Contact us should you require this service.

Each Gorilla Permit costs USD 600.00 and we charge USD 30- facilitation fee per tracking permit. We cannot make tentative bookings for tracking permits with Uganda Wildlife Authority. All bookings we make with Uganda Wildlife Authority we must support with payment in cash at the time of making the reservation with them.

Note;-

  • Rwanda gorilla trekking permit is USD 1, 500
  • Democratic Republic of Congo gorilla trekking is USD 450

Gorilla tracking fees in Bwindi and Mgahinga National park

Foreign non residents

Foreign Residents

East African residents

USD 600 Till 30th June 2020

USD 500 Till 30th June 2020

 

USD 700 starting from 01st July 2020 onwards

USD 600 – starting on 01st July 2020

UDX 250,000

Gorilla habituation experience only in Bwindi

USD 1500

USD 1000

UGX 750, 000

 

 

 

  • No persons under 15 years of age may trek Gorillas
  • Gorilla tracking begins at 08.30. Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to this for registration.
  • Rates do include park fee, guide fee a certificate of trekking and community levy.

Social Structure

The mountain gorilla is highly social and lives in relatively stable, cohesive groups held together by long-term bonds between adult males and females. Relationships among females are relatively weak. These groups are no territorial; the silverback generally defends his group rather than his territory. In the Virunga mountain gorillas, the average length of tenure for a dominant silverback is 4.7 years.

61% of groups are composed of one adult male and a number of females and 36% contain more than one adult male. The remaining gorillas are either lone males or exclusively male groups, usually made up of one mature male and a few younger males. Group sizes vary from five to thirty, with an average of ten individuals. A typical group contains: one dominant silverback, who is the group’s undisputed leader; another subordinate silverback (usually a younger brother, half-brother, or even an adult son of the dominant silverback); one or two black backs, who act as sentries; three to four sexually mature females, who are ordinarily bonded to the dominant silverback for life; and from three to six juveniles and infants.

Most males, and about 60% of females, leave their natal group. Males leave when they are about 11 years old, and often the separation process is slow: they spend more and more time on the edge of the group until they leave altogether. They may travel alone or with an all-male group for 2–5 years before they can attract females to join them and form a new group. Females typically emigrate when they are about 8 years old, either transferring directly to an established group or beginning a new one with a lone male. Females often transfer to a new group several times before they settle down with a certain silverback male.

The dominant silverback generally determines the movements of the group, leading it to appropriate feeding sites throughout the year. He also mediates conflicts within the group and protects it from external threats. When the group is attacked by humans, leopards, or other gorillas, the silverback will protect them even at the cost of his own life. He is the centre of attention during rest sessions, and young gorillas frequently stay close to him and include him in their games. If a mother dies or leaves the group, the silverback is usually the one who looks after her abandoned offspring, even allowing them to sleep in his nest. Experienced silverbacks are capable of removing poachers’ snares from the hands or feet of their group members.

When the silverback dies or is killed by disease, accident, or poachers, the family group may be disrupted. Unless there is an accepted male descendant capable of taking over his position, the group will either split up or adopt an unrelated male. When a new silverback joins the family group, he may kill all of the infants of the dead silverback. Infanticide has not been observed in stable groups.

Analysis of mountain gorilla genomes by whole genome sequencing indicates that a recent decline in their population size has led to extensive inbreeding. As an apparent result, individuals are typically homozygous for 34% of their genome sequence. Furthermore, homozygosity and the expression of deleterious recessive mutations as consequences of inbreeding have likely resulted in the purging of severely deleterious mutations from the population.

Aggression

Although strong and powerful, the mountain gorillas are generally gentle and very shy. Severe aggression is rare in stable groups, but when two mountain gorilla groups meet, the two silverbacks can sometimes engage in a fight to the death, using their canines to cause deep, gaping injuries. For this reason, conflicts are most often resolved by displays and other threat behaviours that are intended to intimidate without becoming physical.

The ritualized charge display is unique to gorillas. The entire sequence has nine steps: (1) progressively quickening hooting, (2) symbolic feeding, (3) rising bipedal, (4) throwing vegetation, (5) chest-beating with cupped hands, (6) one leg kick, (7) sideways running four-legged, (8) slapping and tearing vegetation, and (9) thumping the ground with palms. Jill Donisthorpe stated that a male charged at her twice. In both cases the gorilla turned away, when she stood her ground.

Affiliation

The midday rest period is an important time for establishing and reinforcing relationships within the group. Mutual grooming reinforces social bonds, and helps keep hair free from dirt and parasites. It is not as common among gorillas as in other primates, although females groom their offspring regularly. Young gorillas play often and are more arboreal than the large adults. Playing helps them to learn how to communicate and behave within the group. Activities include wrestling, chasing, and somersaults. The silverback and his females tolerate and even participate if encouraged.

Vocalization

Twenty-five distinct vocalizations are recognized, many of which are used primarily for group communication within dense vegetation. Sounds classified as grunts and barks are heard most frequently while travelling, and indicate the whereabouts of individual group members. They may also be used during social interactions when discipline is required. Screams and roars signal alarm or warning, and are produced most often by silverbacks. Deep, rumbling belches suggest contentment and are heard frequently during feeding and resting periods. They are the most common form of intergroup communication.

Fears

For reasons unknown, mountain gorillas that have been studied appear to be naturally afraid of certain reptiles. Infants, whose natural behaviour is to chase anything that moves, will go out of their way to avoid chameleons and caterpillars. They are also afraid of water and will cross streams only if they can do so without getting wet, such as by crossing over fallen logs. Dian Fossey observed and noted the mountain gorilla’s obvious dislike of rain, as well.

Best Time to go Gorilla Trekking

Uganda’s raised topography means a cooler climate than its equatorial setting suggests but if you’re planning a gorilla trek on your honeymoon, it’s important to know when to go to Uganda for the easiest trekking conditions. Although it’s regarded as a year-round activity, the best time to visit Uganda for gorilla trekking is during the country’s two dry seasons: January and February and from June to September.

Game viewing in Uganda’s savannah parks is best at the end of the dry seasons – February and March and September/early October – when wildlife is concentrated around water sources. Bird watching is fantastic all year round but is at its peak between November and April when migrant species are present. April and May even when considered as the rainy season, its great time to visit Uganda and the Gorillas. The views are stunning and it rains mostly in the afternoon for 1 hr and not tempering with activities.

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