Gorillas are divided into two species (the Eastern and western gorillas). They are mainly two sub species that live in Uganda, Rwanda and D.R. Congo. Mountain gorillas are located in east and central Africa, only in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo – Kinshasa). They inhabit the foothills of bigger Virunga volcanoes which span across borders of these countries. This region has conditions that favor survival of gorillas and among others are the cold temperatures throughout the year, mountains, among others.
Other subspecies that live only in D.R. Congo are the Eastern low land gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega national park. These subspecies can be found in the lowland areas of Mount. Kahuzi and Mount. Biega. They are the largest on planet earth and they are third critical endangered of all three subspecies. Population census of these gorillas says that there are about 7500 individuals remaining in the world and for mountain gorillas, they are just 1065 individuals in the whole world making it one of the most endangered gorilla species.
Gorillas live in groups normally called families and each family is headed by a silverback which is the alpha male. The group size range from 7 to 50 individuals and the silverback will be in charge of mating all females in the group, leading the group, offering protection and other roles. These groups normally get misunderstandings, mainly fighting for leadership position and they end up dividing the group. There is also new born babies or death of a member and all these lead to either reduction or increase in the group size.
Gorilla trekking normally takes place in these countries but tourists are required to book their permits in advance to avoid last-minute disappointments. Each gorilla family is trekked by 8 visitors per day for only one hour. For those who would like to take a gorilla habituation experience, it's only carried out in Uganda’s Bwindi national Park. Gorilla habituation introduces you to a gorilla family for up to 4 hours of experience.
Gorilla permits can be bought from any registered and licensed company or from Uganda wildlife authority, a government body concerned with managing and protection of all national parks. In Rwanda, you can buy a gorilla permit from Rwanda Development Board. You can secure a gorilla permit at list 2 to 6 months before the real date of trekking, because they are on high demand and they are limited per day.
There are two rainy and two dry seasons in these countries, receiving alternating tropical and equatorial rainfalls. During rainy seasons, they receive heavy rainfall. The dry seasons are in December to February and May to August. The wet season therefore starts from the month of March to May and September to November.
During rainy season, national parks might be impassable and trails in the forest could be muddy. Though, you can find these gorillas nearer since they have plenty to eat due to abundance food in the forest. In the dry season, the park is easy to access and trails are dry in the forest. But you need to know that the gorillas tend to move to long distances in order to search for food.
There is high demand of gorilla permits in the dry season than in wet season, therefore the best time to visit is the dry season. Book your gorilla safari with us and create everlasting memories of your lifetime.