Gorilla Double Trekking in Bwindi: Gorilla trekking by definition refers to the hiking into the tropical rainforests to see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitants. And this means that during gorilla double trekking a trekker is to carry out trekking twice. Here visitors visit gorilla families two times in their natural habitants in Bwindi Impenetrable National park a home to the mountain gorillas and it is located in the South Western part of Uganda in Kanungu District. Bwindi is a home to 11 primate species and the mountain gorillas are one of the species found in the forest. It should be remembered that this park harbors half of the world’s remaining gorillas population this makes an ideal destination for gorilla double trekking. Bwindi impenetrable is located in the south western part of Uganda in the District of Kanungu. This park is a UNESCO world Heritage due to Its rich in the biodiverse. Bwindi is also a home to over 360 bird species, 200 butterfly species, 120 mammals, 1000plant species, over 200 tree species.
During a gorilla double trekking one can consecutively trek a gorilla family twice and this could be different gorilla families in one sector, the same gorilla family or gorilla families in different sector. Meaning that if one treks a gorilla family on day 1 he or she could choose to trek the same gorilla family on day 2, trek a different gorilla family in the same sector on day 2 or trek a different gorilla family in a different sector on day 2. By example if one trekked in Buhoma region and visited the Mubare family he might choose on the second day to trek that same family or trek the Habinyanja family or choose to go to Rushaga to trek Nshongi gorilla family. Gorilla double trekking gives trekkers an opportunity to spend more time with the gorillas offering a chance to get familiar with their social structures, social behaviors and habits, physical appearances. Those who will have double trekked the same gorilla family have high chances of familiarizing with group. Basically double gorilla trekking involves trekking mountain gorillas or gorilla families for two days since it allows you t trek two gorilla groups per day. Double gorilla trekking is such an interesting activity but it Is also an expensive one since it involves buying two gorilla trekking permits.
Just like the normal gorilla trekking, even in the double gorilla trekking no one is allowed to trek any particular gorilla group without a trekking permit. In simple term this means if one is interested in double gorilla trekking must purchase him or herself two gorilla permits that will allow him to trek for two days. Remember each group in all the trekking sectors leaves for trekking very early in the morning this therefore means one can trek a particular gorilla group once per day. And it is per the rules that each gorilla group in Bwindi is trekked by a group of 8people per day. Since a normal singular gorilla trekking a permit costs 600dollars to the foreign residents, 250000shs to the East African citizens and 700dollars to the foreign non residents so it means the gorilla double trekking permits will cost 1200dollars to the foreign residents, 500000shs to the East African Citizens and 1400dollars to the foreign non residents. These double gorilla trekking permits can be acquired from the Offices of the Uganda Wildlife Authority and booking should be in advance or earlier(3months to) before the trekking day since the permits are sold out quickly. There are no limitations on the number of permits on can purchase since the Uganda Wildlife Authority allows one to purchase as many trekking permits as possible depending on the availability. And each permit allows you to trek one group per day.
This Is going to cover two days of trekking gorillas. Lets say if one has 4days double gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National park. Day 1 will be about Departing Kampala or Entebbe. During the journey you I’ll make a stop over in Kayabwe where the equator is for photography. This is the center line of the earth after you will continue with the journey and this journey will take you about eight to ten hours roughly to reach the destination which is Bwindi. And the route will be from Kampala/ Entebbe via Masaka – Mbarara- Kabale then Bwindi. On arrival you will book a place to stay depending on the area of interest.(trekking region) lets assume your going to double trek gorilla in Buhoma sector. Then you I’ll be looking at the accommodation facilities in Buhoma like Mahogany Springs Camp, Buhoma Lodge, Bwindi Volcano lodge, Silverback lodge among others. You will check in for a night. Day2. Wake up very early in the morning and have your breakfast and head to Buhoma headquarters for the briefing about the rules and regulations and what to expect. At 8am trekking starts after the briefing then you head to the jungle. Trekking lasts for 2 to 4 hours depending on where the mountain gorillas might have spent the night. This is the first day of our double trekking. Once the gorilla family(Mubare group) has been tracked then you will be allowed to spend only on hour with the gorillas after you will head to the park headquarters for the certificate and transfer to the hotel for an overnight stay. Day3 Trekking in the same region(Buhoma). You will wake up very early in the morning freshen up and have breakfast at 7am go to the park headquarters(Buhoma ) for briefing If your going to trek the same gorilla family as you trekked yesterday (Mubare family) then you will be allocated to it and be grouped into 8people per group. At exactly 8am the trek will begin and when the Mubare gorilla family is tracked you I’ll b allowed to stay with it for only one hour. If your going to trek a different gorilla group in Buhoma region lets say Rushegura then your trek will start after briefing. After an hour with the gorillas then you I’ll go back to where you had briefing from then after to your hotel for relaxation. If one is to double trek in a different sector(Ruhija). Trekking in a different sector on day2.After trekking on the first day in Buhoma the person will transfer to an accommodation facility in Ruhija including Trekker Tavern Cottages, Broadbill forest camp, Ruhija safari hotel among others and check in for a night as you wait for tomorrow to trek. Day 2 You will wake up very early in the morning and converge at Ruhija headquarters for briefing after you will be grouped into 8 people then trekking begins at 8am in the jungle once a gorilla group is found (Bitukura gorilla family) one hour will be given for you to spend with the family after you will go back to the park headquarters and then back to where you spent a night from. Day4 will b about waking up having breakfast and returning to Kampala and this is an 8 hours drive. It is always better to double trek in the same region because its always convenient you won’t have to transfer from one accommodation to another therefore its less costly, saves time as you are close to the headquarters. And also its of an advantage to double trek the same gorilla family because it offers you familiarity to that particular gorilla group as you get enough time to spend with them therefore you end up familiarizing with their social behaviors and habits.
Bwindi Impenetrable National park has gotten trails through which trekkers will use. These trails are points from which trekkers start their journey from leading them to the tourist attractions, connecting them to other points and back to where they started from. And here are some of the trails to us while on double gorilla trekking; River Munyaga trekking trail, The Waterfall trekking trails, River Ivy trail, Birding trails, Bamboo trail, Habinyanja trail, River Ruizi trail, Kashasha River trail, Buniga Forest trail, Suma waterfall trail among others.
Bwindi Impenetrable is subdivided into four gorilla trekking regions therefore before one chooses a place to stay has to first look at the area of interest with regards to trekking. And each of the trekking regions has a vast of accommodation facilities that provide good services to the visitors. They have a full stocked bar and restaurants with both local and international dishes, beds, sitting rooms, bathrooms, laundry services. All of these facilities range from first class, midrange and economy so everyone is being catered for. And these include In Buhoma sector Buhoma lodge, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Engagi lodge, Sanctuary Gorilla camp, Gorilla forest Camp, Bwindi view Banda’s. In Rushaga sector Rushaga Gorilla lodge, Ichumbi lodge, Wagtail safari, Rushaga gorilla Resort, Rushaga Gorilla Haven lodge among others. In Ruhija sector Ruhija Gorilla mist Camp, Ruhija Gorilla friends Resort and Campsite, Trekkers Tavern Cottages, Bakiga lodge among others. In Nkuringo sector Chameleon Hill lodge, Mutanda Lake Resort, Clouds mountain Gorilla lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla lodge among others.
Double gorilla trekking regions. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has four sectors where trekking is being carried out. Each trekking sector has mountain gorillas which are grouped into gorilla families and each has something different to offer and the following are the double trekking regions. Buhoma trekking region is found in the North Western part of Bwindi and is the first and the oldest sector in Bwindi. It has the oldest habituated gorilla group Mubare family which has 9 members headed by Mubare silverback, Habinyanja gorilla family with 17 members, Rushegura gorilla family with 17 members headed by Kabukojo, Katwe gorilla family with 7 members headed by silverback Katwe and Muyambi gorilla family with 7 members headed by Muyambi silverback.
Ruhija double gorilla trekking region found in the Eastern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National park and has four habituated gorilla families including Bitukura gorilla family with 13 members and headed by Ndahura, Oruzogo gorilla family has 17 members headed by Bakwate silverback, Kyaguliro gorilla family has 10 members headed by Rukara and this group is for Research, Mukiza gorilla family having 10 members and headed by silverback Mukiza.
Rushaga double gorilla trekking region is found in Southern part of Bwindi and has the biggest number of habituated gorilla families and these include; Nshongi gorilla family having 10 members, Bikingi family having 15 members, Mishaya gorilla family having 12 members and headed by Mishaya silverback, Kahungye gorilla family with 17 members and is headed by silverback Rumanzi, Busingye gorilla family with 9 members headed by Busingye silverback, Bweza gorilla family having 12 members and the head is Bweza silverback Mucunguzi gorilla family headed by Mucunguzi and has 8members, Rwigi gorilla family with 10 members headed by Rwigi silverback. This sector has one gorilla family that is still under habituation and this is the Kutu gorilla family.
Nkuringo gorilla double trekking sector is found in the southern part of Bwindi and has 3 habituates gorilla families which are; Nkuringo gorilla family having 12 members and headed by Rwamutwe, Bushaho gorilla family with 12 members and leader is Bahati, Christmas gorilla family with 9 members but 6 of them are the ones that are seen during trekking. An lastly has one group that is still under habituation and this is Posho gorilla family.
There are many activities that one can get involved apart from the gorilla double trekking. Since Bwindi Impenetrable National park has many tourist attractions like the other primate species like chimpanzees, blue monkeys, Red tailed monkeys among other, wildlife like the leopard, Civet, buffaloes among others, bird species like the Handsome francolin, Grauers Warbler, black bee eater among others . therefore there are many activities one can get involved in and these include; Boat riding or canoeing on Lake Mutanda, mountain biking or riding for women. Forest nature walks which involves in walking in the jungle of Bwindi. During the forest nature walk one will get a opportunity of viewing the beautiful sceneries, different bird species, animals of Bwindi, tree species and the colorful butterflies and primates that live in the forest. Village walks where by visitors get a chance of visiting and interacting one on one with the locals. This gives the an opportunity of knowing them more with regards to their cultures, lifestyles, dances, songs. During the village walks like the Rubuguri walk visitors can visit schools like St peters, different projects, gardens and plantations. Since visitors get closer to the locals they get a chance to encounter the Batwa people who used to live in the forest before it was gazeted as a park and resettles out side it. During the village walks visitors will get a chance to meet up with them and they will be exposed to their traditions. This I’ll be through songs, dances, poems. Other activities in Bwindi impenetrable National park are Primate tracking, birding , hiking, game drives, camping. Forest nature walks which will take you through the forest thus discovering the rich resources in the forest. This will enable you to see different attractions like the animals like forest elephants, duikers, wild pigs among others bird species like handsome francolin, black bee eater, beautiful colored butterflies, bats, rodents, primates like chimpanzees, blue monkeys so much more, tree species like African brown Mahogany, bamboo trees and the vegetation. Birdwatching can also be carried out in Bwindi impenetrable national park while hiking through the forest. And different bird species will be observed like African paradise flycatcher, African green broadbill, Ruwenzori turaco, Ruwenzori Batis, Carruthers Cisticola, Strange weaver among others. So a trip to Bwindi Impenetrable National park is an exciting and interesting thing to one won’t regret.
Since this involves trekking two times the gorilla families I would recommend one to double trek during the dry days of the park. Since the roads and pathways will be dry thus easy to access. And the park too wont be very cold the being favored. The park’s vegetation won’t be over grown giving you good views of the gorillas and easy accessibility of the park. And these days are in the months of Jan, Feb, June, July, Aug, Sept and December. Even when the park receives rainfall its very little. However one can also choose to do double gorilla trekking in the wet season but should expect to get some challenges like the impassable pathways too much coldness and the over grown shrubs. And this is in the months of March, April, May during these months the park receives short rains and in October to November the heavy or long rains are received. But double trekking in Bwindi can be visited any time all year round depending in the tourist’s interest.