Sixty minutes of Solitude with Uganda's Mountain Gorillas
Sixty minutes of Solitude with Uganda’s Mountain Gorillas
Article by Alaina McGregor of Jandals & A Backpack
Uganda’s Bwindi Impenet rable Nat ional Park is home t o half of t he world’s remaining
endangered mount ain gorillas.
As they reside in dense jungle, it can take an often arduous trek to find them. A good base level of fitness is needed as
a return trip can take anywhere from two to eight hours.
Once reaching them, you are allowed one hour to observe these majestic creatures. The older gorillas are happy to
munch their way through foliage while calmly watching you back. Younger members swing and rustle from above and
call down cheekily. If you are lucky the dominant silverback may make an appearance as he proudly looks over his
Truly one of life’s humbling and mesmeriz ing experiences.
Laurel’s note: I completely agree with Alaina’s experience after observing the gorillas in Rwanda, I felt truly humbled
and grateful. It’s cheaper to observe mountain gorillas in Uganda – $500 at time of writing compared to $750 in Rwanda.
The other key difference is that in Rwanda you can choose whether to visit a troop that is a short, medium or long
distance away and a troop is chosen for you based on distance. In Uganda you choose the troop in advance, then hike
to it, so you won’t know in advance how far you’re hiking, it will depend on how the troop is traveling. But as Alaina said,
it’s a good idea to be reasonably fit since you don’t know how far you will be hiking, but it will very likely be uphill –
they’re not called mountain gorillas for nothing and it will be in a rainforest.
About the Author/Photographer: Alaina McGregor of Jandals & A Backpack is a nomad Kiwi who likes to share her tips
for backpacking on a budget. She counts hefting her backpack around the globe as part of her regular fitness regime and has
a passion for volunteering and collecting passport stamps.