Gorilla Trekking in Uganda: Up Close with Silverbacks

Only three countries in the world are home to mountain gorillas: Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). About 18,000 permits were given out in Uganda last year to see these gentle giants, with about 30,000 permits given in Rwanda. In total there are fewer than 900 gorillas in the wild—fewer than the white rhino (20,000), and fewer still than the Bengal tiger (2,500). They remain critically endangered due to poaching and humans moving in on their territory, and the chance to see them, to understand them, is increasingly rare.

When it comes to gorilla trekking, many wonder if they should go to Rwanda or Uganda. The experience in each country is similar: Tours are small, no more than eight people, with one guided hour with the gorillas. The volcanoes in both Uganda and Rwanda provide an amazing backdrop for the whole experience, and due to conflict in the DRC, most tourists choose one of the other two countries to see the gorillas.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda is home to the Nyakagezi gorilla family with its five silverbacks (adult males). It holds a certain allure, boasting one of the highest concentrations of silverbacks within a family in all three countries. The mountain gorillas share 98 percent of our DNA.

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