Two Gorilla Destinations Ranked among 5 of Africa’s best Parks
Great news for gorilla destinations in East Africa- CNN ranks two gorilla national parks among Africa's best five parks.
Recently Olivia Yasukwa and Torera Idowu of CNN travel rolled out the best 5 national parks in Africa and amongst them are two gorilla tracking destinations.
They listed Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda and Kruger National Park in South Africa as 5 of Africa’s best National Parks.
Two of the listed best five parks in Africa are most famous for mountain gorillas and receive tourists throughout the year for gorilla trekking safaris.
The top two gorilla destinations ranked are Virunga National Park in DRC and Bwindi Impenetrable National park in Uganda. These 2 parks are UNESCO sites with Virunga the oldest National Park in Africa established in 1952 and designated a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1979, created to protect the endangered Mountain Gorillas. Virunga National Park is Located in the Eastern province of DRC and can be accessed through Goma town that can be reached through Rwanda-Congo border.
Virunga National park stretches over 3,000 square miles and houses forests, savannas and active volcanoes and the Rwenzori Mountains. The park is known for being the "continent's most biologically diverse protected area" and is home to endangered species, such as the mountain gorilla and the okapi.
In the 1970s, Virunga welcomed an average of 6,500 visitors every year, but it has suffered terribly from armed conflict and poaching. The park is slowly re-establishing itself through international donations and continued tourists’ visits.
The cost of a gorilla tracking permit in Virunga National park ranges from $300 to $500 and the park is accessed by road with 4X4 vehicles.
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park located in southwestern Uganda is another Park listed among the Africa’s best 5 parks. Bwindi is home to a multitude of birds, butterflies and endangered species, including the mountain gorilla. Some 300 wild gorillas live in the park, accounting for nearly half the world's population. With a total of over 13 habituated gorilla families, Tourists have enjoyed gorilla trekking experiences over the years.
Bwindi impenetrable National Park was gazetted in 1991 and gorilla tracking started in 1993 with one family which have grown to 13 habituated families as of now. Bwindi has the most habituated gorilla families of all the gorilla parks in the Virunga ranges.
Tourists can visit the park any time throughout the year, although conditions in the park are more difficult during the rainy season.
Bwindi impenetrable National park is visited throughout the year for gorilla safari adventures. Notably the park is divided in three major regions where gorilla trekking activities take place that is Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo.
The main tourist attraction is gorilla tracking, which generates a steady stream of revenue for the Uganda Wildlife Authority a body mandated by government for the conservation of Uganda’s national parks and reserves. It's estimated the direct total income from gorilla visits in the Bwindi Park is $15 million a year. There are other attractions in Bwindi like the indigenous people of the forest- the Batwa, the various tree species, the vast bird life and a very cool scenery.
The gorilla trekking permits in Bwindi are available throughout the year but sold on first come first served basis and each gorilla permit ranges from $450 to $600 depending on your time of travel.
Bwindi impenetrable National Park and Virunga National park provide the best mountain gorilla trekking experiences in Africa.