Mountain Gorilla Tracking

It wasn’t until January 1970, when National Geographic Magazine published an article about Dian Fossey and her work in Rwanda that the Hollywood “King Kong” myth of an aggressive, savage gorilla was transformed.  Fossey defined gorillas as being “dignified, highly social, gentle giants, with individual personalities, and strong family relationships.”  Photographs in the article showed the gorilla “Peanuts” touching Fossey’s hand and depicted the first recorded peaceful contact between a human being and a wild gorilla.

Fossey’s work also showed that mountain gorillas could be habituated to be around humans.  In the decades to follow, Uganda and Rwanda, two of the three countries where mountain gorillas call home, began a habituation program to promote the tourism of mountain gorillas.

Today 7 gorilla families are habituated for tourist trekking in Uganda.  A total of 8 permits are available for each group, allowing 56 daily permits in Uganda.  In order to minimize the spread of disease and give gorillas ample time to themselves, tourists are allowed 1 hour per day with the gorillas.  The per person cost of a permit is $500.  Visitors are encouraged to spend two days with the gorillas.

Uganda

Mubare group (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Buhoma Side): (8 members)   1 Silverback; 3 Adult females; 1 Sub adult; 2 Juveniles; 2 Infants.

Habinyanja group (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Buhoma Side): (23 members) 1 Silverback; 3 Black backs; 7 Adult females; 1 Sub adult; 5 Juveniles; 6 Infants.

Rushegura (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Buhoma Side): (15 members) 1 Silverback; 6 Adult females; 4 Juveniles; 4 Infants.

Bitukura (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Buhoma Side): (13 members) 4 Silverbacks; 2 Black Backs; 3 Adult females; 2 Juveniles; 2 Infants.

Oruzogo (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Buhoma Side): (23 members) 2 Silverbacks; 7 infants; number of black backs and females forthcoming.

Nkuringo (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Nkuringo Side): (19 members) 2 Silverbacks; 4 Black backs; 4 Adult females; 4 Sub adult; 1 Juve-nile; 4 Infants.

Nshongi (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Nkuringo Side): (24 members) 2 Silverbacks; 7 Black backs; 5 Adult females; 5 Juveniles; 5 Infants.

Mishaya (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Nkuringo Side): 10 members) 1 Silverback; 2 Adult females; 2 Juveniles; 5 Infants.

Featured Guide: Christian Magori Boya

Christian Magori Boya, also known as “Chris”, was born on 15 November 1977 in the Mara Region of Northwest Tanzania. He is of the “Zanaki” tribe and proud of his culture and country. He is married and has two children, a boy and a girl.

He attended Arusha Primary School from 1984 to 1991, then Edmund Rice Secondary School from 1992 to 1994. He then moved to a boarding school in the Kilimanjaro region from 1994 to 1997 and finished his high school education at the same institution.

After finishing his secondary education, Chris attended Bandari College for two years taking commercial courses in Clearing and Forwarding, Salesmanship and Entrepreneurship. He then joined Unilever in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania as a salesman in 2000. It was while working as a sales person that his interests in tourism were revitalized – a passion he has had since childhood. So in 2002 he decided to join Mweka College of Wildlife Management in Moshi where he attained an Advanced Certificate in 2004.

In April 2007 he undertook an additional six-week special guiding course including birding in the Northern Circuit of Tanzania. He managed to score amongst the top ten guides out of 40 on his final examination.

He has vast experience and knowledge of wildlife and birds. He has a special interest in flora and fauna as well. Chris is fluent in English, Swahili, Zanaki (his tribal language) and basic Maa language. Currently he is taking a course in Spanish to help diversify his linguistic skills.  He has been working as a Professional Safari Guide since 2004. Chris’s hobbies are traveling, bird watching and photography.

Featured Lodge: Mihingo Lodge

Mihingo Lodge is a peaceful and luxurious retreat adjacent to Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda.  Situated on privately owned land, it features ten permanent tents, which are built on wooden platforms and stilts and covered by a thatched roof. Each spacious and comfortable tent includes en-suite bathrooms with hot and cold running water, showers, and flush toilets.   Enjoy the tranquil environment surrounding your tent in complete seclusion.  Placed in varied settings, some rooms are situated in a forest setting, some with a lake view, and some on rocky outcrops. All rooms are nested into a private spot and have a great view.

The main dining area is a large thatched structure built from rocks, the wood of dead olive trees found on the land, and native grasses.  Below the dining area, an infinity swimming pool stretches out from the rocks and seems to disappear into the vast landscape beyond.

Apart from lounging by the pool, watching the nearby wildlife or having a full body massage, guests can enjoy many activities including: boat trips on Lake Mburo, savanna walks either near Lake Mburo or around Mihingo Lodge, game drives, and horseback riding.

In appreciation of its fragile surroundings, Mihingo Lodge is an environmentally friendly accommodation. All electricity, hot water and water pumps are powered by solar panels and there is a natural water catchment system to take advantage of the rains.

Make a point to visit Mihingo Lodge and Lake Mburo National Park on your next visit to Uganda!  Both are a great stop before or after trekking to see the mountain gorillas.

Uganda: See it in 2012

Ujuzi Travel has been sharing our love of Uganda for years; also known as the “Pearl of Africa,” Uganda is one of our favorite countries to visit, from our Gorilla and Chimpanzee Trekking Safari to our Active Adventure Safari. But while we’ve known about its incredible beauty and wildlife for a while now, expect your family and friends to know, too, now that Lonely Planet has given it the number 1 spot of its top 10 countries to visit in 2012.

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