There has been an ongoing debate on what the best time to trek is or track gorillas in Uganda. Several arguments and opinions have been voiced in different avenues including online forums such as trip advisor, lonely planet among others. The fact is that gorillas in Uganda can be tracked throughout the year and clients almost get the same satisfaction. This is because clients tend to avoid rainy season forgetting that Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in an Equatorial Forest where chances of rain are very high daily.
Mountain gorillas which are among the most endangered species on planet earth are located in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Virunga ranges which are shared amongst three countries such as Uganda (Mgahinga National Park) Democratic Republic of Congo (Virunga National Park) and Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park. And because these primates are highly endangered, clients pay highly to view or trek them. Because of the current price of gorilla permits which are at US$1500.00 in Rwanda and US$700.00 in Uganda, clients would love to maximize their experience when it comes to gorilla trekking and the best time to visit them.
Uganda being crossed by the equator has a modified equatorial climate with two rainy seasons and because of this people tend to associate these rainy seasons with the best times to trek gorillas. This is true because when it is raining, it becomes hard to hike and trek in the impenetrable forest because of the heavy rains that make the trails too slippery. That notwithstanding, some gorilla families need to drive for some time to reach at the beginning of the trail heads and because of this, if you don’t have a four wheel drive vehicle you might not make it to the gorillas. Besides that, vegetation tends to grow something that reduces chances of proper visibility and photography. All the above combined, the best time to visit the gorillas is to avoid the most rain seasons in Uganda.
Thus the best time is in June, July, August, September and part of October but because of global warming it is even becoming very hard to predict when it is going to rain or not. The above are just the views of the Author but might not necessarily present the real facts on ground and opinions of other people.
Whereas mountain gorilla safaris have become the most sought after experiences in the world, knowing the best time to trek these captivating creatures in Bwindi Forest National Park is very crucial for any traveler who is planning a safari holiday to Uganda. Numerous arguments have been raised by travelers and notable online forums like trip advisors and lonely planet pertaining the best time to visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for gorilla trekking. But as a matter of fact, what may seem to be the best time to you may not be the worst time to other travelers! This draws us down to frequently asked questions like “what is the best time to visit Uganda for gorilla trekking?” “When should I visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park to trek mountain gorillas?” Is it wise to visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park during wet season for gorilla trekking? To some people these questions look obvious but in reality, we feel they need to be addressed in order for you to get the most captivating and memorable experience with the rare mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is done at any time of the year but many visitors prefer traveling from the months of June to September and December, January and February due to drier trails. This means marking the seasonality of the year is of significance to every traveler who plans to catch a glimpse of these unique primates in the wild. Dry season and wet season are 2 (two) important seasons of the year that tourists can visit the park to track these remarkable creatures. Each season comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Most importantly, they are all divided based on months of the years.
This season occurs in the months of January, February, June, July, August, September and December. These months are also popularly known as the peak season in Uganda. For tourists who are planning for their gorilla safari holidays to Uganda, they should note that the dry season is best time for them to visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park to track the rare mountain gorillas in the wild. Mountain gorillas live in temperate weathered places with high altitude, the climate is kept cool throughout the year and this makes the dry season the best time for any traveler to catch the most captivating and unforgettable experiences with these impressive wild creatures. During this season, the rains drop down and the gorilla habitat is kept relatively drier and this makes gorilla trekking easier for trekkers. However, being a dry season does not mean that there is no rainfall at all, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park experiences Equatorial type of climate and visitors should expect rain showers any time of the day! It can rain shortly about 30minutes to 1 hour but this does stop visitors from tracking mountain gorillas. It is also during this season that the prices for Uganda’s gorilla trekking permits remain at $600 for foreign non residents, $500 for foreign residents and shs.250000 for East African residents.
The wet season (March to May and October to November) is certainly the perfect time for tourists traveling on budget to have fantastic experiences with the wild mountain gorillas. Tourists who get into the misty valleys of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park during this season are rewarded with exceptional encounters with these impressive primates. The advantage with the wet season is that there is plenty of plant forage for the mountain gorillas to feed on and this means that, they spend much of their time within the foothills of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Viewing these primates during this season in most cases takes visitors the shortest time. The only disadvantage with wet season is that, the gorilla habitat can experience heavy rainfall which makes the trails muddy and slippery for and that is why many visitors tend to dodge tracking mountain gorillas during this season.
Whereas tracking mountain gorillas during wet season is said to be hard due to muddy and slippery steep slopes, it also comes with low gorilla trekking permits especially in the months of April, May and November ($450 for foreign non residents, $400 foreign residents and shs.150000 for East African residents). As well, the lodges and notable accommodation facilities in and around the park will charge tourist low prices for their accommodation because during this season there is low occupancy rate.
In conclusion, gorilla trekking is a breathtaking experience and any visitor who is planning to have safari holiday in the misty valleys of Bwindi Forest, Southwestern Uganda should be physically fit to able to hike through the dense forest and terrain. If you are organizing a gorilla safari, you should therefore take note of the most favorable conditions despite the low prices in the low season. With this, the best time for any visitor planning a visit to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is during the 2 dry seasons that occurs from June to July to August and December to January to February that come with best weather conditions (the trails are drier and tracking mountain gorillas is simpler compared to wet season). The worst weather conditions take place between March to May and September to November (These months are associated with heavy rainfall and gorilla habitat in most cases is wet making gorilla trekking hard for tourists).