Tips for self Driving Safari holiday in Uganda

A self-driving holiday is one of the most economical and satisfying ways to see the sights and meet the people of Uganda. Self-Drive Uganda is a highly flexible way of discovering and exploring the country’s awesome wildlife and scenery, giving you the freedom to make your own plans and itineraries and change and adjust them at short notice and at will. Considering what is all involved, a first time visitor might feel overwhelmed and have second thoughts, thinking that a Self-drive Uganda might be lot of effort and stress.

But if you’ve ever contemplated such a trip you’ve probably had a hundred questions and concerns. What are the roads like? What type of vehicle do I need? Is it safe? When is the best time to go?

In this article Self-drive Uganda answers those questions, and shares her tips on how to make self-driving in Uganda as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible.

The basics

Most roads in Uganda are tarmacked and well-marked, Road signs are in English, but be aware of ‘adventurous roads’ these roads are mostly gravel and deteriorated and conditions can be hazardous at times in and around the Queen national park  more especially the ishasha sector and Bwindi impenetrable forests for famous mountain gorillas. Often these roads will take you to the most breathtaking destinations and is often worth the extra effort.

Road rules

Uganda drive on the left side of the road. When driving on a double-lane highway, slower vehicles should stay in the left lane unless overtaking a slower vehicle, which the right lane is used for. Always use your indicators when changing lanes.

Do not drink and drive, rather use a taxi service.Drive defensively: local minibus taxis often they do not adhere to traffic rules, so you must be careful and patient around them. Be aware of pedestrians, cyclists and animals use the roads in Uganda. In many public parking spaces, self-appointed “car guards” will try to help you park or offer to safeguard your car. You do not have to pay them, but it doesn’t hurt.

Vehicles

Choose the largest vehicle you can afford. Budget-class vehicles often do not have airbags or power steering, while a larger vehicle is a better option for long distances. Air conditioning and high road clearance will make driving more comfortable, especially on gravel roads. vehicles are both manual and automatic transmission, depending on which one you prefer to use. the best choices for an extended road trips are 4×4 WD with option of rooftop tents on Toyota Land cruiser, Nissan patrol or SUV Toyota Rav4 offer better shock absorption, better game viewing because of high seats, and more space for luggage and people.

Fuel and service stations

Petrol stations are located nearly everywhere and Most of them are open until late at night or even 24 hrs a day along the national highways and main roads ,  the most common brand names of fuel sold in Uganda include Shell, Engen, Caltex, Total, Kobil, which have shops, restaurants and bathrooms. In Uganda petrol stations are “full service,” meaning an attendant pumps your gas, and you are expected to offer a small tip Have them check the tires and pressure after driving on gravel roads, and periodically top up the oil and water levels. In Uganda fuel may only be purchased for cash, credit cards and cheques are not accepted. Most of the larger fuel stations however, have ATM’s on their site, from which you can draw the cash needed. But, to be on the safe side, ensure that you have sufficient cash for petrol when you are on the road.

Safety

The key to a safe and enjoyable holiday is good preparation and confidence in learned safety skills. Every country has its own particular hazards and before you go you need to be aware of what potential hazards there are on this type of trip.Please feel free to discuss with us all aspects of risk and safety at any time before you encounter Ugandan roads, call a member of our team. We can offer some driving tips to improve your driving and help you to get the most out of your trip

Keeping your lights on will increase your visibility to other road users, especially on dusty roads. Lock your doors when driving, and always after parking the car. Try not to drive at night, especially in rural areas where animals and pedestrians might not be clearly visible. To prevent smash-and-grab incidents:  when driving in urban areas and approaching a junction, be sure not to leave handbags or mobile phones in plain sight. Stow under your seat or put it away. Do not stop at an accident scene unless you are involved, and do not pick up hitchhikers. Your rental car should have an emergency number on the key holder.

Distance and speed

Don’t underestimate the distances in Uganda. It is a huge country  Kampala and Bwindi impenetrable forests and Mgahinga national parks for mountain gorillas are over 500km apart, and it takes at least 8 hours to drive in between them. The speed limit on highways is 120km/h and 60km/h in towns. On the major highways, you can cover over 700km if you drive for six hours per day. Obviously you will go slower if the road surface is poor. The most spectacular views should be enjoyed at a leisurely pace,  Traveling on rural roads, you will have to allow extra time for driving on gravel and be on the watch for stray animal

A few rough estimates of driving times in Uganda

Kampala to Bwindi impenetrable forests is 473.0 km and takes 8 hours.

Kampala to Queen Elizabeth national park is  372 km and takes 6 hours.

Kampala to Kibale national park is 293 km  and takes about 5 hours.

Kampala to kidepo national park is 422.45 km and takes 7 hours.

Travel Health

It doesn’t come as a surprise that Global travel on this scale exposes many people to a range of health risks. International travellers should always be extra concerned about their health and safety, as every region and country around the world has its own risks, customs and level of health care. However, whatever your age or destination, properly preparing before you leave, and staying in good health while traveling, can help you have a happy and enjoyable trip.

At self drive Uganda we do our best to provide our clients with the most accurate and up-to-date travel health information for the region you will be visiting.  Some essential information on travel health risks and preventive measures are provided in the website links below. Finally it is important that you get advice from your family physician or a specialist from a Travel Health clinic before traveling. Keep you and your loved ones healthy during your travels.

Passports

A passport is the only reliable and universally accepted identification document, and it proves that you have a right to return to your country. You are strongly advised to always carry a valid passport when travelling to any foreign destination. Crossing international borders can be complicated and sometimes requires many different kinds of documents. Being prepared is the key to easing your way through this process, so make sure you know what documents you need, where to get them, and which ones will make your crossing quick and easy.

Packing List for Gorilla Safari in Uganda

Packing list for Gorilla trekking in Uganda, Gorilla Safaris

As Africa is known for gorilla trekking safaris , Find the answers to where to trek the gorillas while on african safari. Many gorilla trackers are unaware about what they should come with for a gorilla tour to Uganda (Bwindi national park and Mgahinga gorilla forest national park) since gorilla tracking is done in the forest, you will find some difficulties, and sometimes the forest is muddy with a lot of stinging plants so you must pack appropriately to avoid difficulties. Going for gorilla tracking needs early preparation. Try to read on the travel guide to Uganda for more information about the things to pack for a safari to Uganda. You are advised to pack only those things that will give you a perfect experience while on your tour to Uganda. Below are some of the vital packing lists for your successful gorilla safari not only to Rwanda but also to the entire gorilla tracking destinations?

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

  • Pack comfortable study pair of walking shoes/boots, this is very vital, they will help you during the trek. Pack comfortable shoes that will give you momentum to traverse the forest. Sometimes the forest is muddy with stinging plants so you should also not forget to wear shocks to be more comfortable while trekking to find the gorillas deep into their natural habitat.
  • Don’t forget to pack ear plugs more especially if you are not comfortable with the sounds of the forest. The forest is a home to very many forest dwellers so you may not feel comfortable, the ear plugs will make you concentrate and have a memorable experience.
  • Jacket/sweater this must be included on the packing list and it is more important if you bring water proof jacket. African weather is unpredictable and Bwindi is a tropical rain forest it can rain at anytime even during the dry season month it still rain for 1-2 hours once or twice a week so you are advised not to forget a jacket, it should be noted its most of the time cold in the morning and during the evening.
  • Insect repellent is a must pack for gorilla tracking not only in Bwindi impenetrable national park but in all the gorilla parks. Since tracking is done in the thick forest and some of the lodges are built within the forest, there is no way you can avoid from insect bites, so to avoid mosquito bites which can cause you malaria an insect repellents are very vital, and remember no one is allowed to visit the gorilla when sick, gorillas can easily get affected from human diseases.
  • Carry Sunscreen, lotion as well a hat in order to have a successful gorilla tracking experience in Uganda. Sunscreen will prevent you from the small insects that may fall into your eyes while in the forest, lotion also prevent insect bites while in the forest on a gorilla trek, smear all your body before you hit the forest. Also wearing a hat is the only way you can protect from the boiling sun of Africa and it simply makes you a smart traveler.  .
  • During your gorilla trek, don’t forget to pack bottled water and packed lunch. Some gorilla families are not easy to allocate and since gorilla tracking is unpredictable the trek may go from half to full day, so go when well prepared.
  • Gloves, these are mostly garden gloves, they are vital and a must pack for gorilla trips, remember in the forest there are a lot of stinging plants and nettles, so to avoid touching on thorns on some plants and leaves and some poisonous plants, gloves will help you a lot, they will protect you from germ and any other item that may be dangerous to your body, hence a must pack for gorilla tracking tours.
  • Don’t forget to pack a photo of film-camera and battery; you may fail to get the battery that matches your camera while in Kampala.
  • Carry long sleeved shirts or blouses this will prevent you from insect bites and thorns

Ngaga Camp- Accommodation in Odzala

Ngaga Safari Camp- Accommodation in Odzala National Park

Ngaga Camp is set in a beautiful rainforest glade by the banks of the Ngaga Stream. There are views towards the lush forest canopy from all parts of the camp. This area is inhabited by several groups of lowland gorillas making it an excellent base for tracking these fascinating animals. Indeed, Ngaga is widely recognised as one of Africa’s foremost gorilla research destinations.

The central part of the camp consists of the sitting area and bar and the separate dining area, where you’ll spend time relaxing between wildlife and cultural activities. There’s a deck by the stream, which is ideal for refreshing swims, and a further deck near the firepit, a favourite place to sit after dark and watch the stars.

Guest rooms are built from natural materials such as wood, palm matting and bamboo and their design uses elements of the style of local B’Aka Pygmy homes. They are set on high wooden platforms set among the trees. Modern features include a bathroom with a shower and flush toilet and fans to circulate the air and keep the temperature comfortably cool. Rooms are set on raised platforms and have spacious verandas.

Location:  Ngaga Camp is located on the western border of Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the north west of the Republic of Congo. It is in the Ndzehi forest. Access is via the Mboko airstrip, about a 3-hour drive from the camp. The flight from Brazzaville takes 2-3 hours, depending on refuelling stops.

Rooms:  There are 6 treehouse rooms, accommodating a maximum of 12 guests. Rooms are set on raised decks and have views into the surrounding forest canopy. All are en-suite with hot and cold running water, a shower, flush toilet and selection of toiletries. The bedroom is equipped with mosquito nets, a fan and power points.

Activities:  The main activity and reason for visiting Ngaga Camp is to track gorillas. There are several groups of gorillas, 2 of which, named Jupiter and Neptuno, are the focus for habituation and tracking. These have between 10 and 25 individuals each and are led a silverback male. You are assigned a group and set out on foot with an expert guide and a local tracker to search for them. Though sightings are not guaranteed your guide and tracker will do their utmost to help you see the gorillas. Once you have found them youl have an hour to spend watching them, time which will pass very quickly. There are many other primates in the forest, plus mammals and a high concentration of birds. The camp offers night walks to observe nocturnal species. You’ll be able to visit the local village at Ombo, to meet the people and learn about their daily lives.

Facilities:   Communal areas comprise the cosy lounge and bar and the dining room, set on a raised platform looking out into the dense forest. There is a lower deck for star gazing and a camp fire where you can enjoy after dinner drinks.  The camp offers a complimentary laundry service. There is solar-powered electricity and points for recharging batteries. There is a back-up generator.

Dining:   Meals are taken communally with other guests.

Children:  Children aged 15 years and older are welcome.

Health:  This is a malarial area.

Communication:  There is no internet access.

Mboko Camp-Accommodation in Odzala

Mboko Camp-Accommodation in Odzala National Park

Mboko Camp is ia in an area of grassland savannah beside the Lekoli River within Odzala National Park. Forest buffalos, bushbucks, colobus monkeys and hyenas can sometimes be seen from the camp and there are occasional visits from forest elephants. At Mboko you are encouraged to go out and explore with a combination of driving, walking and boating giving you access to the national park and its varied flora and fauna.

Back at the lodge you can rest in the lounge and dinng area. Set on an elevated deck and with open sides, this is perfect place from which to survey the scene as you chat to other guests, sip a drink from the bar and enjoy a meal. The viewing deck comes into its own in the late afternoon when the camp fire is lit and you pull up a chair to enjoy the glow of the flames and share stories of the day’s events. After dinner this is great spot from which to do some star gazing.

Accommodation is in cabins with comfy beds, matting floors and solar powered lighting. Each has an en-suite shower room and a veranda where you can sit and contemplate views of the savannah and river.

Mboko is the largest of the three camps owned and run by Odzala Discovery Camps and it the headquarters of their conservation programme. Dr Magda Bermejo, who heads the in-house research team workign with the gorillas is based here and you may get the chance to meet here during your stay at Mboko Camp.

Location: Mboko Camp is in the Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the north west of the Republic of Congo, near the Lekoli River. Access is via the Mboko airstrip, a 10 minute drive from the camp. The flight from Brazzaville takes 2-3 hours, depending on refuelling stops.

Rooms: There are 12 rooms, made up of 10 double cabins and 2 family cabins. Every cabin has its own deck equipped with chairs where you relax, an en-suite bathroom and bedroom with a mosquito nets-covered bed and a desk.

Activities: These revolve around game viewing, with forest elephant and buffalo often encountered and sometimes come into the camp. Many activities involve driving and / or walking along raised boardwalks, and boating to optimise wildlife sightings. You can go for speedboat rides and go kayaking on the river.

Facilities: There is a large, open-sided lounge-cum-dining room set on a raised wooden platform beneath a thatched roof, with sofas and chairs, which leads out to broad viewing deck, where a fire is lit after dark. The lounge includes a bar. There is solar power.

Dining: Meals are usually eaten at separate tables.

Children: Children aged 15 years and older are welcome.

Health: This is a malarial area.

Communication: There is no internet access.

Lango Camp- Odzala Safari Lodge

Lango Camp- Safari lodges & Accommodations in Odzala National Park

Lango Camp nestles in dense rainforest overlooking the Lango Bai, a nutrient-rich swamp which attracts lots of wildlife, near the Lekoli River. The camp offers a varied range of activities including walking, boating and kayaking, allowing you to explore the rich flora and fauna of Odzala-Kokua National Park. While here you can expect to see forest buffalos, bushbuck, sitatunga, forest hogs, large flocks of African grey parrots and African green pigeons, and occasionally forest elephants usually present after dark.

With a maximum capacity of 12 guests the camp never feels crowded. You have your own self-contained room with a wraparound viewing deck with views of the bai, and a private shower room with hot and cold running water plus a supply of toiletries. There’s a fan in the bedroom and the whole room is set on a raised platform to aid the cooling flow of air. A wooden walkway links your room to the camp’s central areas.

The communal areas are set on raised platforms, so you can enjoy views into the rainforest as you relax and enjoy meals between activities. In the evening you’ll gather around the camp fire after dinner to talk over they day’s events, and to enjoy some stargazing from the large deck.

Location:  Lango Camp is in the south central part of the Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the north west of the Republic of Congo. Access is via the Mboko airstrip, about a 45-minute drive from the camp. The flight from Brazzaville takes 2-3 hours, depending on refuelling stops.

Rooms:  There are 6 rooms, accommodating a maximum of 12 guests. All have verandas overlooking Lango Bai. You have a bedroom with a fan and safe plus a bathroom with running water, a shower, flush toilet and a range of toiletries.

Activities:  These centre of the bai after which the camp is named, the nearby Lekoli River and the savannah. Walking and boat rides, either by motorised pirogue or kayak, combine to offer great wildlife viewing. You can also spend time in Mbomo village, usually visited when travelling to or from Ngaga Camp, to gain an insight into the local way of life.

Facilities:   Raised walkways connect the communal areas and guest rooms. At the heart of the camp is the cosy lounge and bar and the dining room.  All are set on elevated decks overlooking the bai. A lower deck lets you enjoy star gazing after dark, in the warm glow of the camp fire. There are power sockets in guest rooms and communal areas for charging batteries. There is solar-powered electricity with a back-up generator. The camp offers a daily laundry service free of charge.

Dining:   Meals are taken communally with other guests.

Children:  Children aged 15 years and older are welcome.

Health:  This is a malarial area.

Communication:  There is no internet access.

Congo Safari Trips

Day 1: Pick up from Goma International Airport @ 2:00 pm and transfer to Mikeno Lodge.

Upon arrival at 2Pm with Ethiopian Airline, you will be welcomed by the Safari Guide of Congo gorilla safaris and transfer to Mikeno lodge, check in the lodge and relax on the hotel. The Drive from Goma to Mikeno Lodge is estimated to take 2 & Half hours. (Mikeno Lodge)

Day 2: First Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Virunga National Park

After an early breakfast you will  transfer to Virunga National Park Headquarters for  briefing about Gorilla Trekking Rules and later proceed to the jungle forest to search for the Most Endangered Species of Mountain Gorillas  with park rangers, the gorilla trekking safari activity takes about 2-5 hours and once found you will be given 1 hour to take photos and stay with the mountain gorillas in the wild as you watch them play with the young ones and feeding, After return to the park headquarters, transfer to Goma after gorilla trekking and stay at Hotel Relaxing ( Bukima Tented Camp). The drive will take around 2 Hours drive (Gorilla Trekking destination is BUKIMA Side)

Day 3: Second Gorilla Trekking in Virunga

After Morning Breakfast, you will head out to the park headquarters again to repeat the same gorilla trekking rules and briefying and start to hike in search for the mountain gorillas, it will be a different gorilla group compared to the one you trekked previously. Dinner and overnight at Mikeno Lodge (TO ENABLE YOU VISIT THE SENKWEKWE GORILLA CENTRE ORPHAN IN THE CAMP)

Day 4:  Climb Nyiragongo Volcano in Virunga National Park.

After an Early morning breakfast, head to the park headquarters for briefing with park rangers, start Hiking Nyiragongo volcano (climb takes about 4 to 5 hours). Hike through an impressive rain forest, the climb continues on the lava eruption fissure, reach the summit. Have the whole evening to enjoy the view from the crater and watch the lava inside. Dinner and Overnight in shelter at the crater.

Day 5: Descend & Transfer to Bukavu

After Morning breakfast, you will descend the world’s largest lava lake and transfer to Bukavu, on this day I would recommend that we use a private boat to connect from Goma to Bukavu driving on Lake Kivu.  The Drive on Private Boat will take 2-3 Hours.  Dinner and overnight at Orchids Safari Lodge.

NOTE: Please Kahuzi Biega National Park has no accommodations, Safari Lodges located within the park but all lodges & Hotels are located in Bukavu town.

 Day 6: Lowland Gorilla Trekking in Kahuzi Biega National Park

Early morning after breakfast, take 1 and half hour drive to Kahuzi Biega National Park for briefing about the dos and don’ts while on eastern lowland gorilla trekking in the jungle and after enter into the forest to search for the primates and this activity can last for 2 -6 hours depending on their movement, once found you will spend one hour with them to allow you take photos and videos. After tracking. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight as above, the journey from Bukavu to Kahuzi Biega National park is 1& Half Hour drive.

 Day 7: Hike the tshibatifalls located in Kahuzi Biega & after Transfer to Goma Town

In the morning Hours, you will drive to Kahuzi Biega National Park and get the rangers and guide and drive to the starting point of tshibatifalls passing on Lwiro Chimpanzee Sanctuary to view the wonderful water falls in Kahuzi Biega National Park. These Nature Walk trails take various walking distances and you will select the one that fits into your walking fitness. In the Afternoon you will go for lunch and take the last boat to connect from Bukavu to Goma.

(We have to be in Goma a day before your flight to avoid UN seen situations that may come up and you miss the flight, that’s why we recommend that on the last day you will relax on Lake Kivu water shores awaiting for the flight time Back Home.) Dinner & Overnight Tchegera Island Tented Camp

 Day 8 Transfer to the Airport for the flight @ 4:00 pm

You will relax at Lake Kivu shoes and enjoy the beach view.

 

Safari includes

Eastern lowland Gorilla Permits

Nyiragongo hike permit

Mountain gorilla permits x 2

Accommodation & Meals

Drinking Water & En route Lunch

Ground Transportation

Tshibati waterfalls/ nature walk

English Speaking Guide

Safari Excludes

Flight to Goma

Congo Visa

All personal expenses not listed in the itinerary above

Honeymoon Expeditions

Honeymoon Adventures to Odzala National Park- Expeditions to Africa.

Planning for an expeditious adventure in Congo to make a holiday a life time experience with gorilla trekking inclusive to odzala national park ?

With romantic safari holiday planned by congo safari companies to suit your budget, these Odzala National park honeymoon safaris range from premier luxury to deluxe and classic styled tours. The locations and lodges have been selected as being the best in their class for a true romantic escape.

Odzala National Park located in the republic of congo also known as congo Brazzaville is the ideal destination that can be visited on honeymoon as nothing will interfere with ur relaxation in luxury safari lodges in the jungle forests of Odzala National Park 

Honeymooners Setting out on life’s greatest journey together is an exciting moment, and there is no better way to start out than in the African wilderness. These selected Odzala National Park honeymoon packages each offer something different.

When is the best time to Visit

The Odzala national Park is a popular destination all year round with over a million visitors annually. Peak seasons are over school holidays in June, July, September and December. Public holidays, especially if a long weekend, are also in high demand. These dates can get booked up almost a year in advance.

The best time for observing wildlife in the the Park is during the dry winter season which is between June and October. The grass is low and the bushes and trees are sparsely covered – you should have a fairly unobstructed view of the surrounding area. Animals gather around waterholes allowing for greater game viewing opportunities.

If you are traveling to Republic of congo between November and March, combining a odzala Park Safari with a beach holiday is a great way to experience the best of what Congo has to offer.

Where to stay on Honeymoon Safari Holiday

Compare Odzala  National Park accommodation amenities and facilities at glance. Compare Safari Lodges inside odzala  National Park, lodges in Greater Odzala Reserves and accommodation surrounding the park.

Relax in the lush wilderness of an exclusive Odzala Safari Camps .The 4 Day Romancing The gorilla  Package offers an unforgettable Odzala honeymoon experience flight option to this pristine destination.

Spend your honeymoon on safari with personal attention in elegant surroundings in the wilderness. This beautiful safari lodge is designed to be eco-friendly, blending with the scenery and built using natural organic materials.

Odzala  Honeymooners can look forward to early morning gorilla trekking & boat cruise to search for the primates found along the river shoes.During your stay, make the most of delicious high teas, sunset cocktails, something special from the wine cellar and alfresco dining. Cooler days mean cozy conversations by the lounge fire and blissfully scented bubble baths in your suite – this is your ‘do not disturb’ time!

Planning an Africa Safari Holiday

When it comes to planing an exotic Safari holiday? Africa as a continent ranks among the top world destinations to be visited for Gorilla Trekking, Wildlife and honeymoon on Sand Beaches of Lakes and Oceans .
Starting from South Africa into East Africa & Central Africa the home for the big five , primates like the mountain gorillas in the virunga Mountains  are among the most view apes in Africa.

where to see gorillas in Africa

Places & countries to see Gorillas In Africa, Primate Destinations

Planning for a primate safari holiday & staying in nice accommodations allover the world, Africa ranks high as no 1 primate safari destination as a number of apes are found in the wilderness of African Forests with great range of Apes and Wildlife , Plan for gorilla trekking , visit the mountain gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas, Western Lowland gorillas, Cross river gorillas.

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS (Gorilla beringei beringei)

Where they live

Mountain gorillas (eastern gorillas) are found in two isolated groups. One group is the Virunga region which marks a border of three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. In Uganda, they are in Mgahinga national park, Rwanda in Volcanoes national park and Virunga national park in DR Congo. The second group is found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is located in the south western part of Uganda. They stay in altitudes ranging between 8000 and 1000 feet. The world population of mountain gorillas has increased to 880 individuals according to the census data released by the Uganda wildlife authority in 2010.

Description

A mountain gorilla has thick and longer fur and shorter arms than other gorilla species which enables them to live in high altitude areas. Mountain gorillas have long silky black coats with hairless face, palms, soles and chest. They are remarkably strong with a broad chest and shoulders. They are also bigger than other species. Males weigh around 195kg and females weigh around 100kg. Females have a gestation period of 8.5months.

Life style

Mountain gorillas live in groups of up to 30 individuals. The group, or troop, is led by a single alpha male, an older silverback. These males are called silverbacks because of the silver stripe they develop on their backs when they mature. The oldest males of the group are at least 12 years old. These troops also include several younger males, adult and juvenile females, and infants.

In addition to providing protection to group members, silverbacks maintain order and decide all activities within their troop. They schedule feeding trips, resting time, and travel. They also father the majority of the young in the group.

Mountain gorillas wake up early at sunrise and begin looking for food for most of the morning hours. In contrast to other primates, gorillas live mainly on the ground and do not prey more than a kilometer per day with in their territory of about 20 kilometers. The afternoons are mainly spent resting and playing. Before dusk, the great apes start constructing nests where they will spend their night. Every gorilla has its own nest except for the infants which sleep next to their moms. The nests are either built on the ground or trees.

Threats

The biggest threats to these great apes come from deforestation and the growing human population around the area, diseases, and wars and civil unrest. Gorillas are not commonly poached but they always fall in traps meant for other animals.

Diet

Mountain gorillas are omnivores. They are able to survive on vegetation such as leaves, stems, roots, vines, tress, herds, but such vegetation has low nutritional levels. So they consume a lot of it to get more nutrients. They also eat some insects.

An adult male gorilla can consume more than 18kgs per day. They rarely drink water because most of the foods they eat contain water in them.

Gorillas are so selective I what they eat, they usually eat part of the vegetation. They may only eat the leaves, stalk or roots of a particular plant.

All the Destinations of Uganda, Rwanda and Dr congo have habituated mountain gorillas to the greatest extent compared to other gorillas . Most reliable gorilla Trekking safari experience will be the mountain gorillas in the wilderness of African Virunga Mountains & Famous Bwindi.

 

WESTERN LOWLAND GORILLAS. (gorilla gorilla gorilla)

Description

Lowland gorillas have short, thin, gray-black to brown-black hair covers the entire hair except for the face and have a more brownish coloration. Infants below four years have a white tuft on their rumps which helps other gorillas to recognize it as an infant. Mature males have a saddle of white hair on their back and they are called ‘silverbacks’. The males are much larger than the females. Adult males weigh from 300 to 500 pounds and stand up to 6 feet tall. Adult females weigh between 150 to 200 pounds.

They can live for 50 or more years in the wild and in captivity though such a long life span is rare.

About their numbers, there is no accurate estimate of how many are left in the worlds because they inhabit some of Africa’s densest and most remote rain forests. However the total population is estimated to be 100,000 individuals.

Lifestyle

Gorillas live in troops ranging from 2 to 30 individuals. But for the western lowland gorillas, data seems to indicate that they live in much smaller troops with an average of 5 members. Groups are always composed of a silverback male, one or more black back males, and several females with their infants, and juvenile offspring. Mature off springs leave their groups to find mates.

Where do they live

The western lowland gorilla is found inhabiting the tropical jungles and forests of Western and Central Africa, along with lowland swamps and secondary forests.

The western lowland gorillas live in heavy rainforests and it is difficult for scientists to accurately estimate how many still survive. They live in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Angola.

 

EASTERN LOWLAND GORILLAS (grauer’s  gorilla)

The eastern lowland gorilla occurs in the lowland and Albertine Rift montane forests of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

These are only found in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The species live in the tropical forests of eastern DRC and most notably Kahuzi Biega National Park and maiko national park.

Description

The eastern lowland gorilla is the largest of the gorilla subspecies. This impressive animal is identified by a stocky body, large hands and a short muzzle. Unusually, the gorilla’s thumbs are larger than the fingers. The face, ears, hands, and feet are bare, and the chest in old males lacks hair. Comparing it with the western subspecies, mountain gorillas, the eastern gorilla has shorter hair, teeth and longer arms. Eastern Lowland gorillas have a broad chest and shoulders, a large head and a hairy shiny black face. A full-grown male can weigh up to 220kg, and can be distinguished from the Mountain gorilla by its slightly narrower body and face and its noticeably rounder nostrils.

Lifestyle

They are very sociable and very peaceful, living in groups of two to over 30. A group always consists of one silverback, several females and their offspring. Silverbacks are stronger and each group has one dominant leader. The males protect their group from danger. Young silverback males will slowly begin to leave their group when they reach maturity, and will then attempt to attract females to form their own group.

Diet.

They are omnivores with About 67% of the diet is fruit, 17% leaves, seeds, and stems, 3% is termites and caterpillars. They eat atleast 104 plant species. Male adults can eat upto 20kg a day.

 

CROSS RIVER GORILLA (Gorilla gorilla diehli)

Where they live

The Cross River gorilla live a dense forest habitat that is uninhabited by humans. Due to the Cross River gorilla’s body size they require large and diverse areas of the forest to meet their habitat requirements. Forests that are inhabited by the Cross River gorilla vary in altitude from approximately 100 to 2,037 meters (328 to 6,683 ft) above sea level.

Description

If comparing the Cross River gorilla to western gorillas, they have smaller palates, smaller cranial vaults, and shorter skulls. The Cross River gorilla is not known to differ much in terms of body size or limb and bone length from western gorillas. However, measurements taken from a male suggest that they have shorter hands and feet and have a larger opposability index than western gorillas.

Diet

The cross river gorilla’s diet consists largely of fruit, herbaceous vegetation, liana, and tree bark. Their diet usually consists of fruit, but in fruit scarce months, (August–September, November–January) their diet is primarily made up of terrestrial herbs, and the bark and leaves of climber and trees. Many of the Cross River gorilla food sources are very seasonal and thus their diets are filled with very dense, nutritious vegetation that is usually found near their nesting sites.

Lifestyle

They live in small groups of 4-7 individuals with a few males and a few female members.  They construct their nests depending on various aspects like the habitat, the climate, source of food and risk of attack. The season determines whether the nest will be built on the ground or on trees. They mostly build the nest on the ground from April to November and from November on wards they are likely to construct them on trees.