On the 31st March 2018, it was revealed that there were over 1,000 gorillas living in the Virunga Massif ( Volcanoes National Park, The Mekino sector of Virunga National Park and Mgahinga National Park) and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. This is a jump from the previously recorded figure of 880 in 2011 and is a really positive story for mountain gorilla conservation.
In Uganda, you are able to go and see mountain gorillas in their own habitat in one of two places, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest which has 15 habituated gorilla families spread over four sectors and Mgahinga National Park which has 1 habituated gorilla family. Uganda is well known for this activity, but what is called? Is it gorilla trekking, gorilla tracking or is it both?
Trekking can be defined as: ” A form of walking undertaken with a specific purpose of exploring and enjoying the scenery, usually taking place on trails and areas of unspoiled wilderness”. Now, you can’t argue that a walk in either of the two National Parks wouldn’t fit this description. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 and is home to over 160 tree species, 100 fern species and over 1,000 flowering species. The park has a rugged topography characterised by narrow valley and steep hills, all this making it a great place for trekking. Whereas Mganinga National Park is home to 3 extinct volcanoes, ecologically diverse forests and endemic plant species. A trek in either of these National Parks would be pretty amazing when it comes to exploring scenery wouldn’t you say?
Tracking can be defined as: ” The act or process of following something or someone ” and in this case, the principal attraction are the mountain gorillas. However, both National Parks are home to more than just mountain gorillas, there are a whole host of other mammals including, Chimpanzees, Monkeys, Forest Elephants, Giant Forest Hogs, Jackals as well and Golden and Civet cats, not to mention the 350 bird and 200 butterfly species. So, if you enter the park with the intention of following any of the forest animals, especially the mountain gorillas, then you are also most definitely tracking.
So it seems to me that you trek to explore the forest scenery and you track to locate the mountain gorillas. Either way, there are not many places in the world where you are able to find such an incredible range of habitat and wildlife. So if you are thinking of a place to go on holiday where you can go trekking and tracking then Uganda is just the place.