Mountain Gorillas in Africa
Mountain Gorillas in Africa ; Mountain gorillas are endangered animals with a population of 1004 as per 2008 statistics. Mountain gorillas in Africa can only be found only in four national parks in Africa that’s Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable national park, Virunga mountains stretch which consists of Uganda’s Mgahinga gorilla national park, Rwanda’s volcanoes national park and Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Bwindi impenetrable national park (Uganda):
Bwindi impenetrable national park is located in the southern part of Uganda across the steep ridges of Albertine rift valley and lies in coordinates of 1.0337° S, 29.6932°. It is one of the places where you can find mountain gorillas in Africa. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest is very famous across the whole world. Bwindi locally in rukinga means impenetrable and the park derives its name from an old story of a family which was on its quest of migrating from Kisoro and came across an impenetrable swamp, where they inquired from the swamp spirits, for them to cross the swap their beautiful daughter “nyinamukari” was to be offered for sacrifice and when the rumors spread the local people term the forest “mubwindi nwa nyamukari ” meaning the dark place of nyamukari.
Bwindi national park harbors 60% of total population of gorillas in the world covering 327 sq. km and it is one of the most ancient rainforest in Africa. Bwindi impenetrable national park experiences a lot of rain of 2390mm per annum, with cold morning and nights with temperature ranges of 70°c-200°c. It is coldest in June and July and the best time to go for trekking is during dry season that is may-September, January and February for easy movement through the terrain.
Bwindi impenetrable national park has seven habituated gorillas with 4 regions that is Buhoma region which is the most popular with 3 groups of habituated gorillas, Ruhja region the most accessible with 2 habituated gorilla groups,Rushega region with 5 groups and also have elephants, Nkuringo region very relaxed close to lake Edward and Nyiragongo . Gorilla trekking in these regions is a guarantee to offer an interesting unforgettable trekking.
MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK.(Uganda)
Mgahinga gorilla national park is the smallest park in Uganda established in 1991, located in the southern western corner 540 km from capital city Kampala and lies in the coordinates 1.3641° S, 29.6383°. It one of the parks in Uganda where you can find mountain gorillas in Africa. Mgahinga gorilla national park is situated on the northern slopes of 3 of the 6 volcanoes which make up Virunga volcanoes that is mountain muhabura, mountain sabyinyo and mountain gahinga which make up the Southern part of Albertine rift valley.
Mgahinga gorilla national park lies in the altitude of 2227-44127, experiences approximately over 250 mm, two rainy seasons that is February – may, September to December and it harbors more than half of world population of gorillas with other features like bamboo forest, golden monkeys, Albertine rift montane forest and many others which are very interesting.
The best time to go for a hike in mgahinga national park is July
Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda)
Volcano national park is first park to be established in Africa and the most famous park in Rwanda always referred to as a haven of mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, it lies in north western Rwanda and boarders Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo and mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda in coordinates 1.4321° S, 29.5666° E.it covers area of 160km².
Volcano national park was first gazetted in 1925 as a small area in karisimbi, Bisoke, Mikeno with an intention of conserving gorillas from poachers, in 1929 the boarder was extended into Rwanda and Belgian Congo from the Albert national park. The park was a base for an American zoologist DIAN FOSSEY who arrived in 1967 and established karisoke research center in karisimbi and visoke,she was later murdered in 1985 supposingly by poachers she was always fighting against.
Volcano national park covers 8 mountains of virunga mountains that is karisimbi (the highest 4507m), bisoke(3711m),muhabura(4127m),gahinga(3470m),sabinyo(3611m), nyaragongo(3470m), nyamurangira(3058).with 11 habituated gorilla families including susa, amahoro, sabyinyo, ugenda, hirwa, umubano, karisimbi and many others. Volcano national park become a battle during the Rwanda civil war which resulted into attack on the headquarters(karisoke research center) in 1992 which paralyised its activities and tourism to area as well until 1999 when it was deemed safe.
Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Mountain Gorillas in Africa can also be found in Virunga national park which is one of the oldest protected areas in Africa established in 1925 primarily for science oriented, nature reserve, studying an wildlife purposes, it stretches from semliki river valley to Rwenzori mountains and covers two volcano mountains of mikeno and karisimbi volcanoes. It also boarders Uganda and Rwanda in east. Virunga national park was established by then then king of Belgium king Albert and it was first called Albert national park.
Virunga national park covers 8,090 km and ends its operations at 6 pm daily.it is located in the eastern part of Congo with in the coordinates of 0.0502° S, 29.5143° E, with two rainy seasons of march to mid-May and September to November and average rain of 220m in north and 160mm in south. Virunga national park has temperatures of 23°c-°28 on low altitudes and 16°c-24°c on higher altitudes and at times drops to 14°c.
Virunga national park has long been known for insecurity it was declared a heritage site in 1979 by UNESCO world heritage site because of its ecological importance. Though its harbors strong ecological aspect it was declared to be in danger in 1994 by the world heritage due to wars in Congo and the 1900’s war in Rwanda which produced a lot of refugees who flooded the protected area and in 1996 it was declared a ramsar site of international importance.
Regardless of its past insecurity issues, Virunga national park is a peaceful and safe place ideal for gorilla trekking because it harbors over 250 mountain gorillas with 8 habituated gorilla families