Uganda: Gorillas in the Mist by:Amelia Stenson
The climax of any Uganda safari is undoubtedly tracking the largest living primate on the planet, the endangered Mountain gorilla, through some of the most impenetrable jungle in the world - the last remaining habitat of these critically endangered species.
Dedicated African safari tour operators organise safari tours that specifically highlight both the plight and prowess of these remarkable animals, with sojourns to the jungles of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Earth's final families
Earth's final families of these iconic beasts are all gathered in a single location; a location that has been plagued by all sorts of difficulties in recent times. Ferocious civil wars, gross genocides and the outbreak of the dreaded Ebola Fever have all had a significant impact on the survival of these animals, effectively caught in the crosshairs of man.
Although both Rwanda and the DRC host gorilla expeditions, it is the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda that is hearth and home to half of the estimated 650 mountain gorillas left on earth today.
Close encounters of the friendly kind
Guests on the consummate Uganda holiday are taken into the depths of the jungle by friendly locals who act as both trackers and protectors of these rare primates. The local guides have generally been working with the gorillas for several years and are consequently totally accepted by the silverback and his harem, allowing for close encounters of the friendly kind.
Although gorillas are large and powerful, they are gentle by nature. But this placidness has unfortunately become a curse to the entire species as it has led to open season poaching for their meat. The world-wide logging trend has also added to the dilemma of these gentle giants, as year by year their natural habitat becomes even tinier.
The Ugandan authorities have regulated access to these mega-men and currently only 32 permits are issued per day, ensuring that each group of visitors has their own, private experience with the last remaining gorillas of east Africa.
Troops have an average of 5 - 30 members, which are led by large males (known as silverbacks) that not only make all the decisions for the group but mediate conflict situations too.
The genetic code or DNA of the gorilla is virtually identical to that of man; between 98 - 99% the same.
There are 3 classifications of these intelligent primates - the mountain gorilla that generally ranges in elevations of between 2000 - 4000m and the eastern and western lowland gorillas that generally forage in the dense forests, lowland swamps and marshes at sea level.
The name gorilla was coined A.D. by a Carthaginian navigator named Hanno the Navigator and is derived from the Greek word, Gorillai, which apparently referred to a tribe of hairy women!
About the author
Fish Eagle Safaris provides first class flexible safari packages and tailor-made holiday itineraries throughout Southern and East Africa. Our level of personalised service is unprecedented; our local knowledge, hand-picked accommodations and attention to detail ensure you the ultimate African safari holiday that surpasses all expectations.