Primate Safaris - Gorillas: When and Where
Both Rwanda and Uganda are small equatorial countries with fairly stable weather patterns meaning that gorilla tracking is a year round activity. The rainy seasons tend to run from March to May and then again between October and November, but like anywhere, it is hard to predict exactly and it can vary in different areas – rainfall in the mountainous areas is generally greater than in other, lower areas.
Gorilla trekking is generally easier in the dry seasons as it is less muddy; however the views in the rainy season are far more spectacular. It is important to remember that tracking “gorillas in the mist” is all part of the experience.
There are two populations of mountain gorillas in the world, one in the Virunga Mountains which border the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, and the second in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda.
The Bwindi population totals around 320 gorilla individuals. There are four habituated gorilla groups, three of which are located in the northern part close to Buhoma and the other family live in the southern part of the forest close to Nkuringo.
In the Parc Nacional des Volcans in Rwanda there are seven gorilla families: the Susa Group, Sabyinyo, Amahoro, Group 13, Hirwa, Kwitonda and Umubano. The Susa Group is the most popular and largest gorilla family in the world with 38 members (four of which are silverbacks and the only known surviving twins).
It is generally thought that the gorillas in Rwanda are easier to track as they are more habituated and tend to remain lower in the foothills. However, although gorilla trekking can be tougher in Uganda, the success rate is as good as 100%.