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Uganda’s Mountain Gorillas go online

President Yoweri Museveni at the ‘Explore Uganda’ launch at Kololo

FEATURE | THE INDEPENDENT | On 21 January 2021, Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) launched a new tourism campaign dubbed “Explore Uganda”.

This is an attempt to shift from the common norm of simply offering wildlife safaris, to exploring the “Pearl of Africa” as a whole. That is the street food of Uganda, the culture of Uganda, the community life, the mystical Nile, the legendary Lake Victoria and everything Ugandan in general.

However, though Uganda has a lot to offer in terms of tourism, gorilla safaris remain undeniably the leading tourism and most known adventure activity in Uganda. This is mainly inspired by the scarcity of the mountain gorillas in the whole world.

There are only three countries in the whole world where you can find the mountain gorillas; that is Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo. Of these three countries; it is only Uganda that has two mountain gorillas well protected in two national parks.

This species are under threat

As of 2021, Uganda boasts of more than 50% of the gorilla population in the whole world. In an attempt to bring these gorillas closer to everyone around the world, that is; even people who might never get a chance to visit Bwindi national park or Mgahinga national park, Uganda wildlife Authority in partnership with a number of wildlife stakeholders launched an app well known as “My gorilla family”.

The “My gorilla family” app gives you access to all the gorilla families in Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga gorilla national park. With this access comes the opportunity to join the birthday celebrations of the different gorillas (those whose birthdays are known), a close follow up on each family migration, the daily excursions of the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga gorilla national park as well as the daily life of the rangers that live to protect the mountain gorillas and their habitat.

In order to access all the daily activities, the birthdays, the different families among other things encapsulated in the app, you are presented with two subscription options, $19.99 for an annual subscription and $1.99 for a monthly subscription.

Is the subscription worth the Money?

The “My gorilla family” app is new, and it’s offering a new product. It is barely a month old therefore you cannot at the moment conclude on whether it is worth the money or not. However may be after a month of using the app, we can come back with a proper review of the “My gorilla family” App.

Do Gorilla Families Really Matter? Can’t I Just Visit Any Family?

You can visit any gorilla family if all you want is to see mountain gorillas but not all families offer the same gorilla trekking experience in Uganda. Some families are really big thus giving you a chance to see quite many gorillas while other families are small thus making your gorilla safari experience not that thrilling. In other instances, some gorilla families have babies which also provides visitor with a different experience from one of a family that mainly has juveniles. With that at the back of your mind, we can conclude that the gorilla family you trek really matters.

At the moment the gorilla permits in Bwindi impenetrable forest are sector based not family based. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is divided into four gorilla sectors; Nkuringo, Buhoma, Ruhija and Rushaga. The details of which family is in which sector can be found on the “My gorilla Family” App. The details of the family size can also be found in the same app.

With the “My gorilla Family app”, you have the opportunity to compare life in the different gorilla families so that you may make an informed decision on which family to visit while on your safari in Uganda.

Many people have been simply ticking gorilla trekking off their bucket list without knowing that there are close to 20 distinct experiences in totality based on the unique gorilla trekking experience each family has to offer regardless of being in the same sector.

At the moment, most gorilla trekking enthusiasts have been focusing more on sector accessibility, the landscape in the particular sector, and accommodation. But with the insight that the “My gorilla family” app is offering; you get to choose your gorilla trekking sector based on an informed desire to meet particular members of a given gorilla family face to face. With the “My gorilla family” app, you get a chance to connect with the mountain gorillas as individuals rather than simply a collection of gorillas in the impenetrable and bamboo forests.

The app also helps you to zero down on the family you wish to visit in a particular sector rather than simply visiting a sector without any idea on which family you are going to meet during your gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi Forest. It also removes the myth of the Nyakagezi family in Mgahinga gorilla national park crossing to either Rwanda or Democratic Republic of Congo since it gives you a continuous update on where the family is.


One comment

  1. The idea is cool, hope it brings in the required resources in terms of conservation of the gentle giants, mountain gorillas.

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