By Titus Kakembo
A new form of virtually tracking gorillas has been launched. Those interested will pay $2 (sh7,000). This fee will enable one to get a virtual tracking permit for both Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
“In the comfort of your car, living room or travels, one can stalk as many gorilla groups as they feel,” said Uganda Tourism Board chief executive officer Lilly Ajarova. “A percentage of your membership goes towards improving the livelihoods of communities living close to our closest cousins.”
She made the remarks during the launch of the new virtual tracking venture at Protea Kampala Skyz Hotel recently.
“This new form of responsible tourism will treat nature and environment fans to the lifestyles of more than 450 apes in the world,” stressed Ajarova. “Unlike CNN footage, members will be treated to how they: court, nurture their infants, regenerate their DNA, celebrate their birthdays, dine and dance.”
The new venture code named My Gorilla Family was the brainchild of David Gonahasa.
Gorilla tracking in Uganda remains the cheapest there is the world over. A permit costs $700 (sh2,455,000) compared to Rwanda’s that is $1,500 (sh5.2m) for one hour with them. A habituation permit varies and gives one four hours. It is strictly eight people given a chance per hour.
Talking to tracker lately is a revelation that rangers and caters are treating them like royalty.
“The hotel where I resided surprised me with a cake and a bottle of wine as the sun went down,” said Gina Norgard from the US. “It is this small treat that has made me fall in love with Uganda. I will be back.”
A Spanish influencer, Isias Arturo, was delighted to have gone gorilla tracking in Uganda.
“I have trotted the globe, but I am more than impressed with the gorillas,” said Arturo. “While going down the cliff, I met the hairy mountain elephant,” he added.
Gorilla tracking is taken as a bonus for domestic and foreign bird watchers from the US. The trip to the parks takes 8 to 10 hours to cover 550km by road. Aviation takes 45 to 60 minutes. While there, one can meet the Batwa people and see them sing and dance.