All you need to know about Mountain Gorilla Photography in Uganda

By Staff Writer

Mountain gorilla photography in Uganda is a special experience of its own and it sums the overall gorilla trekking adventure. Photographing mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is the most exciting moment that every trekker awaits while on Uganda gorilla tour. That is the moment for you to create your own memories. 

Finding mountain gorillas in the wild has been made easier than ever before. Tourists track only already habituated gorilla groups and the overall trek takes 2-6 hours. Once you have finally found a family of massive mountain gorillas, you settle for 1 hour enjoying face to face encounter and taking photos. 

When taking photographs of mountain gorillas, visitors are encouraged to do so while maintaining a good distance of 8-10m. During photography, how you position yourself matters a lot for incredible pictures. 

Where to go for mountain gorilla photography in Uganda

Uganda is a home to 2 mountain gorilla parks hence providing visitors with options to choose their best for gorilla photography. They include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park- where half of the world’s 1063 mountain gorillas all live. 

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are strategically positioned in the far South-western Uganda. Access to these premier mountain gorilla parks is possible by road or air and by road, you will spend 8-10 hours. 

By air, the tour operator or company you book your gorilla safari for photography with can arrange fly in safari to Bwindi or Mgahinga and flights set off from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi airfield to the 2 airstrips in the Southwest- Kihihi or Kisoro airstrips. 

Photographing mountain gorillas in Uganda

To enjoy photographing mountain gorillas, your crew or group must locate them first. It takes you 2-6 hours to trek through the jungles of Bwindi or Mgahinga while searching for these apes. You will be allocated to any of the 21 habituated gorilla families in Uganda to track while on gorilla photography safari. 

It should be noted that every mountain gorilla group has its own composition and special story to share with the world. Photographing mountain gorilla can be simple at the same time challenging depending on the location of the gorilla family. 

If you are allocated to a gorilla group that is hard to find, then expect to spend more hours in the jungles searching for it. For this case, your level of physical fitness does play a significant part. Besides, your trek involves winding through the tropical rain-forest, slippery steep slopes etc depending on the season. 

Once you have come across a gorilla family, first ensure that your cameras don’t have flashlight or turn it off before starting your photo taking exercise. Using flashlight cameras during photography can make mountain gorillas get irritated or charge against you and this is not part of the experience any nature lover on photography safari would wish to be in. 

Tips for mountain gorilla photography in Uganda 

Vegetation- when you embark on your mountain gorilla photography Uganda safari, expect to encounter dense forests, steep slopes etc. You may get distracted by objects such as tree branches, leaves, vines and more. Besides, some gorilla families prefer living in high elevation which means, you have to be physically fit to conquer the kind of terrain in order to get there.

Keep a distance of 8-10m- the standard measure to protect mountain gorillas from infected diseases. This should be observed not only during mountain gorilla photography but at all times while on search for these rare apes. 

Gear & protective equipment- considering the nature of gorilla habitat, you must be fully prepared for anything. Firstly, don’t forget to come with rain jacket or rain coat/poncho in case of rain, good camera with rain-roof bag, extra batteries for the camera, waterproof hiking boots. 

Position yourself well- mountain gorillas can change position and you will want to capture every bit of them, the face expression etc. Feel free to take as many shots as you to allow you choose your best for remembrance. 

Telephoto zoom lens- finding mountain gorillas isn’t predictable. At times they move searching for what to feed on. This is why you need a good camera with telephoto lens for you to capture them even when they are found a bit far from you. Preferably, you may need 400mm lenses to help you capture the best shots regardless of your position from these apes.

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