Silverback Gorillas in Uganda

Silverback Gorillas in Uganda: Silverback gorillas are the male gorillas that have matured into adults with silver patches at their backs and that is the main origin of their name. A particular gorilla family can have more than one silverbacks but amongst them, there must be at least one dominant silverback responsible for group management and decision making as the rest follows his orders. However, these silverback gorillas in Uganda are always seen fighting for management and the stronger silverback wins hence the weak one separating with some of the members or even alone and starts its own new family.

During a mountain gorilla trekking tour in Uganda within Bwindi impenetrable National park and Mgahinga gorilla national park, always look amongst the gorilla family members and you will easily recognize the silverback gorillas with magnificent size, and greyish or silvered colored patches at the back. Silverback Mountain gorillas are large in size with their bodies filled with long fur for protection against coldness and can enable them to live in places of high elevation since their bodies can withstand coldness. These silverback gorillas are always strong and very active. 

Why do silverback gorillas charge?

There are several reasons as to why silverback gorillas charge and this is usually displayed by their reaction and physical gesture as they beat their chests to notify the other group members including the female adults, juveniles and other silverbacks about a threat or an intruder in their habitat and that process is known as mountain gorilla charging.

Once a dominant silverback gorilla charges, all other family members become aware that there is something wrong and in the process, the adult females, juveniles and younger silverbacks have to bend low and obey their leader, the dominant silverback.

What should one do when silverback gorillas in Uganda charge?

In case, a silverback gorilla charges while on a Uganda gorilla trekking safari, travelers are advised to follow the rules and advice given by their tour guides in order to stay safe while in the jungle. If a silverback gorillas charges, he can even end up fighting though it is uncommon for a silverback to charge thus several trekkers will rarely spot a charged silverback due to the fact that these gorillas available for trekking have already been habituated and used to humans. 

But in case of bad luck befalls you and a silverback gorilla charges while on a Ugandan gorilla trekking safari, do the following;

  • First and foremost, do not panic as any signs of panic will make trigger the silverback to fight you for defense. 
  • Bend down low on your kneels and start moving like an ape
  • Keep quiet and move backs in a slow motion keeping away your eyes from direct contact with the gorillas until the gorilla regains its confidence in you
  • All in all remain confident until the silverback gorilla relaxes 

Why do silverback gorillas fight?

Since silverback gorillas in Uganda are known as the overall controller of the gorilla families/groups, they are normally seen fighting due to the following reasons;

Fighting for protection: a particular gorilla family must have at least one dominant silverback that is the head of a particular gorilla family. Since a dominant silverback gorilla is known as the head of the gorilla family, it is therefore responsible for all decision makings and protection in the gorilla family of about 8 to 30 and even more members comprising of adult females, juveniles and younger silverbacks. To some extent, silverback gorillas fight to gain dominance from other silverbacks and defend other family members and even reaches the extent of losing their lives while protecting other family members against any attack from poachers, hunters and other loner silverbacks that try to interrupt with the family’s peace. 

Mating: A dominant silverback gorilla is always responsible for mating all the adult female gorillas in its particular group/ family. In fact, only one silverback can in pregnant all the females adult gorillas in its group and in several cases, you will witness different silverbacks fighting for females for mating which leads into family breakouts as a family should have only one father responsible for mating and fathering all the offsprings in his family. This implies that more than one adult silverbacks will fight in order to take over the responsibilities of producing thus splitting the family.

Protection against loner silverbacks: This is usually seen when a group has more than one adult silverbacks that end up fighting for leadership and in this case expect a real war amongst the silverbacks in a similar family. In this case, a stronger silverback wins and the weaker one has to move on and create his own family since he cannot manage being controlled by a fellow silverback. In some cases, even some silverbacks fight their dad in order to take over 

When is the best time to trek silverback gorillas

Trekking silverback gorillas is such a fascinating adventure that requires timely preparations in order to have a fun-filled experience in the wildness and it can be done at any given period of time all year round let it be a dry season or wet season.

Dry season: Dry seasons are always the best months to trek silverback gorillas in the wild as the parks be easy to trail through while searching for the endangered silverback gorillas. Trekking silverback gorillas is not different from any gorilla trekking adventure at the same time you search for the silverback, you actually encounter the entire gorilla family. 

The best months to trek silverback gorillas in Uganda is in the months of June, July, August, mid-December to mid-February. In these months the hiking trails are less slippery and the blush is minimal for easy viewing while taking photographs in the jungle.

However, the months of June, July, August, and September are termed as the high season for gorilla trekking hence travelers need to pay and book their trekking permits in time to avoid missing out on the memorable adventures.

Wet season: this wet season is also not bad to trek the silverback gorillas in Uganda as this season is always termed as the low season with few travelers thus the park is less congested and in some occasions, you will find very few people on a trek thus offering a clear view of the gorillas. However, the only problem with this low season is that the rain is sometimes heavy thus interrupting the hike through the jungle as the trails get very muddy, slippery and hard to hike. These rainy months include late February to May and then October and November. This is also known as the low season.

Where can one trek silverback mountain gorillas in Africa?

Habitats: Silverback mountain gorillas easily trek in three different countries which include Uganda a home to more than half of the mountain gorillas that exist in the world today, Rwanda the second-best place to trek silverback gorillas and DRC the third destination.

Silverback Gorillas in Uganda
Silverback Gorillas in Uganda

In any of these three countries, silverback gorillas are identified amidst other gorilla family members.

Silverback gorillas trekking in Uganda:  In Uganda, silverback mountain gorillas are spotted in Bwindi impenetrable national park which has four sectors all open for silverback gorilla trekking at any given period of time. These sectors include Nkuringo, Rushaga, Ruhija, and Buhoma. Similar silverback are found in Mgahinga gorilla national park within Virunga massif. 

Silverback gorilla trekking in Rwanda: In Rwanda, Silverback Mountain gorillas are found in Volcanoes national park thus booking a gorilla trekking safari to Volcanoes National park will lead you to trek the silverbacks in their natural habitat.

Silverback gorilla trekking in DRC: In DRC, silverback mountain gorillas are trekked in Virunga national park.

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is still the highly recommended destination to encounter several numbers of silverback gorillas as they prefer inhabiting places of high altitude so book your silverback gorilla trekking trip now and experience the unbeaten expedition in the pearl of Africa at ease. Check out our 3 days Bwindi gorilla trekking safari and enjoy the best trek of your life amidst silverback gorillas