Best places to spot / see Silverback Gorillas in Africa
Gorillas are among the most fascinating creatures on the planet. They are the strongest and largest beasts, yet they can also be gentle. What distinguishes gorillas from other primates is that they behave similarly to humans and share over 97 percent of our genetic makeup.
There are two primary species of gorillas found in Africa, the western gorillas mainly found in the western part of Africa, in Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and other countries, and eastern gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo.
The western gorillas have two subspecies: the Cross River gorilla and the western lowland gorilla. Eastern gorillas also have two subspecies which include the Mountain gorillas and Eastern lowland gorillas. Silverback gorillas are part of the Mountain Gorillas.
Mountain gorillas are non-territorial and live in troops made up of 1 to 4 adult males known as silverbacks, some juvenile males known as blackbacks, several adult females, and young ones.
Adult males have a large crest on top of their heads and a “saddle” of gray or silver hairs on the lower half of their backs, hence the term “silverback.” A Silverback Gorilla is the troop’s eldest and strongest adult male, and he is generally in charge.
Additionally, the bond between the silverback and his females forms the basis of the Gorilla’s social life.
Silverbacks are usually more aggressive than other group members because they are responsible for the troop’s protection. As the leader, the silverback makes all group decisions; he also receives the majority of the food and can stop any undesirable from the other gorillas.
Before establishing his troop, a male must have a well-established home range and sufficient power to combat any competition. As a result, most silverbacks are solitary for around four years until they reach the age of 15 before forming their own group.
Where to spot a Silverback Gorilla in Africa
Mountain Gorillas are only found in 3 countries in Africa: the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Uganda. Virunga Mountains which stretches across all three countries is home to the largest population of Mountain Gorillas.
A visit to any of the three countries presents the greatest opportunity to see a Silverback Gorilla. Below is a list of the best spots in Africa to see a Silverback Gorilla.
Volcanoes National Park-Rwanda
The Volcanoes National park in Rwanda is the best place to see a silverback gorilla. This national park is home to twelve gorilla families, and each has a unique name. Tracking gorillas in Volcanoes national park is safe and accessible.
Experienced guides will guide you through the tracking while educating you about gorillas and their habitat. However, one must get a tracking permit to enjoy this amazing experience. The park is open for a visit at any time of the year.
We recommend visits during the special annual Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony.
Mgahinga National Park-Uganda
Despite being the smallest park in Uganda, Mgahinga national park is among the most scenic and captivating parks. Mgahinga national park is located in the southwestern part of the country connecting to the Virunga Mountains in Congo.
The park is home to the Nyakagenzi group of mountain gorillas. The tracking opportunities in Mgahinga parks offers its guest a great chance to sport silverback gorillas. Additionally, you also need to get tracking permits in advance.
Bwindi Impenetrable National park- Uganda
Popularly known for its gorilla trekking experience, Bwindi national park is one of Uganda’s best national parks to visit. The park is located in the country’s south-western region on the edge of the rift valley.
Bwindi is home to more than half of the world’s mountain gorilla population. Just an hour away from Entebbe on a chartered flight, Bwindi offers the best experience of interacting with a silverback in its habitat. You also need to acquire a trekking permit in advance to experience the best trekking safari.
Virunga National Park – Democratic Republic of Congo ( DRC )
Part of the Virunga mountains in the democratic republic of congo, Virunga National park is another destination to spot a silverback gorilla. Virunga National park is located in the eastern part of DRC in Kinshasa.
The park has rich biodiversity and is among the most adventurous national parks in Africa. However, due to the country’s state of security, we advise tourists to travel as per their country’s advisory.
A safari to Rwanda or Uganda would provide you with the finest opportunity to see a silverback gorilla. In addition, both countries have other national parks with unique sightings that you might include in your Gorilla tracking expedition.
Our safari experts are ready to assist you in planning the greatest gorilla safari in Africa.
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