89 YEAR OLD MEHTA AND WIFE ENJOY MAIDEN GORILLA TRACKING EXPERIENCE IN BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK.
September 2021. Lugazi, Eastern Uganda: Mr. Mahendra N. Mehta aged 89 & Wife Sunayana Mehta 87 of the Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited (SCOUL) together with 5 other members of the family comprising of 3 Mehta family generations recently revelled in the unique mountain gorilla trekking adventure in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
The aged couple that has lived in Uganda for 62 years and now in their late 80’s hadn’t tracked mountain gorillas before despite visiting other tourist destinations in in Uganda. The family was encouraged to take on this adventure following recent adventure trip by their grandson who encourage the family to embark on this once in a lifetime experience. For 3 days and 2 nights, the family experienced the thrilling gorilla tracking activity in the thick tropical rain forest and also tapped onto the same opportunity to celebrate their grandson’s 18th birthday in an extraordinary way.
Mr. Mehta together with wife Sunayana, and family not only enjoyed the beautiful sights and sounds of nature, diverse bird species, tranquility, gorgeous unique tea plantations but also enjoyed interactions with the local community.
“Gorillas are quite a unique animal species as they keep climbing up and down stem branches, moulding, playing around, rolling up and down like a dice, feeding on leaves and breaking down branches. The thick tropical rainforest of Bwindi has the most beautiful scenic views and the feeling on untouched nature is incredible,” Mr. Mehta said.
He added, “A whole lot of young people in Uganda especially in the middle and upper class segments of proper financial capabilities prefer spending hundreds of dollars on foreign trips and destinations, honey moon and holiday vacations, in foreign land yet we have all these beautiful creatures, diverse birdlife species, natural fresh water lakes, falls and rivers, amazing wildlife with all the big 5+2; not forgetting the picturesque mountains like Rwenzori; among others. Uganda is the place to be,”
Mr. Mehta noted that peace with great security is a big plus for the thriving of Uganda’s tourism. “Uganda is a very secure country thanks to President Museveni and the entire government for the good Investment environment. The Uganda we saw in the 1970’s is way much different from the current one as there’s a lot to lay our pride on and talk about positively all across the World.”
On improvements, Mr. Mehta urged Government to invest more on infrastructural development such as; proper road networks, internet connectivity and also support the private sector to come up with good luxurious tourist accommodation facilities that can cater for a certain class of visitors in order to favourably compete on the continent.
Excited Sunayana Mehta said that seeing the silverback male gorilla seated in calmness while the female adult gorilla watched over the baby gorillas play, jump over branch to branch, breakdown stems fending for food, roll up and down each other is quite a unique amazing experience and qualifies Uganda as amazing medley of wonders.
She added, “I fell in love with the tranquility, topography, local community above all experienced another set of indigenous life on the Country side right from Clouds mountain gorilla lodge to mixing and mingling with friendly and charming locals.
She applaud the Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers for their support and Clouds Lodge for the customer service and unique construction of the lodge. She said, “The beauty about this lodge is inexplicable, geographically positioned on the rock edges and we lived high in the inter-cloud; which gave us another taste of what life is in the real cloud atmosphere. We surely plunged into real luxury in the wild.”
About tracking mountain gorillas in Uganda
Destination Uganda, also dubbed the ‘’Primate Capital’’ is home to 53.9% of the World’s remaining mountain gorilla population that resides alongside human nature in the dense vegetation of Uganda’s tropical rainforest at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage site.
According to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) 2018 Gorilla census, numbers were 1,004 individuals with two populations although there has been a baby boom recently with seven new born babies born since January 2019 according to the Uganda Wildlife Service (UWS) and five new baby gorilla births registered by Uganda Wildlife Authority in 2020, not forgetting the demise of arch Gorillas such as Mizano and Rafiki silverback gorillas.
Tracking Gorillas is not only a must do because of its distinctiveness, the tracking activity takes place in five Uganda’s most pristine, scenic and beautiful mountain range spots in the World as these comprise; Ruhija, Nkuringo, Buhoma, Rushaga, and Ntebeko in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
In the wake of COVID-19, the Uganda Wildlife Authority has implemented tight Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as launched in June 2020 by the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities led by then former Minister of Tourism Col (Rtd) Tom Butiime while he unveiled SOPs for the hospitality sector and Tourism facilities in Uganda, therefore; Wearing a mask, sanitizing, maintaining a distance of upto 7 metres while tracking, limited numbers of upto 8 people per hour and maintaining silence is essential during the gorilla tracking activity. Note that a Camera flash light may lead to charge of the gorillas so tourists are encouraged to switch them off while tracking.