Planning a gorilla trekking safari to Africa is an extensive task for most first time travelers. YES, the process entails booking permits, accommodation, transport, guides and many more, which is normally challenging. Have you stared on the gorilla safari booking process? Well, ensure to avoid common mistakes which previous travelers made. Gorilla Trek Africa, the reliable gorilla safari company in Africa brings you a list of mistakes to avoid when planning a gorilla safari in Africa and how to avoid them. Gorilla trekking is one of the best wildlife experience, which bring in a high number of travelers to Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 5 out of total trips to Africa include a visit to see the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitats. The gentle giants only survive in the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda and the Virunga Conservation Area shared by Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda & Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The common mistakes to avoid when planning a gorilla safari to Africa include:
Choosing a wrong gorilla destination
Be very careful when choosing which gorilla destination you want to visit. Mountain gorillas live in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each destination is different in its own kind in terms of location, permit prices, terrain, permit availability, safety and the population of mountain gorillas. Uganda shelters the highest population of gorillas in the world, which guarantee availability of many gorilla permits even for last minute bookings, compared to Congo and Rwanda. In terms of accessibility, Volcanoes National Park most accessible gorilla park in Africa. The park is roughly 3 hours drive from Kigali International airport compared to 8-9 hours drive from Entebbe to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park. However, a single permit in Rwanda costs $1500 which is far expensive compared to $700 in Uganda and $4550 in Congo. Rwanda is therefore best for luxury travelers. In terms of security, Congo is the most unsafe gorilla destination in Africa. Several kidnaps and deaths have been reported in Congo compared to Uganda and Rwanda. However, Congo offers the cheapest gorilla tour experience at $450 per permit. Travelers are therefore advised to first know details about each destination before booking a gorilla trip.
Avoid booking a gorilla permit yourself
Travelers are advised to avoid booking gorilla permits in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo by themselves. Whereas gorilla permit booking experience can be done online, online booking is not reliable. Reservationists at UWA and UTB have loads of emails and more work. It’s therefore easy to misallocate your permit. The best way of booking a gorilla permit is through a travel operator who is licensed and knows by government and Conservation Bodies. In Uganda, ensure the travel agent you are booking with us member of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) while in Rwanda, the travel agency should be registered with Rwanda Tourism Board.
Booking accommodation & permits in different sectors
This mistake is commonly done in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. In this park, gorillas are scattered in four sectors i.e Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija and Rushaga, which are 3-4 meters drive apart. The best way is to book accommodation in the same sector you are trekking from to avoid long driving hours in the morning as you rush to catch up with pre gorilla trekking briefing. Gorilla Trek Africa helps you to secure rooms in any of your desired gorilla sector based on the gorilla family you are trekking. Interestingly, numerous budget, midrange and luxury lodges have been constructed in all these sectors to offer travelers with excellent food and sleeping services.
Not dressing right for the jungle
We normally tell travelers to dress right for gorilla safaris experience. Smartness in this experience is not about high heels or suits but rather dressing in jungle attires. Avoid bring open shoes, sandals and armless shirts which expose your body. Gorilla trekking is an adventure experience where you walk through thick forests with thorny bushes and muddy grounds. The right dressing for gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo include water proof closed shoes/boots, garden gloves, hat, sunglasses, scarf, rain jacket, long pants, long stocks and long sleeved shirts among others. Dressing right for the jungle is one way of ensuring a successful and a stress free gorilla encounter.
Not preparing for gorilla trekking mentally & physically
You should be ready for the adventure experience both physically and mentally. YES, gorilla trekking is not a walkway task but rather a tiresome adventure. Prepare your mind for 2-8 hiking experience through thick forests to and from seeing the endangered primates. You should also do some physical exercises to keep you fit. The experience entails hiking up and down hill, which is physically challenging for the unfit.
Reporting for gorilla trekking with no permit
You must carry a gorilla permit with you when going for gorilla trekking experience. Whereas the gorilla permit remains a property of the government, travelers are asked to come with them to the briefing. During the pre gorilla trekking briefing, each traveler is asked to show his/her permit and submit it to the park management. Anybody without a permit will not be allowed to take part in gorilla trekking.
Not disclosing your challenges to the park rangers
Travelers with any kind of challenge especially in hiking are advised to disclose this weakness to the park rangers before the trek starts. This helps the ranger guides to allocate you a gorilla family suitable for you. Gorilla treks are categorized into short, medium and long depending on the ease and difficulty of trekking. The young and energetic are given long treks while the elderly and physically unfit travelers are given short treks giving them chance to also enjoy this lifetime adventure.
Conclusively, gorilla safari bookings need guide by an expert. Contact us at Gorilla Trek Africa for all booking assistance and guide. We assist you secure gorilla permits, lodge/hotel rooms and also making for you tailor-made gorilla trekking packages to Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.