We cannot rule out that gorilla trekking is the most done tourism activity in east and central Africa. Since 1991 when gorilla tourism was officially introduced, an encounter with these endangered species has become a dream for most if not all travelers on African safaris. The high demand for gorilla tours is evidenced by tourism statistics, which show that 99% of African safaris comprise of gorilla watching to the rain forests of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. A gorilla safari take you deep into Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and the Virunga conservation area shared by Volcanoes national park Rwanda, Mgahinga gorilla national park Uganda and Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo. Travelers who have trekked mountain gorillas before review this encounter as “magical” and “life changing” which encourage many more to book future gorilla trips. For the first time gorilla trekkers and those who intend to do it future, Gorilla Trek Africa brings you detailed tips to ensure enjoyable and successful gorilla trekking safari. These include among others:
Where to trek mountain gorillas
Knowing where mountain gorillas live is the first step for a first time gorilla trekker. You must know gorilla destinations so as to select a destination you want to visit. Mountain gorillas live in only three countries of Rwanda, Uganda and Congo. This means that whoever wants to trek gorillas must visit any of these countries for this memorable encounter. Alternatively, you can visit all countries for accurate trekking experience comparisons between the three countries. The trekking experience in each country is unique in its own kind and varies from country to another. If you intend to trek gorillas in Bwindi forest park, you will visit any of the four sectors i.e Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija and Nkuringo sectors, which together make up Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
The cost of gorilla trekking
Having known where mountain gorillas live, consider how much it costs to trek gorillas in each country. The cost of a gorilla tour in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo vary based on different things. First of all, each country has a different cost or a gorilla permit based on their standards. Rwanda sells the most expensive gorilla permit at $1500 for all travelers hence the best spot for luxury gorilla safaris. In Uganda, the price of a gorilla permit depend on a traveler’s nationality i.e $600 for foreign non residents, $500 for foreign non residents and ush250, 000 for all East Africans. A gorilla permit is a must have for each traveler and no one can be allowed to see mountain gorillas without a permit. Also potential travelers are advised to book for permits as early as 6 months prior to the trekking date.
When to go for gorilla trekking
Gorilla trekking is done all year round from January to December. However, travelers are reminded of the difference in seasons (high and low seasons). High season in the months of June, July, September, December, January, and December is a dry season with less or no rains hence the best time to walk through the dense forests with less difficulty. On the other hand, the low season in the months of March. April, May, October, and November is a rainy season, which makes trekking difficult. However, travelers are assured of gorilla permit availability in the low season and discounted rates in hotels/lodges, which is not a case in the high season. Travelers who intend to trek in the high season are advised to book for permits as early as possible since there is high demand for permits and accommodation services.
What to pack for gorilla trekking
Having a well-equipped packing list is one of the key features for a successful gorilla trekking tour. Among the things you should pack for your gorilla tour are hiking boots to ease movements in the slippery muddy forest grounds, gardening gloves to avoid being hurt by thorny bushes. Rain jackets protect you from unpredicted forest weather, hand gloves prevent being hurt by thorny bushes, while sun glasses and hat protect from direct sun. Also, travelers remember to carry enough drinking water and energy giving snacks to keep you strong in the hiking session.
Physical fitness is highly recommended for your gorilla watching you is to be a success. Travelers are urged to do enough exercises to ensure they are physically fit ready to hike into the high altitude regions where mountain gorillas live. Gorilla trekking is not a walk away venture but rather an adventurous activity, which involves hiking deep through the dense forests in search for mountain gorillas, which sometimes hike higher in search for food. Travelers are also reminded to inform their guides about the physical abilities so that those who are physically unfit are given gorilla families, which live, in low altitude areas.
Gorilla trekking rules
Like any other activity, gorilla trekking has rules, dos and don’ts for the safety of travelers and mountain gorillas, which were once at the verge of extinction. Travelers are urged to keep a distance of 7 meters away from gorillas to avoid the spread of communicable diseases such as flu and cough. Mountain gorillas share 98% of human genes, which make them susceptible to human diseases hence a reason to keep a distance. On reaching gorillas, travelers are reminded to keep calm and within their groups so as no to inconvenience gorillas in their natural habitats. Travelers who are sick are stopped from trekking gorillas to ensure safety. An encounter with mountain gorillas lasts for an hour after which a permit is counted invalid.
In general, gorilla trekking is a best wildlife encounter each traveler should not miss out on his/her African safari bucket list. Book a gorilla tour to Uganda, Rwanda and Congo with Gorilla Trek Africa, meet face to face with the endangered gorillas in their natural habitat and enjoy this life changing experience.
To book a wildlife safari in Uganda and Rwanda,