Practical Guide To Gorilla Trekking In Africa

Gorilla trekking has always statured to be a unique encounter that many adventure travelers have embarked to undertake.

gorilla trekking

Gorilla trekking has become on the Africa’s darling adventure (the highlight of the rest of the African adventures). However, gorilla trekking safaris remained to be  scarce adventures limited to the volcanic forested zone of the African which is combined by three special countries of DR Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. There only four national parks, three countries, two zones and one continent in the world where one can go trek the mountain gorillas.

For those that are new to gorilla tourism, gorilla trekking is not for the faint-hearted. It needs enough preparation psychologically, physically and financially. When preparing for the gorilla trekking, no space needs to be left blank! Everything should be well understood to facilitate unbiased encounter. Where to trek gorillas? How much is the gorilla permit? When is the best time to trek the mountain gorillas? Here is every thing that you need to know about gorilla trekking. This article aims at informing you whatever you need to know to enable you plan the ultimate trip;

Which is the best destination to trek gorillas?

Gorillas are the hugest amongst all African primates. These wild species have always been fascinating wild encounters anyone would wish to face within their nature setting and anything things about the mountain gorilla gorillas other than this is impossible. Gorillas are only endemic to the African continent and are classified into two species; the eastern gorilla and the western gorilla. The Western gorillas located in the central and western Africa, and the Eastern gorilla which can only be located in a special tiny forests of the central Africa in only three countries of Rwanda, DR Congo and Uganda.

When it comes to tourism, mountain gorillas are the most popular! This sub species of the Eastern gorilla is only found in the forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda and the great Virunga Massif.

The Virunga Massif is protected within three national parks; Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda, the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and Virunga National Park of DRC.

Before getting started with planning a gorilla safari, one needs to start with making a good choice of where to go based on these three mentioned countries.

Determining which destination offering the best gorilla trekking experience has always been some frenzied decision, but many travelers have decided to take on a particular destination with personal reasons that can include safety, comfort, costs of the permit and accessibility.

Currently, trekking from Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park has posed to be for mostly up-market trekkers and a gorilla permit is sold at US$1500. It is also a good option for travelers with less time in Africa since the park is just a 3 hours drive from Kigali, its capital.

Uganda has always accommodated almost all kind of trekkers including budget travelers and its gorilla permit costs US$700. It is also the best option for those looking to traditional safaris since Uganda’s national parks are worthy spending some more little time during your holiday.

The Democratic Republic of Congo seems the be the cheapest destination compared to other countries but safety and accessibility reasons have limited many people from trekking gorillas in the Virunga National Park.

How much is gorilla trekking permit

gorilla trekking

Though the huge amount paid to procure a permit to trek from any gorilla park, this has not limited travelers from preparing themselves for the world’s most thrilling wild encounter. Buying a permit alternates from countries as Rwanda charges US$1500 per person to trek gorilla per day.

Trekking from Uganda’s two national parks of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park the permit costs US$700, and trekking in the Congo’s Virunga National Park the permit costs US$450.

There is also a chance for gorilla habituation experience where trekkers are allowed to take part and spend with the gorillas for more 4 hours. Gorilla habituation experience is only available in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National where trek almost spend a day following the gorillas.

When is the best time to go gorilla trekking?

Gorillas can be trekked all year around, in the region there are two weather seasons; dry season and wet season.

The dry season is always the more adorable seasons for an incredible gorilla trekking. The dry season runs through the months of June to mid-September and December to February. These months tend to receive high number of trekkers where the almost all permits are booked on a daily basis. The dry months tend to experience Spartan sunshine making it best and finest season to trek gorilla as there is limited rain pours.

In addition, the wet commonly termed as low seasons due to low turn up of trekkers due to various factors. The wet season is mainly experienced in the months of March to May and from Mid-September to November. Heavy down pours are experienced with low temperatures, which tend to fall to about 17OC, forests are misty and moist all day.

For trekkers opting for something more challenging wet season is perfect for trekkers. Experience has shown that treks to see the gorillas are shorter since there is plenty of food within their habitats and thus do not roam far like within the dry season.

How does it feel to go gorilla trekking?

Gorilla trekking is one incredible experience you cannot just imagine but need to spare a day and witness. It all starts by procuring a permit from the governmental organization that regulates gorilla tourism. For those looking to going on a gorilla safari during the peak season (July to October), it is important to place your booking early enough.

A day starts with a breakfast from your lodge and then rush to the starting point for trekking etiquette. You will join other tourists to make a group of eight tourists to trek a single habituated gorilla family. Mountain gorillas are known to wander for a distance of up to 3km from where they had their previous night. Guided by an armed ranger, embark on the hike through the forest to start the search for the giants.

The time for the trek to see the mountain gorillas is unpredictable. It can take just about 30 minutes to long hikes of up to 5 hours. The hike can be hectic though adventurous! At times, one must go through undulating hills that are slippery, muddy, moist, misty and unpredictable! There is therefore need for enough preparation and bravery. One must carry the basics for a hike, which include a waterproof jacket, enough drinking water and some sugary eats for energizing.

On finding the gorillas much energy is used, exhaustion is the one everyone must wear. However, a glance eye to eye with the forest giant will make you forget whatever you went through.

Upon meeting the gorillas, trekkers are strictly given one hour to see the majestic apes! In the presence of the gorillas, you are free to take photographs and experience whatever the family individuals can offer to visitors.

After the one hour, you will embark on the hike back to the starting point.

How about gorilla habituation experience?

This new adventure is only done in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It offers visitors an opportunity to have more time with the gorillas on an experience guided by researchers and rangers.

Gorilla habituation is simply training the gorillas that they become used to human presence. Researchers and park ranger who start following up a wild gorilla family learning its characters, their movements, and general behaviors of the family do it. The habituation process can last of not less than two years until when the gorillas are used to human presence.

Gorilla habituation is only done in the Rushaga Sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. A limited number of only four trekkers accompanied by a limited number of researcher embark into the forest for a fully day encounter. Upon finding the gentle giants, trekkers have up to four hours to follow the gorillas studying them and learning about them.

Gorilla trekking is ever the best African safari adventure one can do which gives a lifetime memories. It is also important to know that gorillas are the closest human relatives sharing almost 98% of human characters. You can plan a gorilla trek and get to experience this remarkable wild experience in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo.



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