Gorilla Trekking FAQS
What is Gorilla Trekking?
Gorilla trekking involves going on a guided hike through dense rainforests to spend time with a specific gorilla family in their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking is dubbed a Once in a Life Time Experience for some reasons; no wildlife experience is as thrilling as trekking in the Mountain Gorillas’ Kingdom and see unbothered groups of Gorillas feeding, socializing and grooming their young ones. Well, you might have been to the world renown parks of Serengeti in Tanzania, Masai Mara in Kenya, Kruger in South Africa, Murchison Falls in Uganda and others but you have not had one of life’s greatest privileges – coming face to face with these Gentle Giants in their natural habitat.
Gorilla trekking is a half-day activity that involves one hour given to the visitors to spend time with them as they learn about their life styles, feeding habits, see them play as well as enjoying memorable photography. Gorilla habituation is a full-day activity involving 4 hours to spend with gorillas and can be done in accompany of researchers, park rangers, and guides. Note that Gorilla habituation can only be done in Uganda at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Other Mountain Gorilla Parks are Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Why do people go Gorilla trekking
Mountain Gorillas are closely related to humans and tracking them in ancient forests dating back to 25,000 years is like following the path of evolution. They are listed as endangered by the I.U.C.N and their population worldwide is slightly above 1000 individuals living exclusively in the rain forests of the Virunga ranges and in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. See Mountain Gorilla Facts.
Mountain Gorillas are rare, they can’t be found everywhere. Much as their number is increasing, it’s still too early to rule out threats for their extinction. So be encouraged to visit them as they still survive. Note that, it’s Gorilla Tourism that contribute to their survival because the proceeds from Gorilla trekking are used for aiding their conservation. Why not book a Gorilla Trekking Trip now!
Where is Gorilla trekking done?
Uganda has two Gorilla trekking destinations; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. They are not anywhere in the country’s zoos or captivity because no other place meets the required conditions for their survival except Mgahinga and Bwindi forests. Apart from Uganda, Mountain Gorillas worldwide are only in two other countries – Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park) and DR Congo (Virunga National Park). The Gorilla parks can be accessed by both road and air but Gorilla trekking is only done on foot.
What is the cost/price for the gorilla trekking permit?
The cost of gorilla trekking permits in Uganda is USD700 per person per day to a foreign non-resident (international tourist), Foreign residents USD600, and East African Members USDGX250,000 per person per day. Rwanda gorilla permit costs USD $1,500 per person per trek and Congo costs USD $400 per person per day. Gorilla Habituation Experience costs USD1,500 per person per day and is only offered in Uganda at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Is Gorilla trekking worth the money?
The answer is yes! Gorilla trekking experience is worth all the money. Viewing those human-like creatures in all their wild glory is unequalled. Just know there is no such wildlife encounter in Africa that is as purifying and intimate as sitting or standing a few meters with a family of Gorillas and seeing your human nature reflected in all they do. The Gorilla encounters are priceless. Just imagine having a memorable photography and video capturing while observing the mighty silverback and his whole family of females, young males and the babies going on with their everyday interactions.
How is the Gorilla Trekking Day like?
The Gorilla trekking day starts with a briefing about the trek. Groups get divided according to fitness levels, and each group gets assigned a family of gorillas to track for the day. The number of visitors to each Gorilla family per day is restricted to 8 people. Hiring a porter and a walking stick is highly recommended. The porter is optional but you support the community by hiring one.
Each morning, a group of trackers are sent out to find your Gorilla family. You head in their direction until they know where the Gorillas are. You start on large well-used paths, and slowly branch off onto smaller paths as you get closer. The final stretch is usually bushwalking on steep, sometimes slippery terrain. All seems like hard work but the magic and tranquility given off by the Gorillas after finding them is priceless.
How difficult is gorilla trekking?
Gorilla trekking involves hiking through difficult terrain, thick vegetation, water streams, hills and valleys. The trek can take from 30 minutes to 8 hours depending on the gorilla’s movements. Therefore, the activity can be very challenging and strenuous leaving one exhausted especially if they are not used to walking for long hours. Gorilla trekking is however doable to any moderately fit person. Also, trekkers are provided with walking sticks to help them during the trek and they are free to hire porters. Porters can help to lift your backpacks and even offer a hand in the hard-to-navigate areas.
How long is a gorilla trek?
The length of the trek can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. Your allocated family may be near or far, they may be moving away or towards you as you are walking, and the trackers may have issues finding them quickly. As a result, you may find them with in an hour or it could turn into a long trek of up to 8 hours. So go prepared with enough water and food for the day.
How do I prepare for gorilla trekking?
Preparing for Gorilla Trekking can be taken in the context of knowing when to visit, where to stay, permit acquisition, know what to pack and checking your overall health. First, you are advised to check the availability of Gorilla permits and book through your trusted tour operator who can also recommend the best places/lodges for your stay. Pack the right clothes (long sleeved tops and long pants), rain gear, insect repellants, among others. Lastly check and physically prepare your body and mind for a thrilling but strenuous trek.
How do I book a gorilla permit?
Uganda Gorilla permits can be booked through contact or emailing Uganda Wildlife Authority Offices ‘’UWA’’ or with help of a reliable and licensed tour operator. Gorilla permits are not sold/issued to individual tourists but to only licensed tour operators in those countries. In Uganda, Gorilla permits are only issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and in Rwanda by the Rwanda Development Board. In Congo, permits are secured through Virunga National Park authorities.
what is the age limit for Gorilla Trekking?
Gorilla trekking is restricted to any individuals below 15 years.
What to carry for gorilla trekking?
There is a lot to consider when packing for a Gorilla Safari, useful essential items include long sleeve shirt, trousers and a good pair of lightweight walking boots, a rain jacket, a poncho, insect repellent, hand gloves, a sweater, warm clothes, hat, sunglasses among others.
What is the best time of year to see gorillas?
The best time for Gorilla trekking is during the two dry seasons; between December and February and between June to August or September. During the dry season, the trails are navigable. However, note that there is no guarantee of finding the forest dry because the nature of the terrain and the forest itself are rain stimulators. It can rain any time regardless of the season. If you can’t make it in the known dry months, be encouraged to visit any time of the year.
How long can visitors spend with the gorillas?
A group of eight people is allowed a maximum of one hour with the gorillas. Trackers must be over the age of 15. Note; Gorilla trekking activity is done in a maximum group size of eight people in both Uganda and Rwanda in the company of park rangers, guides and porters.
Is gorilla trekking safe?
Yes, Gorilla trekking is safe and is done in the company of expert guides. Remember trekking takes place to only the habituated families. These get used to human presence through the habituation process. Also, the Gorilla Trekking Rules in place guide the visitors on the best way to keep with the Gorillas. With the right mindset therefore, your experience with the gorillas will be safe and memorable.
How many gorilla permits are available in Uganda?
There are around 152 gorilla permits available in Uganda and over 22 habituated gorilla groups available for tourism in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Mgahinga National Park has one gorilla group and only eight permits available on a particular day of trekking.
How many gorillas are in Uganda?
Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is found in the southwestern region of Uganda and is renowned as a home to more than half world’s highest population of mountain gorillas. It is home to over 650 individual mountain gorillas of the remaining total of about 1065 gorillas that exists in the wild. The remaining number exist in Rwanda and Congo. The higher population of Gorillas in Uganda has made Bwindi the most desired Gorilla trekking park among the four.
Is it safe to track gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda?
Absolutely yes. It is very safe to do gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda. First of all, trekking takes place to the habituated families. Such families are unbothered by human presence before them so they can cause no harm to the visitors unless provoked. And where the Gorillas become hostile or aggressive, there are rangers who are well armed to defend the visitors. The same rangers guard visitors in case of any encounter with wild Gorillas and fierce animals like the forest elephants, buffaloes and others. Above all, the Gorilla National Parks are heavily guarded against any form of insecurity.
Are Mountain Gorillas people-friendly?
Yes, Gorillas are generally known to be calm, peaceful, and friendly primates. Gorillas only become aggressive towards human beings when they feel threatened or agitated.
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