Gorilla trekking is one of the rare wildlife experiences worth taking part while on safari in Africa. A trek to see mountain gorillas is remarkably a lifetime experience any traveler on African safari shouldn’t miss out. Mountain gorillas exist in only Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park in southwestern Uganda; Volcanoes National Park in northwestern Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Today, not more than 1004 of these rare creatures still thrive in the wild and only trekked in any of the four national parks. To have the best of this primate safari in Africa, a lot has to be done.
Below is how you can enjoy gorilla trekking to the fullest;
Make gorilla trekking a memorable experience
Trekking mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda or DRC requires adequate preparation and most importantly, observing safety measures is a must do thing when it comes to this life changing adventure. There are a number of set rules and regulations for trekkers to observe while on trek and with mountain gorillas. They include among others-observing the one hour of magical encounter with mountain gorillas, only eight visitors are allowed to track one habituated family, no flashlight camera is allowed when taking photos, maintain a distance of 7 meters away from these creatures at all times, do not trek gorillas if you are not feeling well/sick and many others. Other significant measures to allow you have enjoyable gorilla trek include not carrying any sort of dangerous items, be physically fit and where possible do some practice before embarking on gorilla trek, keep your voices low at all times and many more.
You can save on booking a 2 Day Gorilla Tour from Kigali or a 3 day Bwindi Gorilla Tour in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
What to pack for gorilla trekking
For complete and enjoyable gorilla trek, you need to pack appropriately starting with essential items first. The things not to miss out in your packing list for gorilla trekking include water proof hiking boots, camera with no flash light, drinking water, energy giving snacks, insect repellents, first aid/medical kit, gorilla permits (each costs $600 per person), sunscreen glasses, hat, walking stick which you will find at the park headquarters, sweater, valid passport and other relevant travel documents, gardening gloves to mention but a few.
Know the best time to go for gorilla trekking
Trekking mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC can be done at any time of the year. But it is ideal to visit Uganda, Rwanda and DRC to trek mountain gorillas during the dry season which starts from June-September and December-February. Trekking gorillas during this period is ideal the fact that the habitat where these creatures thrive remain relatively drier thus making it easier to hike through the dense rainforest and steep slopes. However, it is also possible to trek mountain gorillas in the wet or rainy season that begins in the month of March-May and October-November. The challenge with the rainy season is that there is plenty of rainfall which makes the ground muddy and steep slopes slippery.
Book your gorilla safari in advance
To get the best of gorilla adventure, you need to book your permit in advance. It is advisable that you book your permit at least 2-3 months or even a year before actual trek. Gorilla permits in Uganda cost $600 per person and one permit is equal to one habituated family (Uganda has about 21 gorilla groups); in Rwanda permits cost $1500 per person and in DR Congo you need $400 to secure a permit.
How fit should you be for gorilla trek
Visitors intending to trek mountain gorillas should be physically fit. To be on safer side, you can do some exercise before embarking on actual trek.