There are a number of questions that rise the curiosity of new travelers that aren’t familiar with gorilla trekking or may want to get up-to-date and relevant information about this unique primate experience. Here are some of the frequently asked questions about gorilla trekking and the relatable answers.

  1. WHAT IS GORILLA TREKKING?

Gorilla trekking is an activity that involves individuals hiking and trekking through the forest that are home to a gorilla, in interest to sight these gentle apes in their most natural habitat.

  1. WHAT ARE GORILLAS?

Gorillas are ground-dwelling great apes that are found in the tropical forest of equatorial Africa. These are herbivorous apes that mostly feed on forest produce such as leaves, stems, and shoots. These are the largest living primates, reaching heights of1.8 meters. These are divided into two species; eastern gorillas and western gorillas. These are furthermore divided into four other subspecies.

Gorillas are unique from all other living primates as they carry 99% DNA similar to that of human beings. This is manifested through their human-like living, gestures and more.

  1. WHAT ARE THE GORILLA TREKKING DESTINATIONS?

The western gorilla species are found in central and western Africa. With the eastern gorillas living

in East Africa.

The eastern mountain gorilla sub subspecies are located in East Africa, especially, Uganda, Rwanda, and DR. congo. Uganda holds half of the world’s mountain gorilla population in its gorilla destination. Rwanda as well hosts the mountain gorillas. However, DR. congo hosts the Eastern lowland gorillas in its gorilla destination.

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga national park are the gorilla destinations of Uganda, in the western region. Volcanoes national park in the northwestern region for Rwanda. And Virunga national park together with Kahuzi Beige national park as gorilla destinations in DR congo.

  1. HOW MUCH IS GORILLA TREKKING?

Depending on the trekking region, gorilla trekking differs in pricing according to their country location. With Rwanda setting the highest price at $1500 for all nationalities. In Uganda, gorilla permits cost $700 for the foreign nonresidents, $600 for the foreign residents, and 250,0000ugx for the East African residents.

DR, congo provides the cheapest gorilla trekking permits at $400 for foreigners and at $200 for the congo citizens.

  1. HOW TO GET A GORILLA TREKKING PERMIT?

For travelers interested in trekking the mountain gorillas from Uganda, gorilla permits can be booked directly from the Uganda wildlife authority or indirectly from the tour agents in the country. From Rwanda, gorilla trekking permits are purchased from the Rwanda development board.

It is advised to book in for a gorilla trekking permit three months prior the visit. Due to the permit shortage that surely occurs during the peak seasons.

  1. HOW LONG IS THE GORILLA TREKKING ACTIVITY?

Gorilla trekking usually begins with a short preparing at the park’s headquarters by the rangers about the do’s and don’ts while trekking the gorillas.

Trekkers are usually led through the forest trails leading to the different gorilla families. The trekking process may about 2 hours, or even for a whole day depending on the location of the families. The different gorilla families can be located at specific places, but for the fact, they are wild animals these move around the forest, which may require some good time to allocate them.

  1. HOW IS GORILLA TREKKING DIFFERENT FROM GORILLA HABITUATION EXPERIENCE?

For gorilla trekking, hikers and given a maximum of one-hour interaction with a met gorilla family. This involves a short time visit to the gorilla families of a particular gorilla destination. However, for gorilla habituation, trekkers are taken through the entire process of how the wild gorillas are made familiar with human presence to enable gorilla trekking.  With this process, four hours are given for the closes encounter with the mountain gorillas.

Gorilla habituation costs a bit higher than gorilla trekking. With their permits costing $1500 for the no foreign residents, $1000 for the foreign resident, and 750,000 for the East African residents.

  1. WHAT IS THE BEST TIME FOR GORILLA TREKKING?

Gorilla trekking is available the whole year in all the gorilla destinations. The best time for this activity would be during the dry seasons of the year. Mountain gorillas are located in higher altitudes. Trekking through the forest trails during the rainy seasons would make this process tedious.  The best months for gorilla trekking are December to February, June to September.

  1. GORILLA TREKKING GUIDELINES

There are a number of guidelines that trekkers are supposed to follow while trekking the gorillas and these include;

  • Maximum number of visitors is eight persons per gorilla group
  • Human waste should be buried 30cm (12) deep
  • Minimum age for tracking gorilla is 15 years#
  • Visitors are not supposed to visit the gorillas with a cold or any kind of infection
  • Visitors are not supposed to use flash photography
  • Visitors are limited to one hour per gorilla group per day
  • Smoking, eating, and drinking are not permitted on the tour
  • Visitors are to maintain a 7m distance from the gorillas
  • Visitors are a too cough away or cover their faces when in counter with the gorillas
  1. WHAT IS THE BEST GORILLA TREKKING GEAR?

Hiking boots

The gorilla trekking activity can take long hours, to even a whole day. The trek takes through the rugged, slippery, and muddy trails that are not easily accessible. Using preferred hiking boots helps to enhance the hiking journey through uneven forest trails.

Clothing gear

Since trekkers move through the forest with different flora, that is composed of thorny, picky, and irritating plants. Good and comfortable clothing gear is recommended. A pair of long trousers and long-sleeved shirts is recommended to keep trekkers protected and comfortable for the entire trekking jungle journey.

A waterproof jacket is as well necessary since the rain forests are located in the tropics and heavy rains can be expected any time of the day.

Insect repellant

The jungle forest where the mountain gorillas are found harbors quite a number of mammals, where insects cannot be resisted. An insect repellent helps to keep the irritating insects from the trekker’s body while hiking

Cameras

Taking of gorilla memories from the trekking experience is one of the important moments for any gorilla safari. Taking pictures and recording videos is one of the essential parts on a gorilla trekking safari.

Energy biscuits and vitamins

These help to boost the energy levels of the trekkers.

BEST GORILLA TREKKING SECTOR

In Uganda, the Buhoma sector of Bwindi impenetrable national park is rated among the best gorilla sectors to visit while in the pearl. This sector was the first sector, open for gorilla trekking with the first-ever gorilla family, Mubare open for gorilla trekking in Uganda. Other sectors as well still pleasant to visit, with quite a number of interesting gorilla families to encounter.

In the volcanoes national park of Rwanda, there is a joint gorilla community without sectors. Visitors get to visit the harbored habituated gorilla families assigned by the park rangers.

Smilingly, there are no gorilla sectors in the gorilla parks of DR. congo. Trekkers get to visit the gorilla families located within a particular region of the park.

CAN DISABLED PEOPLE OPT FOR GORILLA TREKKING?

This is one of the quested asked by many people with disabilities interested in gorilla trekking. The good is, gorilla trekking in available Rwanda and Rwanda. The elderly with less physical energy can opt for the trekking activity with the help of appropriate gear for them.

The use of a sedan chair and bamboo stretcher is used to carry visitors with disabilities, and the elders.  Porters are used to carrying visitors on these materials. This category of people is usually assigned to trek gorilla groups that are nearer and require a shorter time to trek. In Bwindi park, the Ruhija sector is one of the recommended sectors for gorilla trekking with people with disabilities. Its gorilla families are located in the near distance.

IS GORILLA TREKKING SAFE?

Since the gorilla species are located and trekked in the dense and remote forest. Most visitors are cautious about their safety as they hike out the gorillas in a jungle.

For every trekking group, a team of rangers with guns is provided to protect the visitors from any kind of danger from their wild gorillas or any kind of form. There is always a ranger guide in the lead and at back of every trekking group. Trekkers are as well provided with safety guidelines to follow while in the jungle.

ARE GORILLAS DANGEROUS?

Gorillas are wild animals that live in densely forested areas. However, with the help of the habituation process, this helps transform the wild gorillas into apes that a “human friendly” and can adapt to human presence.

The encounter with the gorillas involves a one-hour interaction with these apes, where trekkers can see these apes feeding, resting, wrestling, and other fascinating gorilla sights. This is made possible after the wild gorilla is taken under the habituation process for three years. Where they come out comfortable with having humans around them.

Visitors are as well allowed to take pictures with gorillas though at the distance. There are a number of guidelines put in place to protect both the trekkers and the gorillas.

Trekkers are advised not to make eye contact with the gorilla or imitate their actions. A distance of 7 meters is advised when in the presence of the gorillas. However, with all the guidelines, gorillas are rather peaceful apes unless treated. No wonder gorillas are referred to as “gentle giants”.

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED TO TREK GORILLAS?

In Uganda, a group of only 8 individuals is allowed to trek a particular group a day. This number limits the number of gorilla permits available for booking.  This limited number of people cuts across the chimpanzee tracking and gorilla habituation process.

The number is limited to prevent congress in the gorilla trekking areas, which may or irritate the mountain gorillas.

WHERE TO STAY AFTER GORILLA TREKKING?

There are a number of accommodation  facilities established near the gorilla national parks. These cut from luxury, midrange to budget, lodges, guests houses, hotels, and resorts. Around Bwindi impenetrable national park, accommodation to opt for includes Bwindi view guest house, ichumbi gorilla lodge, Buhoma lodge, Silverback lodge, Rushaga gorilla haven, Bakiga lodge, Trekkers taven cottages, Rushaga gorilla lodge, Nshongi gorilla camp, Ruhija gorilla mist camp and gift of nature lodge to mention but in few.

Around volcanoes national park, visitors can have an overnight at Le Bambou gorilla lodge, Sabyinyo silverback lodge, mountain gorilla view lodge, Volcanoes Virunga lodge, Bisate lodge, mountain gorilla view among others.

In Virunga national park, accommodation available includes; Virunga hotel campsite, Mikeno lodge, Virunga lodge, Virunga inn resort, Virunga hotel and campsite, Kibumba camp, Lulimba tented camp etc.

IS IT GUARANTEED TO SEE GORILLAS ON?

In the fact, gorilla is wild animals, these usually move from one place to another. Whoever gorilla trekking is guaranteed in the Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R Congo national park, as these are protected wildlife areas.

The presence of the gorillas in these areas is guaranteed, as the gorillas have permanent stay in these areas which assures their presence the whole year.

HOW TO GET TO THE THERE?

Gorilla destinations in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR. congo can be accessed by either a road or air transfer. In Uganda, a road transfer to access Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park takes approximately 9 hours to reach the park. Covering a distance of 499.8km to reach Bwindi via a road transfer. 495.9km to reach Mgahinga national park via a road transfer.

Using an air transfer it takes only an hour and 45 minutes from Entebbe international airport to Kihihi air stripe, for visitors accessing the northern side of Bwindi impenetrable national park. For the southern side where Mgahinga national park is located. The air transfer takes about only 1 hour to access the park.

From the Kihihi airstrip, visitors can access other western Uganda national parks.

In Rwanda, a road transfer takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to reach volcanoes national park. Covering a distance of 105.9km. Visiting mountain gorillas in Rwanda is considered on of the shortest gorilla trekking journies. Compared in Uganda, while on Road Transfer.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
×