Gorilla Trekking Experience
Africa is the home of Mt Gorillas. The Mountain gorillas are unique attractions quite endangered primate specie that only has traces in a few tropical rain forests of Equatorial Africa. In the recent decades their survival hit a threshold of extinction following rampant poaching, civil wars and high demands from illegal traders.
To enjoy the experience of gorilla trekking, you need to prepare adequately starting with choice of tour operator to plan the entire safari, lodges and purchase of gorilla permits.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda happens in Bwindi impenetrable national Park and Mgahinga gorilla national park and in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.
There are 4 locations for tracking gorillas in BINP these are Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo. The 4 locations have a total of about 18 families as of December 2018. Tracking permits need to be bought prior to tracking by booking directly with the reservations office at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Headquarters or through a reputable tour agent. Permits can be paid for up to two years in advance.
Only 8 visitors are allowed to view the gorillas for one hour per day, participants must be aged 15 or over. and they will be accompanied by UWA guides while with the Gorillas.
Tracking the gorillas can last from a few hours to a whole day, depending on how far the group has moved since it was observed nesting up the previous evening.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the southwestern Uganda on the border with Congo and Rwanda. Covering an area of about 33.7 sq kilometers, the park is a habitat for man’s closest, the mountain gorillas which roam about the whole forest in search for food. This park is one of the few places in the world where the endangered mountain gorillas live and it attracts people from different countries to come on Uganda Gorilla Safari. There is no doubt that Mgahinga Gorilla national park is one of the leading tourism sites in Uganda since it harbors these rare primates.
One may wonder why gorilla Safari should be done in Mgahinga and not other places but the secret behind it is that this park has a thick rain forest with a wide variety of tree species and gorillas are known to be vegetarians. There is enough food for them in the park and this is the reason why some even migrate from Congo and Rwanda to this place. Though not in large numbers, gorillas of Mgahinga are easily seen in their natural habitats and this makes tracking more easy compared to other parks.
Volcanoes National Park is a rich ecosystem, a habitat with vibrant and unique mammal species. Mountain gorillas and Golden monkeys are most recognized than other wildlife species because the Virunga volcanos region is their only habitat on earth. There is high mammal presence in the park, though harder to spot because of hilly and rugged terrain, in a thick and enclosed rainforest.
Terms and Conditions
Kindly read through our terms and conditions to make sure you understand what we need you to consider before you travel with On holiday Safaris.
Uganda is generally a very safe destination today, Kampala is known as one of the safest capital cities in Africa. However, as a traveler always be careful to your belongings.
Trekking starts early in the morning with briefing from the ranger guides on the Do’s and Don’ts at the park headquarters /offices near the trail head in to the gorillas. In the process verification of permits against client name is done and later proceed by allocation of gorilla family where each accommodates only 08 persons.
Trekkers head out to the trail head well equipped and are led into the thick jungles to search the gorillas following trails. Along the way the ranger guides identify lots of other attractions as birds, monkeys, rare plant species and reptiles which complements the tedious trekking prior to meeting the gorillas. When you meet the gorilla family you are advised to keep a safe distance of 8 meters with lowest communication tones as you enjoy the gentle giants.
GORILLA HABITUATION EXPERIENCE
Gorilla habituation is adaption done by researchers training gorillas to get used to human presence in the wild harmoniously. Gorilla habituation is done to tame the mountain gorillas to always remain humble whenever visitors trek into the forests to find them.
The process of training is associated with business aspect referred to as “gorilla habituation experience” where visitors spend more time with the gorillas for maximum of four hours as researchers study the behavior of the gorillas. Participation in Gorilla habituation needs a special booking in time from UWA.
COST OF GORILLA TREKKING PERMITS
The Gorilla Trekking Permit costs US $600 per person in Uganda at Bwindi Forest National park and Mgahinga National Park, US $1500 per person in Rwanda at Volcanoes National park.
THE BEST TIMES FOR TREKKING
Travelers around the world can transfer to track the Gorillas anytime around the year although the best time to track these primates is during the short rain or dry season in the months of January to February then June to September.
GORILLA TREKKING SAFARI PREPARATION
•Remember to carry rain gears, with Tropical climate it can rain at any time.
•Carry Insect repellents
•Recommended clothing – long trousers and long sleeved sweaters or shirts while in the forest to avoid insect and plant stings.
•Sturdy hiking boots are essential, especially ones you have used before.
•Drinking Water, however eating, drinking and smoking near the gorillas is strictly forbidden – your guide will communicate designated time and place.
•Photography is permitted, Do Not use flash Photography
•Hire porters to help you carry your day-pack for a small fee.
•You will not be allowed to trek gorillas if you have communicable disease like flu or cough
•Mountain gorillas live at high altitude and this may cause difficulties in hiking up for some visitors. You should pace yourself, walk slowly, drink plenty of water and prepare adequately for this experience.
GORILLA TRACKING RULES
•No one with communicable disease for example; flu, diarrhea is allowed to enter the park.
•Do not stand over them, stay together in a tight group while with the gorillas, don’t surround them.
•Do not use flashes while photographing.
•Do not smoke, drink or eat when you are near the gorillas. Eating or drinking inevitably will increase the risk of food/drink morsels/droplets falling, which could increase the risk of transmission of diseases.
•Turn away from the gorillas if you have to sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose in the process.
•Bury all human waste in a minimum of 30cm deep and ensure that the hole is properly covered.
•Do not litter. All litter must be carried out of the park and disposed off properly.
•No person under 15 years is allowed to track gorillas.
•Do not make loud noise or move suddenly. Ask in a whisper if u must.
•The maximum time you can spend with the gorillas is one hour.
•Do not spit on vegetation or soil while in the park. Use your hankie or other garment.
•A 7 meter (21 feet) distance should be observed at all times from the gorillas. The far back you are, the more relaxed the group will be.
•Sometimes the gorillas charge. Follow the guides example (crouch down slowly, do not look at the gorillas directly in the eyes and wait for the animals to pass). Do not attempt to run away because that will increase the risk.
•Do not touch the gorillas. They are wild animals.
•Do not look at them straight in the face but rather give a sideways glance.
•During the visit, keep your voices down until you are 200 metres away from the gorillas.
•NOTE: The gorilla permit is not a guarantee that the gorilla will be clearly viewed. Chances of seeing the Gorillas are 98%.