The Main guidelines to gorilla trekking in Uganda, Congo and Rwanda.
Many of the tourists who want to go in the tropical rain forests looking for the endangered species and some guests do double trekking with in the two countries. In these countries, trekking is the leading tourist attraction that brings in the tourists from many different countries.
Uganda has the biggest number of mountain gorillas totaling to 400 species which is half to the total number of gorillas in the whole world. This country has also improved its tourism in the last 5 years and gorilla tracking has been the main achievement. Many tourists also like spending money on a safari to Uganda since they get the best out of it and you get to have the best interesting adventurous parts of the country
Gorilla trekking in Uganda can take 26 minutes to half a day and this mainly depends on the family that you are to trek. It should also be noted that the time allowed to spend with the gorillas is 1 hour and the tourists are advised to maximize this time fully.
- Where you should go gorilla trekking in Uganda
The place where you can go gorilla tracking in Uganda is Bwindi impenetrable National park and Mgahinga National park. Bwindi forest has the highest number of primates and this makes it 75% of the gorillas in the country. This is why many clients book gorilla safaris to Bwindi National park. You will as well meet many other animals that are found in Bwindi that live with the gorillas.
- Bwindi impenetrable National park
The park is located in southwest of Uganda and it’s the most visited park in the country. This national park is divided into four regions including Rushaga, Buhoma, Ruhija, as well as the Nkuringo. Each region acts as a trekking site with many different mountain gorilla groups. This means that you are to choose from these families and it shows the work of booking the tour in terms of accommodations as the permits. It’s also known that all the four regions are so interesting and give the best of the tracking adventure.
- When to go gorilla trekking in Uganda?
Even though gorilla trekking can be very okay throughout the year, there are also some months when this adventurous activity is so interesting and these months are the peak month seasons. This is also the time when the primate lovers need to go to the national parks where the mountain gorillas are found. These months are from June to September, January and February. But this doesn’t mean that the other months are not good for gorilla trekking and this shouldn’t stop you from traveling to Uganda for your gorilla trek any time.
- Vital information before tracking gorillas in Uganda
Since clients want to get value for their money, these need to know the important tips on what to consider before booking a gorilla trek in Uganda. The clients should make sure that they are in good health conditions and also need to be physically fit to pass through the steep slopes. You need to book with a very trusted tour company that has got extraordinary experience in organizing gorilla safaris. This will help the clients to get good service and value for their money from very qualified staff.
The clients are also well advised to make research about gorilla tracking in Uganda in order to have a clue about it before traveling to Uganda, this will help you know which groups are available for tracking, where to stay. This will help you make the right choice for coming for the trek.
- Why you buy a gorilla permit.
The visitor is expected to be with a gorilla permit before is allowed to track the mountain gorillas. This also acts as an approval document to track the gorillas in either Mgahinga or Bwindi national park. The permits also show the gorilla family to be tracked by the client. Each of the tourists need one permit and this will allow you to track once and show were to track from.
In Uganda, a permit goes for $600 per person and is issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority at their main offices in Kamwokya. These permits can be got through using the tour company to get them on their behalf. It’s also advisable to book the permits three weeks before the real day of traveling. This is usually done to avoid the embarrassments on the safari and this gives time to the tour operator to book for the accommodations in time.
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is one of Africa’s most fantastic safari activities and it also attracts many visitors to the country than any other tour activity. Rwanda has the second portion of the mountain gorillas in the world next to Uganda. Many clients also like visiting Rwanda especially those interested in viewing the primates and this is the reason why the country has improved when it comes to tourism. The country is known as the land of thousand hills and gives the best atmosphere for seeing the gorillas with an estimate of over 300 mountain gorillas.
The only national park were the mountain gorillas can trekked is Volcanoes National park located in the northern part of the country about 85km from Kigali which is the capital city of Rwanda. This national park also records the highest number of visitors on daily basis and these come to track the mountain gorillas.
This national park covers an area of 30km sq and mainly covers the scenic forested mountain and also has got 6 volcanoes. The park is home to the endangered mountain gorillas and has got over 300 of them. This makes it one of the most populated national parks with the gorillas. Dian fossey has made this national park so popular due to her works of conservation to the mountain gorillas. She lived here and also carried out her duties of caring for the mountain gorillas from here. She was killed by the poachers and was buried near her favorite mountain gorillas. Many tourists have visited this national park and have learnt lots of history about her and her work of conservation.
- Why track gorillas from Rwanda?
The main reason for tracking the gorillas from Rwanda and not another country is because the mountain gorillas in this park move around the whole park which makes it easier for the tourists to view them. You also enjoy the wonderful views of the volcanoes and these are so breathtaking since they give a good view of taking the clear photos. The other main reason is that when you buy a gorillas permit, you are free to view any gorilla group unlike in Uganda were you are allowed to see only one gorilla family
- How to obtain a gorilla permit in Rwanda
Just like in Uganda, any tourists interested in tracking gorillas from Rwanda is needed to get a gorilla permit and its issued by Rwanda Development Board, this is Rwanda’s body for tourism that governs the sector. The Rwanda gorilla permit is at $1500 per person per day.
- Gorilla trekking in Congo
Gorilla trekking in Congo is done from Virunga National park and the park is located in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo just near the border of Rwanda and Uganda. This park is also home to over 200 gorillas and this makes it good for gorilla trekking adventures. Although one might meet one or two gorillas along the way, the best part to trek the gorillas is the southern area of the park.
The national park also covers an area of about 7850sq km and it’s a good area especially for those that love primates. The park is also 35km from Goma, the capital city of North province. Just getting to this national park is so challenging due to the poor road network. That’s why a transfer from Kigali Rwanda using the good roads can be the best way and takes only 3 hours to arrive at the border. It’s also easy to cross the border at Goma where it’s only a 10 minutes’ walk.
- The Gorilla trekking tips
For those preparing to do a gorilla trek in Uganda, Rwanda or the democratic republic of Congo, below is the vital information that would apply.
Before the gorilla trek
- There is only a maximum of 8 people that are allowed to visit a particular group of the habituated gorillas per day. This helps in reducing the exposure to human borne diseases.
- Always wash your hands before going into the forest to track the gorillas.
Along the way to tracking the gorillas.
- While in the forest, keep your voices low so that to avoid scaring away the mountain gorillas and many other animal species.
- You shouldn’t leave rubbish in the forest, whatever you come with into the forest should be carried back with you when leaving.
- The game ranger will be able to take you where the mountain gorillas where the previous day and from here you will be able to follow the trail.
- As soon as you meet the gorillas, the guide will give you an alert to get ready for the activity.
When you are with the mountain gorillas.
- Keep a distance of about 7 to 9 m away from the gorillas in order to make them feel more relaxed
- When you face the gorillas, you must stay in a group and always don’t stay alone to avoid risking.
- You always have to keep you voice down as you can but don’t fear to ask the guides questions you feel like.
- You are also not allowed to smoke, drink or eat when with the gorillas. This could also increase the risk of disease transmission.
- You must always follow the instructions of the guide when with the gorillas. When the mountain gorilla charges, just squat down and avoid looking directly into its eyes.
- You are not supposed to use a flash camera when taking photos and always move slowly and carefully to avoid irritating the gorillas.
- You are not supposed to touch the gorillas since they are wild animals.
- You are only given 1 hour with the gorillas as you observe their behaviors as well as taking photos.
- After your visit, always keep your voices down up to when you are 200m away from the gorillas.
The General health Rules:
- Always try to respect the time limits for the visitors to spend with the mountain gorillas and this will help in limiting the risk of transmitting the diseases.
- Avoid going for the trek when sick.
- Keep a distance of about 7m away from the gorillas, this will help in protecting the gorillas from the risks of the contagious human diseases.
- You shouldn’t leave rubbish in the park, you have to carry all the items that you come with to the park.
What to carry on your Gorilla safari
- You need to wear a comfortable sturdy pair of walking shoes/boots that are so suitable for the steep muddy slopes.
- In case you find yourself uncomfortable with the forest sounds, you can carry your ear plugs as you trek.
- Always carry rain gears like the jackets, the sun screen lotion and the hat African weather is so unpredictable and it’s also subjected to change at any time and also carry the insect repellent.
- Always carry a bag for any gorilla safari and this will help you in carrying your accessories like the camera, jacket, water and the packed food.
- Also carry a photo of the film camera. The flash light is not allowed when taking the photos.