Gorilla trekking safari
Gorilla trekking safari : Gorilla trekking is a breathtaking and incredible activity where visitors move into the tropical rain forests in search of the habituated gorilla families and once found spend one hour with them in their natural habitat. On your gorilla trekking safari you will be able to learn more about the endangered mountain gorillas as you spend time with them. Gorilla trekking is the most popular activity in Africa and it’s carried out in three countries namely Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Where to go for gorilla trekking safari
Bwindi impenetrable national park
Bwindi impenetrable national park is one of the most visited gorilla destinations in Uganda in that it harbors half of the world’s mountain gorillas. the national park is located in southwestern Uganda and harbors 19 habituated gorilla families which are found in four sectors namely Buhoma sector in the north with 4 gorilla families, Nkuringo sector in the south with 3 habituated gorilla families, Ruhija sector in the east with 4 habituated gorilla families and Rushaga sector in the south with 8 habituated gorilla families.
Mgahinga gorilla national park
This is another gorilla destination located in south western Uganda in Kisoro district. Mgahinga gorilla national park was gazetted in 1991 mainly to conserve the endangered mountain gorillas. The national park is a home of two habituated gorilla families namely Nyakagezi and Hirwa family. Hirwa family belonged to Volcanoes national park until October 2019 when it migrated to add on Nyakagezi family.
Volcanoes national park
Volcanoes national park is the best gorilla trekking destination in Africa that is located in Musanze village northwestern part of Rwanda. The national park is a home of about 15 habituated gorilla families with some families available for trekking on a daily basis and others reserved for research.
Virunga national park
Virunga national park is located in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo and it’s the most visited gorilla destination in Congo in that it harbors the endangered mountain gorillas. The national park is a home of about 8 habituated gorilla families which are available for trekking daily.
Kahuzi Biega national park
Kahuzi Biega National Park is located the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo and harbors the eastern lowland gorillas which are larger than the mountain gorillas. The national park is a great place for gorilla trekking especially for visitors who don’t like hiking and trekking for longer hours because unlike the mountain gorillas which live in high altitude areas, the eastern lowland gorillas live in low areas. Kahuzi Biega national park is a home of 5 habituated gorilla families which are available for trekking daily.
How gorilla trekking is done
Gorilla trekking in all the gorilla destinations in Africa starts in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters. After the briefing you will be grouped into 8 people to trek a gorilla family and grouping of individuals is done according to age, physical fitness, personal preferences among others. Gorilla trekking only allows a maximum of 8 people so as to minimize on behavioral disturbances and the risk of spreading human diseases.
At around 8:00am you will start trekking in the jungle with a park guide who will be sharing information about the gorillas and also showing you the trails to follow that will lead you to the gorillas. Gorilla trekking takes about 2 to 7 hours in the jungle depending on their location because they love to move from one place to another in search of food. Once the gorillas are found, you will be able to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat learning about their behaviors, habits, lifestyle, recording the moments to show people back home and taking photos with flash less cameras.
Cost of a gorilla trekking permit
Visitors interested in trekking the gorillas is advised to first acquire a gorilla trekking permit which is a document or card that is issued to any visitor above the age of fifteen years allowing him or her to trek the endangered gorillas and spend one hour with them in their natural habitat.
Cost of a gorilla trekking permit differs depending on the destination where you will be trekking from for example a gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda costs $1500 for all nationalities, in Uganda it costs $600 for foreign non-residents, $500 for foreign residents and UGX 250,000 for East African citizens. Uganda however increased its gorilla trekking permit by $100 therefore effective 1stjuly 2020 foreign non-residents will pay $700 and $600 for foreign residents. a gorilla trekking permit in Democratic Republic of Congo costs $400 for foreign non-residents and it’s the cheapest compared to other destinations.
How to book a gorilla trekking permit
A gorilla trekking permit is easy to book as long as you follow the right procedures for example you can either book a gorilla trekking permit directly through Uganda Wildlife Authority a tourism body in Uganda, Rwanda Development board a tourism body in Rwanda or Virunga foundation in Democratic Republic of Congo. When booking directly you will contact the head offices via telephone calls or email.
A gorilla trekking permit can also be booked through a tour operator like Achieve Global Safaris where you will contact us with the date, month, year and destination where you want to trek from. We will then check for availability of the permits and get back to you. You will be asked to make a deposit for the permit and once the deposit has been made, you will be asked to send a scanned copy of your passport details which will be used to register for your permit. Once the money is received we will acquire a permit for you a send a scanned copy of the receipt as confirmation in case you are going to trek in Uganda or Rwanda and in case you want to trek in Democratic Republic of Congo your gorilla trekking permit will be reserved based on mutual trust.
Booking through a tour operator is the best option in that we will not only acquire a gorilla trekking permit for you but also plan for your gorilla trekking safari which involves meals, accommodation, transportation among others.
However a gorilla trekking permit should be booked 3 to 6 months in advance before the trekking date because the permits are competitive and usually get sold out especially during the peak season in the months of June to September and December to February therefore in order to avoid disappointments at the last minute, you are advised to book in advance.
What to carry on a gorilla trekking safari
• Gorilla trekking permit, this is an important item for on a gorilla trekking safari in that without a permit you will not be able visit any habituated gorilla family in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo.
• Long sleeved shirt and trousers, these will keep you warm during morning hours and also protect you from insect bites when trekking in the jungle.
• Hiking boots, the shoes should be comfortable and reaching your ankles since you will be trekking in the thick bushes and muddy grounds.
• Waterproof rain jacket, due to unpredictable weather in the gorilla destinations it’s advisable to carry a rain jacket to protect you from rainfall in case it rains during trekking.
• Garden gloves, these will protect your hands from germs and getting scratches from thorny trees in the forest.
• Energy snacks, due to the fact that gorilla trekking takes about 2 to 7 hours in the jungle it’s advisable to carry drinking water and packed food to give you energy during trekking.
• Insect repellent, this will protect you from biting insects such as tsetse flies, mosquitoes among others.
• Sun glasses and a hat, these will protect your eyes and head from direct sun.
• Camera, this is an important item to carry when going for a gorilla trekking safari because it will be used to take the photos and record the moments.
• Pair of binoculars, the binoculars will be used to view far species such as the birds, other primates like the monkeys, baboons among others.
• Backpack, the backpack will be used to carry all your gorilla trekking items including camera, insect repellent, energy snacks among others.
• Walking stick, the walking stick will help you when hiking in the jungle especially during the rainy season when the grounds are slippery.
When to go on a gorilla trekking safari
Gorilla trekking is Bwindi impenetrable national park, Mgahinga gorilla national park, Volcanoes national park, Kahuzi Biega national park and Virunga national park can be done anytime throughout the year though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February. The dry season is also known as the peak season and during this period there is less rainfall in the gorilla destinations therefore access roads will be passable, gorilla trekking trails will be dry and passable and there will be short bushes or shrubs in the parks which enable you to clearly view the gorillas in the wild.
Gorilla trekking can also be done in the rainy season during the months of March to May and October to November. Though the rainy season is the period when the gorilla destinations receive heavy rainfall there are some advantages which attract you to travel for example less crowds in the national park, discounts on the lodges and the gorilla trekking permit will be less competitive therefore the last minute travelers will be able to acquire the permits which is not the case during the dry season.
On your gorilla trekking safari you will have thrilling and unforgettable gorilla experiences as you spend time with the habituated gorilla families. You can choose whether you want to have a luxury, affordable or cheap gorilla trekking safari and this can be possible if you contact Achieve Global Safaris.