Apart from the common experience of game viewing, there is a unique life-time experience which you can enjoy on an African Safari known as Gorilla Trekking. Get a chance of meeting these rare primates face-to-face in the wild on your tour. However, there are few places in the world where you can find these great apes which share some characteristics with human beings.
Where to do Gorilla Trekking from
Though it’s a splendid experience that can never be forgotten by a tourists, gorilla trekking is restricted to a few remote destinations in Africa and these are; Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda and Rwanda. In DRC, you can mainly find the lowland gorillas while mountain gorillas are found in Uganda and Rwanda. The largest number of mountain gorillas in the world is found in Uganda with over 400 gorillas (in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park) and the rest are in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park as well as the DR Congo’s Virunga National Park. Spending an hour with these rare primates in their natural habitats is a rewarding life experience which you will live to tell.
The most interesting fact about gorillas’ lifestyle is that they reflect much about our human family structure. They live in families each with a leader, have affections just like human beings, and make emotional gestures. These features make gorillas one of man’s closest creatures next to chimpanzees.
When to travel and what you should expect
This is one of key questions that most tourists ask as they plan to go on a trekking safari to Uganda and Rwanda. What is good about these destinations is that they share almost the same climate and a combined itinerary to both of these countries is possible. The best times to visit these East African countries for gorilla trekking is during the two dry seasons of mid –December to February and June to September. However, the conditions in the rain forests where gorillas live remain humid, dry and wet even when it’s a dry season and a trek is always tough. This is why you must be extremely fit for the physical exercise of climbing the tough terrains and penetrating through dense forests. Carry the necessary equipment to aid your movements in the jungle and where needs be, carry a trekking stick for creating paths in the dense rain forests. The life-time experience guaranteed during the trek is worth the roughness of the terrain and the hardships gone through.
Once your dream of having a glance and meeting the mountain gorillas has come true, settle for about an hour looking at these elegant primates in the company of a well trained guide. Witness the enchanting lifestyle of the gorillas as they protect their babies from harm. Young gorillas are fond of playing and tumbling about the whole area while their mothers try to look for food. All this goes on when the male great silverback is looking on to ensure full security of the whole family. A spine-tingling experience of looking into the soft-brown eyes of a mountain gorilla is an unforgettable experience that is also guaranteed.
How to go on a Gorilla trekking safari
Different from other tourism adventures, gorilla tracking is associated with many regulations that one has to meet before he/she is allowed to trek. But first you must make sure that you book with an experienced tour company to have a thrilling experience while on your tour.
Before you trek the gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda, it is mandatory to obtain a gorilla trekking permit which acts as an authorizing document. The permits are highly demanded especially during the dry season and therefore, we highly recommend that you book in time to avoid inconveniences.
A safari to Africa offers tourists a chance to witness some of the hard-to find nature’s spectacles. It is only in Africa where one is assured of viewing a vast herd of wildebeest that cross the Serengeti, stylish leopards, rumbling families of elephants in the Chobe and many more. But the most interesting adventure on your African Safari is an encounter with great apes (Mountain Gorillas) of Rwanda and Uganda.
About gorilla trekking
Mountain Gorilla trekking simply means penetrating through dense forests, hiking steep mountains through narrow paths in search for gorillas. It involves walking with a trekking stick for lashing the foliage following a guide. You must be in good health conditions in order to have a successful trekking experience because it is more of physical. Eat well before the activity to have enough energy required. Also equip yourself with the necessary gadgets that you will use while in the including; Brocken-in hiking boots that protect your ankles, knee-high gaiters and double layered socks.
In case you are sick, don’t force yourself to trek because gorillas are highly susceptible and can contract human illnesses like cold or any other contagious disease.
When to go gorilla trekking
Though it’s possible to trek at anytime of the year, there are best times for a gorilla tour to Uganda and Rwanda that a tourist should take note of. These countries have the same weather conditions because of their same geographical location. You are recommended to go trekking during the dry seasons of mid –December to February and June to September when the rain forest where the gorillas live are not too muddy.
Maximum respect to gorillas is required from you for a peaceful view of the mountain gorillas. Avoid any irritating behavior and always keep a distance of more than 6 meters away from the primates. For those with cameras, make sure that you switch off the flush to avoid scaring away of the gorillas.
Gorillas are habituates to human behaviors and you will be surprised to see a gorilla continuing with its own business once encountered. In most cases, they don’t mind about people and they simply continue with what they have been doing be it napping, foraging and grooming. Unless disturbed, a gorilla cannot attack a person and this is why visitors enjoy their company.
A lot can be written and read about mountain gorillas but unless you make a real trekking safari to Uganda and Rwanda, you will not experience a hard-to forget thrilling adventure.