Gorilla trekking is an amazing activity for adventure seekers and travel lovers. Tourists can explore beautiful forests, observing spectacular flora and fauna, and enjoying the scenic views. Watching gorillas in their natural habitat is an unforgettable and unique experience. The brief hike is enjoyable and exciting, as travellers climb through stunning regions to find the glorious creatures. Here is a detailed guide that can help you enjoy your gorilla trekking experience in Uganda and Rwanda!
Why should I go for gorilla trekking?
Gorillas are victims of poaching, which has endangered the survival of their species. Poachers kill gorillas to sell their body parts. Through gorilla trekking, visitors can help reduce the problem. The 1-2 hour hike allows tourists to find the gorillas in their natural habitat, so poachers are deterred from killing and selling them as objects. This also allows tourists to contribute to the local economy.
How will the experience be?
Gorilla trekking is generally a 1-2 hour hike that takes you to the gorilla’s natural habitat. This will require a permit, and you will be accompanied by a trained guide. The path can be muddy and surrounded by dense vegetation, but the trek is manageable and easy. It is essential to maintain a distance from the creatures, and the tourists must leave after at most an hour to observe the gorillas.
Where should I go?
- In Rwanda, the trek begins on the edge of a volcano, from where the tourists go into the dense forest and climb up to the summit. The mountain gorilla is majestic and observing the amazing creatures is an unforgettable and extraordinary experience. Parc National des Volcans, also known as Volcanoes National Park, is home to half of the mountain gorilla population in the world. Located in the Virunga Mountains, the park is known for its biodiversity.
- Tourists could also visit Kigali, the bustling capital city of the country. The trek from the vibrant city takes visitors to the scenic Mount Kigali that stands tall at 1,850 m above sea level and offers a great aerial view of the colorful city, as well as an amazing gorilla trekking trip.
- In Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is home to the fascinating creatures. The hike can take 2-8 hours based on the movements of the gorillas in the forest. Tourists must walk up steep hills, and through the dense forest, while looking for gorillas camouflaged in the vegetation.
- At Mgahinga National Park, adventure seekers can find many gorillas, beginning their journey in Uganda, spotting and photographing the amazing creatures, and trekking all the way back to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.
- Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda is home to vervet, blue, red tailed, and colobus monkeys, as well as olive baboons, chimpanzees, apes, and gorillas. The park has 13 recorded species of primates, the highest in any national park of Uganda. Gorilla trekking, game viewing, and bird watching is an excellent and unforgettable experience.
How much does it cost?
Gorilla trekking is not cheap, as the safety and well-being of the gorilla has to be ensured. Only limited permits are issued so there is less exposure to humans, and the gorillas are safe from diseases that could come from travellers. However, this means that demand for permits is higher, and the experience is expensive. Another reason for high costs is that proceeds are used for conservation practices, such as reducing deforestation and poaching. A two day endeavour could cost at least $1000 per person.
Is gorilla trekking safe?
Tourists travel with armed guards, and experienced guides who can ensure that the group is not in danger. The rangers do not shoot at the gorillas, but scare them away to ensure that travellers are not harmed. The trek can be dangerous for those who have a vulnerable immune system as they can be exposed to diseases, but it is safe and easy for healthy persons. As long as visitors keep a safe distance from the majestic creatures, there is little danger. It is also important that while maintaining a safe distance of 25 feet, tourists avoid eye contact, and do not stare directly into the eyes of the gorillas. They must keep their voices down so they are not perceived as a threat, and they must never touch or approach a baby gorilla.
What to pack for the trip?
Tourists must carry water bottles, hand sanitizer, tissues, wet wipes, sunscreen, and insect repellant. They should wear comfortable shoes that are fit for walking, hats that can protect them from the sun and raindrops, long sleeved shirts that can protect arms from scratches from thorns, and branches, socks that protect feet from fire ant bites, and a light, waterproof jacket that is perfect for wet or cold days.
We hope you can enjoy an exciting and enriching gorilla trekking experience in Rwanda and Uganda, and create precious memories!