Is Gorilla Trekking Worth the Money?

Gorilla trekking is indeed worth all your money. Based on people’s experiences of trekking the mountain gorillas in the tropical rain forests of Africa and everyone has their own opinion and their own different experiences of the trek. Gorilla trekking experience can be really challenging because you have to hike up the steep slopes in search of the apes and yes very tiresome but in the end, the hard work pays off once you come close to the mountain gorillas, its one of the greatest wildlife encounters, you will be amazed by the look of it all.

In central Africa is where the small East African region is sandwiched between giant Africa, in this region, it is only three countries that shelter the great apes and so it’s in these three countries where their trips can commence. (Uganda, Rwanda, Congo) The Bwindi impenetrable national park on the edge of Uganda’s southeast is with the biggest population of mountain gorillas with half of the world’s population in the world striving in this park, few gorilla families have been set aside for tourism purposes, and these live-in small groups of around 10 individuals which are led by powerful silver backs. In this article am going to give you a feel of how trekking is worth your money.

There is a chance of 99.9% of you seeing the mountain gorillas as the rangers are always in the knowledge of where the gorillas are, as you embark on the trekking journey into the forest heartbeat to get to see the mountain gorillas you will have been located to a family to trek and its based on your physical fitness. You will head deep in the forest interior on foot as the scenery rushes past you as you meander along at a footstep’s speed with other hikers and there is nothing intimate as a thoughtful walking pace as you observe the emerald sights, smell, and sound of the birds in the jungle, thoroughly imbibing the spirit of the safari.

After a brief walk, you will get to see your gorilla family set out from the charming mountain town and here you will be amazed by these apes, life slows down at this moment as you get to see them in their natural habitat and at this moment you will feel the magic as you look deep in the great ape’s deep dark eyes watch them play from the fruiting trees and feed on the fruits and take as many pictures as your phone or camera can take.

After this magical experience as if a new life has blown into you, roam the remote hills and trek back towards the foothills but this raw experience will never leave your mind for as long as your existence on earth is concerned. This brings a torrent of mind-blowing experiences that takes you out of the comfort zone and perhaps far beyond your usual trip experiences and opens your heart and mind to a new life view on life, have your future read in mysterious leaves seeing the jungle as you approached the mist would clear for a spell.

Gorilla Trekking Experience in Uganda and Rwanda – What to expect

Rwanda Gorilla Trek

After understanding the worth of tracking mountain gorillas in the wild, you might make a decision that you want to go on safari in one of the three countries. You may have gotten exhilarated and already reserved your air tickets, accommodation and transport. The next huge question on your mind would be what is the experience of gorilla trekking like?

Like all tourists in the past, the next step to take after making reservations with your tour company is showing up in the country of choice. Your tour company should pick you up from the airport and transfer you to the hotel. The distance from the airport to the national park varies on which country you choose to do the trekking. If you are tracking in Rwanda, the driving time will be approximately 3 hours. If you are trekking in Congo, you need to first land in Kigali international airport have an overnight stay at Kigali and then the following morning drive to the Congo Rwanda boarder crossing in Goma. From the border you will be driven to the Virunga National Park which is a few kilometers away from the border. Should you decide to do gorilla trekking in Uganda, expect to travel on road for approximately eight hours to either Bwindi of Mgahinga National Park. We highly advise travellers who land at

Entebbe international airport and are planning on using the road to transfer to either Bwindi or Mgahinga to spend a night either at Kigali or Entebbe to cut the fatigue.

There are two solutions for the problem of driving for long. One is to arrive from Kigali Rwanda instead of Entebbe in Uganda. The driving time and distance from Kigali to Bwindi impenetrable forest is shorter.

If you land at Entebbe international airport, driving to either Mgahinga or Bwindi will take you approximately 10 hours driving non stop while if you land at Kigali international airport, you will only need 4 hours to cross to either Mgahinga or Bwindi.

Another solution for the long driving distance is to reserve a local chattered flight from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Bwindi. Your local tour operator can then wait for you at the airstrip to take you to the park. The local flights are expensive but the reward I to reach the park in only one hour.

As soon as you get to the park headquarters, you will be asked to present your travel documents and gorilla permit. Ensure to move with your passport to avoid any issues. You will be surprised to find the park offices with tourists from almost every continent. Some would have come for other activities like golden monkey trekking, nature walks among others. From 7:30am to 8am, you will be briefed about the gorilla trekking dos and don’ts. These briefings are always done by the park Warden and cover issues like smoking, keeping a distance from the gorillas and not running away if a gorilla charges. The Rangers will also give you background information about to each of the gorilla groups and the particular park. You will be introduced to the park Guides and all the people working in the park.

The park guides will also let you know of what you need to have to make your trek more comfortable. After the briefing, you will be assigned a gorilla family taking into consideration your Favorite gorilla family and your overall fitness. The Rangers often assign gorilla groups by guessing the age of travellers. Sometimes they get a wrong impression because younger doesn’t always means fit. If you are not fit or ill, let the rangers know so that you are assigned a nearby gorilla family. Incase you are trekking a gorilla family for the second time; you will be allocated another gorilla family. Visitors are only permitted to spend a maximum of one hour with the gorillas in a day. The activity can be shortened at any time if the primates become restless. Only 8 people must visit a particular gorilla family in a day. After the briefing and allocation of gorilla families, clients will then be given a chance to hire a porter as the trek could get tiring and go on for hours. Porters assist lift any heavy luggage and in navigating through the complicated sections of the trek. The services of a porter costs range between $15 to $30.

The starting points for the hike is non identical for each gorilla group. In most instances, you will be driven a few kilometers away to the starting point. The roads in most of the parks are impenetrable particularly during the wet season. When you arrive at the starting point, the rangers will be in continuous communication (by radio) with an advance group of trackers to let you know which direction to follow to get to the gorilla families. These advance group of trackers arise before sunrise to search for the gorilla families and verify their location. This is the reason as to why the chance of sighting the mountain gorillas is very high (99%). It’s also paramount to

note that the rangers are very professional, experienced and knowledgeable about the park and the gorilla famines. They know the names and character of each individual in the gorilla families. You are more than safe with them and can learn more about the primates if you ask questions.

Mountain gorilla Trekking can go on for more than 7 hours if we consider going and coming back. Ensure that you carry enough water, packed lunch and snack so that you don’t get dehydrated and hungry. If you feel like easing yourself, ask the rangers to dig a temporary toilet for you. As you start your trek to the forest, expect to experience stunning scenery and landscape. The Rangers will assist you clear a way through the thick jungle using machetes.

Once you meet the mountain gorillas, following the instructions given by the guide is a requirement. The ranger will politely ask everyone to leave their less essential luggage behind before going close to the primates. Begin taking photos only when the rangers tell you so. You will watch the group grooming, farting, breastfeeding, making love and even sleeping. The most active members of the group are the toddlers and adolescents. They love climbing trees because of they have light weight and will entertain you with their wrestling matches. Gorillas sometimes like to charge at tourists just for fun. Don’t act scared or run away just lay low and act submissive. One funny thing about mountain gorillas is that they sometimes behave as if they don’t pay attention to your existence. A large silverback can decide to just walk through your gorilla group without a care. If this happens, just give it way to pass. By the end of your one hour with the gorillas, you would be in agreement with many others that watching gorillas in the wild is indeed very captivating.

After finalising your trek successfully, you will hike back to the starting point and be given a gorilla trekking certificate at the park headquarters. The certificate shows that you completed the trek successfully and are among the few who saw mountain gorillas in their lifetime. If you were excited by the whole experience, you may tip the rangers for a job well done. The company guide will be waiting for you after receiving your certificate and drive you back to your lodge. Should you come back earlier than expected from your trek and are still fresh, the driver should take you to visit the Batwa community.

Note: To have the best experience with the mountain gorillas, you will need to follow the gorilla trekking rules and guidelines. A silverback adult gorilla is many times stronger than an adult human. Keep a distance of about 7 meters when with the primates especially when you suspect that one is sick or breastfeeding her young one. Do not take part in the activity if you have any transmittable diseases because the primates have poor immunity to human infections. Don’t be tempted to touch the gorillas or their babies even when they come close to you. Avoid direct eye contact with the primates until they are far way. Don’t surround the gorillas and always leave space for them to go in any direction they wish.