Today, gorilla Trekking is one of the most thrilling adventures that travelers seek from the African continent. The magical experience of meeting the endangered gorillas in a few countries in Africa is one of the most talked about “things to do” on various forums such as Trip Advisor, Lonely Planet & Fodors. From these great review sites, many travelers rate the activity as Excellent and you will find very few or no negative reviews. It is from this experience that I have created a complete guide to gorilla trekking for all those planning to take a gorilla safari in Africa;
What is Gorilla Trekking
Gorilla Trekking is an adventure activity that involves hiking or walking on foot within the impenetrable forests of Africa looking for the endangered gorillas. Many people spend sleepless nights thinking of how the one hour encounter with the endangered mountain gorillas will be. It is true the one hour allowed to stay with the rare gorillas is a truly life adventurous experience very difficult to forget. It’s known as the most sensitive, breathtaking, and exciting.
You spend the one hour with mountain gorillas while observing their behaviors as well as taking photograph although a flash camera is not allowed. You will be in a group of eight people who are only allowed to track in each gorilla family and each group is guided by a well experienced ranger guide who is in charge of guiding you during the process of gorilla tracking, and they also help in giving you all necessary information on all forest flora and fauna.
Exchanging eyes with gorillas in a distance of just about 7meters is a life time experience, just don’t wait to book your gorilla tracking safari with us you will never regret and if everyone could do it just ounce, the world would be a better place to live in. without exploring the gorilla wouldn’t be here at all, it’s the only thing that warranty their existence.Gratitude should go to the tourism board, ranger guide who monitor these apes time to time and the local community who live near the parks.
Where to Go
Gorillas are native to the African continent and can be found in only ten countries; Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire), Congo (aka Brazaville), Cameroon, Gabon, Angola (Cabinda Region), Nigeria, Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea.
Though the gorillas are found in these ten countries, a few countries have embraced gorilla tourism and here are the top destinations to visit for a gorilla trek.
Places to See Mountain Gorillas
Few countries in the world house these endangers mountain gorillas and they can be safely watched in their natural habitat without any harm caused to human. These three countries are Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. About 900 mountain gorillas left worldwide.
However among the three Uganda is known for housing the highest population of these apes almost a half of these giants live in Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga national park. Both parks are found in the southwestern part of Uganda. However many travelers to Uganda prefer to go gorilla tracking in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park than Mgahinga national park. The gorillas in Mgahinga are adventurous they always roam to the neighboring countries that’s Rwanda and DRC.
TIP: Before booking your gorilla permit in this area it’s better to first confirm the group availability before going ahead to book your gorilla permit here to avoid missing seeing them.
Rwanda on the other hand is known as the best gorilla safari destination in the world and it’s next to Uganda in housing the biggest number of these apes! There are over 380 mountain gorillas that live in the Volcanoes National Park. Some of the gorilla groups in Rwanda are easy to track as compared to Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Although this is not a guarantee given that some who intend to track what they refer to as an “easy group” sometimes find out difficulty given that the gorillas move freely and may end up hiking up the hills. Since the gorillas are wild animals they are very difficult to predict.
The Volcanoes National Park’s proximity favors many gorilla trackers. A one day gorilla tracking safari is very possible. The park is located in a distance of a two-three hours’ drive from Kigali, Rwanda’s capital! There it is aeasy to travel to Kinigi, the park headquarters, making it easy for one who is interested in a one day gorilla safari has to be driven very early in the morning and arrive at the park headquarters before 7:00am.
The gorilla trek starts with short briefings about gorilla tracking and then you will be assigned to which group you are to track. After the activity you will be driven back to Kigali (accommodation) or to the airport to meet your departure flight back home. According to testimonies given by those who have got chances of tracking in both countries, many prefer tracking the gorillas of Rwanda.
Democratic Republic of Congo
In the Democratic Republic of Congo these apes are tracked in the Virunga National Park. However due to political instability, few trackers visit DRC for gorilla tracking, but the country is recovering steadily and gorilla tracking can be organized in this area can be organised through very few tour operators. However either tracking in Uganda, Rwanda or DRC, gorilla tracking experience remains the same.
The Gorilla Trekking Experience
During tracking, you may be surprised with sightings of some other forest dwellers like monkeys, birds, mammal species including buffaloes, warthogs, antelopes among others. These great tropical rain forests are rich in flora and fauna – with many plants and butter fly species. Whatever species is found in the forest, mountain gorillas remains the star attraction in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.
Gorilla tracking is considered as a tough activity as meeting these apes is unpredictable! It can go from a half to full day while searching them, so a reasonable degree of fitness is required.
Do not forget the essential tracking gears that you will need to use during the hike. You should not forget a sturdy pair of walking shoes, long sleeved shirts or blouses, walking stick, bottled water and sometimes packed lunch is given at the lodge.
Meeting the gorillas may sometimes involve passing through muddy and steep slopes. However once these apes are met you will forget all the troubles you’ve gone through and utilize the one hour you are allowed to stay with these animals. Your perfect hour the maximum time allowed with gorillas goes so fast. But life will never be quite the same again.