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Planning a Gorilla Safari – Things to Know

Many travelers visiting Esat Africa today opt for gorilla tracking within the jungle forests of Bwindi in Uganda and Mgahinga National Park.  However a successful gorilla safari requires good preparation and planning given that this adventure is one of few lifetime wildlife viewing experiences that one will ever take in the world. Here are some of the commonly asked questions and answers that will help you plan a fantastic trip to the mountain gorillas in the gorilla parks of Uganda and Rwanda.

What Time Of Year Should I Try To Visit The Gorillas?

Gorillas can be visited any time of the year though it can rain any day of the year due to rainforest climate, so there is no any time of year to particularly avoid travel here. April and May are the rainiest months, so most people avoid travel at these times.

Do I Need To Be Fit To Trek/Find Gorillas?

You require a sensible level of fitness and a willingness to climb up muddy slopes and through varied vegetation and terrain. Gorillas live in montane forest, so treks to see them are at higher altitude.

Are You Guaranteed To See Gorillas When You Set Out?

Gorillas live in their natural habitat so it’s not likely to have 100% guarantee sightings of the mountain gorillas though, we have never heard of an occurrence where a tourist group did not get to see a gorilla group during their trek. To help ensure this, trackers set off at dawn to locate the gorilla groups and radio their GPS co-ordinates to the park headquarters, so when you set off on your trek with your guide, you know where you are headed. The trackers stay with the gorillas even if they are moving.

What Sort Of Clothing Should I Wear?

For the safety of your Camera, a waterproofed daypack is crucial. Pack water bottles and snacks as well. For a small fee, porters can be hired to carry your daypack and help you up the steeper slopes.

Waterproof jacket is essential because when setting out you should expect to get muddy and rained on. Wear long trousers to guard your legs against nettles and a T-shirt with a long-sleeved shirt over the top. The exertion will keep you warm, so layers are best.

Is There A Minimum Or Maximum Age To Visit The Gorillas?

Gorilla tracking is done by people with 16 years and above and there’s no flexibility to this rule. This is the same for both Rwanda and Uganda and it’s enforced by the national parks. There is no upper age limit!

Will I Need A Permit?

You must obtain a gorilla permit for you to be able to visit the gorillas. Only eight visitors are granted gorilla permits to see each gorilla group per day, they are extremely limited. Secure a gorilla permit at least 4 months before you intend to travel—We are here to secure permits for you as far in advance as possible. The permits currently cost around US$600 per person for foreign non residents in Uganda and 700$ in Rwanda, 500$ for foreign residents and 250,000UGX for residents in Uganda, which entitles you to one hour with the mountain gorillas. This money goes toward conservation of the habitat, anti-poaching efforts and education of the local communities.

Will This Be Covered By My Travel Insurance?

It’s definitely worth checking that your travel insurance does cover you for gorilla trekking as they may require an additional premium to be paid.

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