What is Gorilla Trekking?
While gorilla trekking is regarded as a lifetime experience, many are still left wondering what this adventure is really about. In the previous years, eco-tourism sector grew drastically and gorilla trekking on the other hand has turned to be one of the best practices for ecotourism.
Gorilla trekking is generally the most amazing way through which trekkers hike through the thick rain forest and steep slopes to look out for a group of mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
A trek to see these huge creatures in the wild is only possible while you are on safari in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In Uganda, you can pay a visit to Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park if you are track mountain gorillas, Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park and the Virunga National Park in eastern DR Congo.
Unlike other wildlife experiences, with gorilla trekking, visitors hike through the thick rainforest and steep slopes in search of habituated gorilla families. Visitors are accompanied by a professional park ranger guide and trackers. About 1004 individuals of these endangered apes are left on earth today and only live in 3 countries world hence a trek to view them rewards travel endeavors with life changing experiences.
With gorilla trekking, you need a gorilla permit as this is a must to have tool if you are to be assigned to habituated family. Permits cost $600 in Uganda, $1500 in Rwanda and $400 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. To obtain a gorilla permit, you can do it through a ground tour company that is registered, recognized and trust worthy or directly through reservationist at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) for those of you who wish to explore these creatures while on Uganda safari, Rwanda Development Board in Rwanda and the Virunga National Park authority.
Despite the fact that there schedules for gorilla safaris, there is no definite time to spend o a the real trek within the rain forest. Based on experience, treks usually last for about 2 to 8 hours and this normally depends on a number of factors some of which include location of gorillas, nature of habitat and your hiking speed.
Carrying Capacity Concept
Gorilla trekking comes with strict measures some of which include maximum of 8 visitors per 1 habituated group, only 1 hour of magical encounter, maintaining a distance of 7 meters at all times away from gorillas, no flashlight camera is needed while taking photos of these large apes, no tracking gorillas when you are ill, no touching gorillas, no eating, smoking, drinking while on gorilla habitat, do not liter the gorilla habitat and many more. This lifetime experience is generally a unique adventure that also offers a chance for local communities adjacent the park to be part of beneficiaries, minimize poaching, save these rare species and also have magical encounters with them while in their natural habitat.
This adventure takes a process starting with morning briefing where you are briefed on dos and don’ts for gorilla trekking, allocated to only 1 habituated family plus a park ranger guide then hit the jungles to search for a group of these rare creatures. Treks involve hiking through the pristine jungles of Africa in search of these apes in their natural habitat.
For visitor stay while on gorilla safari, there are different accommodation options and they include Buhoma lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp, Clouds Lodge, Mahogany Springs in Uganda as well as Bisate Lodge, Kinigi guesthouse, Mountain Gorillas View Lodge in Rwanda. While on safari to view gorillas, you need to pack appropriately starting with essentials first especially long sleeved shirt/t-shirt, camera, rain jacket or poncho, hat, water proof hiking boots, walking stick that you can find at the park headquarters, first aid kit, insect repellent a mention but a few.