Gorilla Trekking is an activity that involves searching habituated Gorillas in their natural habitats and have a closer interaction and to learn more about them in the jungle. As a tourist, there are quite many questions that run through your mind when you hear about Gorilla Trekking in Uganda. Uganda is the best tourist destination in Africa with over half of the world’s surviving Mountain Gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga. The most Frequently asked questions have been compiled and we’ll discuss them below.
Gorilla Habituation is the process of making them get familiar to the sight of human beings. This may take 2-3years training a group of Gorillas to be cleared for trekking by the visitors.
When is the best time to visit the Mountain Gorillas?
Mountain gorillas can be visited any time of the year depending on the time you wish to have your safari.
December to February and June to August are drier months are good for Gorilla trekking with no much interruption. In these months, Uganda receives an overwhelming number of visitors and gorilla permits are very scarce due to the high demand. Booking must be done at least 6 months though late bookings can also be catered for. Simply contact shoebill Safaris and we shall see if there’s any available permits and book for you.
March to May and September to November are wet periods of the year. Gorilla trekking might be rather difficult due to the wet grounds but that does not hinder travelers who prepare enough for this period. Waterproof clothing is necessary please carry it with you to cover-up from the wet vegetation. Light clothing that can easily dry incase its wet is also good. This period normally has a smaller number of visitors compared to the peak season but this does not stop the tour activities because even after a heavy downpour, the sun appears and gorilla trekking can resume without much interference.
Is it a guarantee that you will see gorillas when you go for trekking?
Though there’s no group of tourists that have missed seeing the gorillas during their journey before, we cannot guarantee that you must see the Gorillas in their natural habitat. Trackers go into the jungle before tourists to locate the gorilla groups and radio their GPS coordinates to the park headquarters. The trackers stay with the gorillas even if they are moving. All this is done to avoid instances of trekkers failing to meet with the endangered creatures, the mountain Gorillas.
What Sort of Clothing Should I Wear?
There are requirements a number on gorilla trekking trip and here are some of them;
Rain gear, sunscreen lotion, a hat and insect repellent should be carried as the weather is unpredictable.
Carry your lunch packed and enough drinking water.
Wear hiking shoes suitable for steep muddy slopes.
Carry your ear plugs for those who feel uncomfortable with the jungle sounds.
Camera with extra batteries for some pictures and avoid using flashlight.
How much time will be spent trekking?
The time to spent will up on the day of your trek. Depending on how far your lodge is from the park gates, departure can be between 06:30am and 07:00pm. Once you arrive you will be briefed by the parks rangers and guides. When the trek begins, there is no pre-determined amount of time you will spend in the forest. Time spent in the jungle is dependent on the movements of the gorillas and where they have slept for the night. Trekking may last for 30 minutes or up to 6 hours and you will spend an hour with them once you find them.
How much is a Gorilla permit?
Gorilla permits for trekking mountain gorillas cost USD1500 per person in Rwanda while in Uganda the permits are still at USD600 per person, Congo offers gorilla permits at USD400 per person. This money goes toward conservation of the habitat, anti-poaching efforts and education of the local communities. You must obtain a gorilla permit issued by the Uganda wild life Authority for you to be able to visit the Mountain Gorillas. Book your gorilla permits through Shoebill safaris at least 4 or more months before you travel. Shoebill safaris is here to help you secure it for you as soon as possible.
What are the threats to Mountain Gorillas?
There are a number of threats to mountain gorillas, but the main ones are:
Human Populations Growing. This contributes to habitat loss and human encroachment because they live near human beings.
Poaching. Bush meat is hunted after by local communities as a source of protein and mountain gorillas can be poached for their meat, as well as for traditional medicines. This threatens the population of mountain Gorillas all the time.
Disease. Gorillas are susceptible to disease. Regular visits from trekkers can bring in diseases and pathogens. Although we share a similar genetic makeup, a gorilla’s immune system has not evolved to cope with human disease.
Where can Gorillas be found?
Mountain Gorillas are only found in the Virunga mountains in the DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Uganda holds over half of the total mountain gorillas left in the world with about 500 of them residing in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Bwindi is the most popular place to trek the gorillas in Uganda. The park is located in the Southwestern part of the country.
In conclusion, so many questions may be asked about mountain Gorillas and some questions will be answered on site with our highly experienced guides and the game rangers.