Looking for a unique encounter with African primates? A trip to see mountain gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda or Congo is one of the best safari experiences not to miss. There are a number of safari operators that operate within the Virunga and Bwindi Impenetrable Foest.
Where to Go Gorilla Trekking
Volcanoes National Park
The Volcanoes National Park is the favorite destination for gorilla trekking. Home to around 300 mountain gorillas, the park is home to several habituated gorilla families that can be visited by tourists. There are ten habituated gorilla groups that are now habituated for gorilla safaris.
The experience to see the gorillas doesn’t come cheap! A gorilla permit costs US$1500 per person.
Some people may ask themselves what gorilla trekking is;
Gorilla trekking is a wonderful experience allowing you the opportunity to have a close encounter with these gentle giants of the jungle in their natural habitat. So coming face to face with wild mountain gorillas is really an experience of a life time. Looking into the eyes of a large silverback gorilla and he’ll look back with thinking, intelligent gaze, mindful that you’re another individual is quite unforgettable experience.
When to go gorilla tracking;
You can go on gorilla trekking safaris anytime within the year. The hiking itself can be more tiresome in rainy seasons from April to May and in November, but the most popular times for gorilla tracking are during the dry month which are between December and February and from June to mid-September.
Permits for gorilla trekking;
Securing permits for gorilla tracking over these popular periods can be difficult at short notice, so you should plan well ahead. A maximum of 80 gorilla tracking permits are available for each day and permits cost USD 750 per person per visit. This money may seem to be too much worthy your trek but the money provides Rwanda with a compelling economic reason to conserve the park and pays for a 24 hour guard for each gorilla group plus education of the local communities. The Most recommended for Securing a Gorilla Permit to Rwanda, Uganda and Congo is Rwanda Gorilla Trek to Enjoy the Primates Adventure in the Jungle Forests of Africa.
How gorilla trekking can be;
On the day of your gorilla trekking, you will set off very early in the morning to track the apes in the forest. Your driver will take you from your lodge to the park headquarter at Rumangabo village. The guides are experienced with good English and will be taking you to specific groups of habituated mountain gorillas that are very comfortable at reacting with humans who will be divided into six people to track a group. Later on, you will be transferred to the starting point of your Mountain Gorilla group where the whole process of tracking will begin from and through clear paths; your guide will lead you through the forest. The entire process is quite hectic with only an hour to interact with these primates by taking pictures, videos of these intelligent species that express themselves just like the humans in terms of emotions, gestures.
Mountain gorilla share 98% of our DNA and they are susceptible to catching human infection particularly respiratory ones. So you should keep a distance of 7metres from the gorillas and when you your with your gorilla group, you should try not to make sudden movements and to keep your voices low so that the group remains come and relaxed, although these mountain gorillas are used to seeing people, you must bear in mind that they are still wild animals and can sometimes react unexpectedly, so you should always follow your guides’ instructions.
Gorillas live in montane forest so treks to see them are at altitude and pass through varied vegetation and terrain. So you need a reasonable level of fitness to hike the forest and willingness to climb up muddy slopes and through thick growth.