Essentials for Gorilla Trekking
Essentials for Gorilla Trekking are the key requirements that one must carry along with them so that they have a smooth successful Gorilla Trekking Safari. Getting to view the endangered gorillas in their natural habitat is a magical and thrilling experience and one that tops many travelers’ list of activities. The deep thick forests are covered by tangled green vegetation with no direct paths but rather having cleared out forest trails created by a team of local trackers who normally use machetes. The whole experience is exhilarating and needs you to come prepared for the best adventure.
Most importantly, the essentials for gorilla trekking highly differ from those you pack for any other wildlife experience such as game drive or wildlife viewing. Regardless of the country you wish to travel to for your African Safari, what you pack is literally similar. The list below shows what you are recommended as the essentials for gorilla trekking:
A gorilla permit: As a vehicle needs gas, one cannot do anything without a gorilla permit. It is that permit that will enable you to trek the gorillas in the national parks because without it, there will be no gorilla trekking. This all means before anything, you need to be sure that you have acquired the gorilla permit so that you don’t get disappointment on the national park entry.
Visa and a valid passport: Another document needed is a valid passport and a Visa that grants you access to enter the East African countries where you are going to do your gorilla trekking. For the case of Uganda, the passport should be valid for a minimum of six months from the date of entry into the country.
Hiking Boots: Since the gorillas are found in the highlands such as the dormant volcanoes, one needs to be equipped with hiking boots because trekking the endangered gorillas involves climbing and hiking the mountainous areas within the park. Additionally, the boots should be lightweight to enable you to move easily during movements.
Garden Gloves: You will need gloves along the way and this is because the forest trails are mostly wet and slippery making you hold onto something next to you such as a tree branch. So to prevent skin irritations when you hold or touch anything, you are required to carry garden gloves.
Rain Jacket: Many people prefer traveling in the high season when the rains are less but the gorillas are located in the tropical rainforests which makes it a challenge to tell when it is to rain or not. So carrying a rain jacket all the time is the best option regardless of the season.
Long Sleeved Shirts/ Blouse: Wearing long sleeved Shirts and trousers will save you from getting skin irritations and cuts from the trees and plants that you will be passing through. You are also recommended to tack in your trousers in your hiking boots to avoid insects such as safari ants entering your trousers.
A sweater: You definitely need to carry a sweater because during the morning hours and the evening hours the areas experience a cold breeze that will need you to grab a sweater to warm yourself. Such places include the Mgahinga National Park and Volcanoes in Rwanda.
Energy giving snacks and bottled water: Trekking the gorillas can take from 15 minutes to 3 or 5 hours so you will need energy drinks to enable you to complete the whole activity. In addition, hiking and climbing the terrains lets you use a lot of energy that your body needs to replace so water is really important.
First Aid Kit: You just cannot be sure of anything when trekking, the First Aid Kit is recommended for your safety. You can include insect repellants, medicines like anti-malarial drugs and anti-diarrhea drugs, antiseptic cream, hand sanitizers, wipes and deodorants among others.
A hat: Travelers need to carry a large rounded hat that will give them shade from the scorching sunshine of Africa. The sunshine starts after the morning cold breeze and the only way to save your skin from irritation is to use the hat.
Safari Gadgets: The safari Gadgets may include a pair of binoculars that will be important for viewing distant wildlife such as birds, not forgetting the cameras and you should carry extra batteries to cater for the long hours during your gorilla trekking. Most importantly, if you get an opportunity of using a porter, use one because trekking can sometimes get hectic along the way.
Swimming suits: The swimming suits are mainly recommended for those who are to carry out swimming activities back in their lodges or hotels and those that want to swim in the lakes such as Lake Bunyonyi, Lake Kivu of Rwanda as well as Lake Mutanda.
Luggage safari bag: In the jungle, all you need is something light while moving in the forest trails. So this means the luggage safari bag enables you to carry a lot of equipment as you move through the dense jungle. All you need to know is that mobility is the key factor in the jungle.
The money belt or Bag: The money belt or bag is also recommended because it provides money safety and other important documents like the passport or a copy of it. You can also add the international immunization card. For safety reasons, you are advised to have a cotton bag put around your waist to avoid sweating and under the top cloth to prevent loss of property.
Best time to visit to go for gorilla trekking
In the high seasons, the rains are less making it favorable to tourists to trek the mountain gorillas. The high seasons occur in the months of January, February, June, July, August, September, and December where there are fewer or no rains at all. During traveling in the high season, travelers are not affected by the weather making gorilla trekking beautiful experience. Most importantly, you should know that the demand for gorilla permits is high and you are advised to book prior to arrival on your African safari.
Additionally, in the months of March, May, April, and November are recorded to have the heavy rains and this discourages a great number of travelers and because of these rains, it disrupts the trekking activity. On the other hand, the low seasons are the times of the budget travelers. In this season the prices are on discount because of the low counts of travelers in the region. The accommodation facilities in this low season are very favorable since the occupancy rate is low.
Where to find the gorillas in Africa
The gorillas are one of the fascinating endangered primates you will enjoy to view and get a magical and thrilling experience while on your African Safari. These giant creatures can be found in three African countries that is to say Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain gorillas live in the deep tropic montane forests and bamboo trees plus the volcanic mountains of the Virunga Massif which has three parks namely Virunga National Park, Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga National Park while you can find eastern lowland gorillas in Eastern Congo in Kahuzi Being national park and Maiko National Park. Uganda has another park that has over 400 gorillas known as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
In conclusion, the gorilla trekking experience is one of the greatest encounters during your African Safari. But to get the best out of this, you need to be really prepared to meet all the necessary requirements and equipment (essentials for gorilla trekking) that will enable you to have an unforgettable experience.