Is gorilla trekking worth the money
Lots of travelers who wish to trek gorillas are always left with the question of whether gorilla trekking is worth their money, and frankly, the answer to your question is yes! Gorilla trekking is totally worth the money. The mere thought of packing your bags, boarding a flight to Africa and trekking gorillas in the wild, is nothing but exciting, thrilling and mind blowing.
Travelers who wish to see gorillas in their natural habitat have to come to Africa and experience this awesome adventure for yourself. There are different species of gorillas that exist in the world and these include the Western gorilla species and the Eastern gorillas which are both critically endangered species. Under the Western gorilla species, we have two gorilla subspecies which include; the Western Lowland gorilla and the Cross river gorilla. Under the Eastern gorilla species, we also have two subspecies which include; the Eastern Lowland gorilla and the Mountain gorilla. The most commonly trekked gorilla subspecies is the Mountain gorilla.
Mountain gorillas attract a large number of tourists who travel to Africa just to trek the subspecies in their natural habitat. Trekking mountain gorillas in Africa can only be done in three countries which include; Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Apparently, these are the only countries in the entire world where you can see mountain gorillas in the wild.
Visitors who wish to trek gorillas will have to purchase a gorilla trekking permit at a fee of USD 1500 dollars per person in Rwanda, USD 600-700 dollars in Uganda, and USD 400 in Congo. Although the cost of trekking gorillas is quite costly in Rwanda as compared to her neighbors (Uganda and Congo), it has not deterred visitors from trekking gorillas in the country. The fee on your gorilla trekking permit covers other expenses such as park entrance fees, park ranger and guide fees, government taxes, park warden fees, and concession fees. However, the gorilla permit fees does not cover costs such as; your flight ticket, transportation, accommodations, meals, Visa fees and any other expenses of personal nature. Visitors who are on a fixed budget can always cut costs when it comes to accommodation, and simply opt for cheaper accommodation options, just make sure that you consult your trusted travel consultant for the best budget options.
What does Gorilla Trekking Involve?
Gorilla Trekking in general is an activity which entails visitors searching for gorillas in their natural habitat. This activity normally involves gorilla trekkers hiking mountains and through forests, tracking gorilla footprints, fresh feces and broken plant shoots; with the aim of locating a gorilla group or family.
Gorilla Trekking activities usually starts early in the morning, with a briefing of gorilla trekkers by the head rangers in the national parks where gorilla trekking activities are offered. The activity can take about 4-8 hours of tracking, with an hour allocated to trackers once the gorillas have been located.
Gorilla trekking activities take place in groups of a maximum of 8 individuals per gorilla group/ family. Usually, gorilla trekkers are accompanied by an experienced and knowledgeable park guide and an armed ranger, to ensure the safety of both the gorillas and trekkers.
Where can one do gorilla trekking?
Tourists who wish to take part in gorilla trekking activities can do so in Africa. However, if you are looking to trek a specific gorilla subspecies like mountain gorillas, you can either travel to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda or Virunga National Park in Congo. These are the only places in the world where tourists can see mountain gorillas in the wild.
Is Gorilla Trekking Safe?
Gorilla trekking is totally safe. All the above mentioned national parks make it a priority to ensure that their guests are safe when trekking gorillas in the forests. Gorilla trekking takes place in groups of a maximum of 8 members per group, and a group of trekkers is also accompanied by armed park rangers and very experienced guides. These park guides know exactly where and how to locate a specific group of gorillas. The armed park rangers ensure the safety and security of both the trekkers and gorillas while in the park. They protect trekkers from external threats such as poachers and aggressive wildlife like wild, unhabituated gorillas; and also protected the gorillas from poachers.
In addition to this, most of the gorilla groups that tourists trek are habituated; which means that the gorilla group you are going to trek is already familiar with humans, and therefore don’t consider you to be a threat. The process of habituating a group of gorillas is quite a long process which may take between 1-3 years to successfully habituate a gorilla group. Gorilla habituation involves a team of researchers, gorilla behaviorists and park guides spending an entire day with a given gorilla group. During this time spent with the gorillas, the team studies the gorillas and also gives each individual gorilla a name basing on a unique feature on the gorilla and its behavior among others. The longer the team spends with the gorillas, the more the gorillas get used to being in their presence. Therefore, it is much safer for tourists to trek a habituated gorilla family or group.
There are 18 habituated gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, with 15 of these groups available for tourists to trek while the rest are strictly meant for research purposes. Mgahinga national park currently has two habituated gorilla groups that visitors can trek. There are 10 habituated gorilla groups in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park which visitors can trek, and 8 habituated gorilla groups available for tourists to trek in Virunga National Park in Congo.
In Conclusion; Gorilla trekking is such an awesome activity to do and a memorable experience that any tourist in Africa can have. The one hour that you get to spend in the midst of the gorillas is totally amazing and makes the entire experience of gorilla trekking worth very penny!
Contact Us and Book now a gorilla trekking tour in Rwanda, Uganda or Congo, and get to get to embark on one of the most memorable journeys of your lifetime.