The endangered mountain gorillas are a unique primate species that share 98% DNA with humans, they can be found in the tropical rain forests of Virunga national park in Congo, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and mount Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
Mountain gorillas live at the mountain slopes of the Virunga massif and some at Bwindi forest in Uganda, if your trekking gorillas in volcanic slopes then you will need to be in good shape and some level of body fitness. Though finding some gorilla groups is so easy. There are also facilities given to help disabled people track gorillas at a fee.
Most of the countries where gorillas are found experience two seasons that’s the dry and rainy season. The best time to trek gorillas is during the dry season from June to September and December to February during this time the trails are bit slippery and the terrain is good. Though rains in tropical rain forests are in predictable be prepared just in case it rains whole doing the activity.
Duration of the trek
The time taken while trekking gorillas cannot really be determined because gorillas move up and down sometimes you will be lucky to get them as soon as you start the trek or sometimes you hike for long hours when they have moved far a way. Treks can take 2-8 hours.
When trekking mountain gorillas and during observation time, cameras with flash lights are prohibited or you can kindly turn off your flash light. Mountain gorillas don’t like flash lights like golden monkeys, gorillas can charge and try to fight you.
Tourists trekking gorillas must not have communicable diseases like flu and TB because gorillas are vulnerable to contracting human diseases. Just in case you would like to sneeze or cough out must move your head away from the gorillas to lowers the risk of infecting them.
The minimum age for gorilla trekking is 15 years of age, age verification will be done during the briefing at the park headquarters before you can trek gorillas. If your moving with kids, some lodges will find maids or activities to engage your kids while you go on for gorilla trekking.
You will be required to wear appropriate clothing while heading for gorilla trekking. This is mainly because its can get very cold on the mountain slopes or even rain carry a rain coat, cotton warm clothing’s, good hiking boots and a sweater.
Number of people
A maximum number of only eight people will be allowed to visit each gorilla family daily. An hour of observation is given to tourists once they find gorillas.
Tourists are required not to litter rubbish within the park. Keep your voices low and the guides will inform you when you can have your cameras ready.
The distance of 5-7 meters must be kept while with gorillas this will reduce the risk of disease transmission.
Book in Advance
Gorilla permits can run short during the peak season; it’s advisable to always book your permit in advance to avoid disappointments prior to arrival.
While observing gorillas, do not look straight up to the gorillas’ eyes, allow the gorillas to pass by and crouch down slowly in case they charge and want to attack, never run away when the gorillas charge this will increase the risk of attack.
Tourists can research on particular gorilla groups before they can go on gorilla trekking and choose which gorilla group they can easily access depending on the gorilla location and how long it takes to trek then.
Gorilla permits in Uganda cost $600, in Rwanda they go for $1500 and in Congo for $400. Its always advisable to check on the country that suits your budget to gorilla trekking as permit prices differ.