How difficult is Gorilla trekking? Mountain gorillas can be visited any time of the year but this is a physically demanding activity so one should be physically fit to take on this challenge. Mountain gorilla trekking is easier in the drier months and these months differ with destinations.
This endangered species of mountain gorillas is only found in three countries in the world that is Uganda in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park, Rwanda in Volcanoes National park and in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa’s oldest national park; Virunga National Park. These parks are all in forested and mountainous areas which implies, you can experience a downpour any time of the year, however, the drier months for Bwindi and Mgahinga are June to August then December all the way to February.
Volcanoes national park is a home to some of the Virunga mountains like Mount Karisimbi that is at an altitude of 3,800 m so the weather in this park is majorly cold with the altitudes. The drier months of Volcanoes National park are similar to those of Uganda that is June to mid-September then December to February. The dry months of Congo-Virunga National park run from Mid-December to Mid-October. The Democratic Republic of Congo offers discounted tour packages during the rainy season that runs from 15th October to 15th December.
How difficult is Gorilla trekking? The gorilla parks are found in mountainous and foresty areas that require you to spend about 2 to 8 hours moving through the bushes and hilly terrain that means moving a long time on uneven ground, thick bushes which can be quite tasky in the rainy seasons with a lot of mud making it hard to make your way through. This makes such a great and exciting experience a nightmare so ensure to check with your destination the best or dry seasons so as to enjoy your gorilla trek. However, the rainy months are good for visitors who don’t like crowds as the tourist flow is less and hotels offer discounts and offers to their clients and destinations like DRCongo have great discounted offers for their rainy season.
It is also difficult in terms of availability as the number of visitors to the parks are limited to about 80 permits per gorilla park so it is advisable to avoid last-minute disappointments it is advisable to get in touch with a trustworthy tour operator to book for your gorilla trekking permit in advance and also advise on which dates have availability. Planning a gorilla trek without the guidance of a local operator can be tricky however much it may be a success but for assurance and more organized and authentic experience, it is always advisable to reach out to one. You can make your decision based on trip advisor reviews, references or an operator that is part of an association is one you can trust to give you that experience without worries.
Gorilla trekking is difficult also in terms of the restrictions that is age limits whereby a child below 16 years is not allowed to take on the activity unless they sign an indemnity form so this whole process makes it difficult for an interested and physically capable child to be a part of this activity until they are of age. Gorilla permits in Rwanda are so strict about this age limit as before you are approved for a permit, you will have to disclose your age and that determines if you are eligible to access a permit. Congo and Uganda have provisions whereby if you trust you are capable, you are given a sign to fill in accepting any losses incurred on your gorilla trek.
How difficult is Gorilla trekking? Some gorilla families move so far away into the forest tasking the trekkers to move long distances to get a chance with the biggest ape. The gorilla group in Rwanda is believed to be the hardest to trek as it is found far up the mountains so to be able to trek this group without difficulty, you will have to be physically fit. If you have booked a gorilla safari and you have not had any hiking experience, you are encouraged to do a bit of practice some time to the date of trekking so as not to tire out so fast and you enjoy the hike with a rewarding experience at the end.
Every tourism activity that involves hiking can be quite a challenge so be ready for it, plan and pack accordingly. If you are not sure what to pack and how to prepare, that is where you check in with your operator to guide.