How to prepare for gorilla trekking : Gorilla trekking is a famous activity done in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic republic of Congo. Guests booked for a mountain gorilla experience will need to be well prepared for this and here are a few guidelines on how best to be prepared. Booking a mountain gorilla safari can be done by an individual or you may opt to book with a trusted tour operator who can as well book all the logistics for your safari.
Gorilla trekking is a once in a lifetime experience where guests get to follow the trackers in the wild for a chance to spend a magical hour in the natural home of the gorillas. The gorilla species are very close to the human species as they share up to 99.8% of their DNA and you can even spot the likeness on your visit to one of the mountain gorillas parks.
Mountain gorillas can be spotted and visited in the wild in only 3 countries in the entire world and these are Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These three countries offer the experience at different costs and you can take on the activity in four national parks and these are the Volcanoes national park of Rwanda, the Virunga national park of DR Congo, the Mgahinga gorilla national park and the Bwindi impenetrable forest national park of Uganda.
You can purchase a mountain gorilla trekking permit at 400 USD in DR Congo, 700 USD in Uganda and 1,500 USD in Rwanda. The Bwindi Forest is said to be home to about 459 mountain gorillas which is equivalent to 43.2% of the total population with 50 gorilla families, Mgahinga being a home to a number of gorilla families but only one habituated gorilla family.
How to prepare;
Book a permit;
The first and foremost way to prepare for mountain gorilla trekking in any of these countries is by booking a gorilla permit for the date you are interested in. One will need to first secure their place as some dates are fully booked out and may not be available for booking. The permits can be booked for you by a trusted tour operator or if you prefer to book it personally, you may get it from the Irembo website for the Volcanoes national park, visit the Uganda Wildlife Authority office for a Ugandan gorilla permit or book with the Virunga national park for a chance to do gorilla trekking in the DR Congo.
If you opt to trek mountain gorillas and you are looking at booking with a tour operator, it will be important to do some research about this operator. Here are a few tips to know if your choice is the best, their trip advisor or review platforms, partnerships or any associations incase of anything. Response time and website performance is also a great factor to base on.
You will need to know the best time to trek the mountain gorillas as aligned with your preffered dates.
Mountain gorilla trekking is a much sought after activity however it is important for guests to know that this is a physically demanding activity. Guests signed up for a mountain gorilla trekking in either of these parks will need to be of medium fitness as it involves lengthy walks and some hikes up hill, crossing of small rivers and making way through thick forests for those trekking in DR Congo and Uganda especially.
The Bwindi impenetrable forest is such a natural forest with trees, creepers and dense vegetation with some sectors like Nkuringo being very hilly. This activity is a 2 to 6 hour activity and spending this much time in the wild will surely require one to be fit. The mountain gorillas just like their name suggests prefer to stay in the mountainous areas thus the hiking.
Some of the exercises you may do ahead of this activity includes basic more often walks, jogging, lunges, sit ups or take on stairs. However, the beauty if you feel unready to get fit and would like the easy way out, you can hire porters to be carried on a bamboo stretcher at an extra cost.
Check a packing list
This is a very important aspect when planning for a mountain gorilla experience as you will be away from home and in the wild or rather a foreign place. To avoid last minute expenses buying things while on your Rwanda safari or Uganda safari, it will be important to have a list of things to pack for this safari and ensure to have them or plan to purchase them.
Here are a few things for your packing list for gorilla trekking. Ensure to carry a waterproof back pack, enough surgical face masks and hand sanitizer, light weight and water proof clothing preferably long sleeved and long trousers to protect your arms and legs through the thickets and bushes. Great hiking shoes! These will be a highlight as they will either make the hiking enjoyable or more strenuous.
Temperatures in these areas are usually chilly so ensure to carry a warm sweater, don’t forget a hat, gardening gloves for the grip when holding the tree branches, insect repellants, water bottle, sunglasses or sunscreen, binoculars and camera with extra batteries.
At the start of the mountain gorilla trekking experience, you will attend a briefing by the knowledgeable ranger guides and they will let you know about the must haves and in case you have missed to carry one or two, you will be able to purchase from the souvenir shops at the reception.