Frequently asked questions about Gorilla Tracking!!!!
Mountain gorilla tracking has become one of the most admired adventures among travelers in East Africa. The endangered primates have been recorded to be reducing in number world wild but apparently they can only be found in Africa and specifically in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo however some low land gorilla species can be found in Congo than the other two East African countries. More questions and answers are increasingly coming up.
There a lot of questions that have been developed based on clients’ preferences and love to understand before they embark on the adventure to the jungle for the life-changing experience and here are some of the questions and answers to your concern.
Mountain gorillas can be seen all year round in both Uganda and Rwanda. These endangered great Apes occupy the thick montane vegetation of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Volcanoes National Park which are fertile with all conditions that promote the presence and occurrence of their wildlife.
Trekking mountain gorillas in Uganda is done in two gazetted national parks that is Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park all located in the southwestern part of the country. The landlocked country is a home for over 480 primates which are half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas with 11habituated gorilla families and one family found in Mgahinga national park.
Yes. Gorillas exist as well in Rwanda where there are 10 habituated gorilla families which include, Susa group, Sabyinyo group, Amahoro family, Group 13, Kwitonda, Umubano, and Hirwa kirisimbi, Titus, Agasha and Bwenge group all in the country all for visitors to undertake the exploration. These gorilla families can trek in Volcanoes National Park all year round and 8 visitors are allowed to visit a particular group per day.
Yes, gorilla tracking is safe whereby the respective governments have put much emphasis on protecting and conserving the wildlife within protected reserves especially Uganda and Rwanda. The gorilla trekking rules and regulations are all meant to keep safety and harmony, so following them is the best answer to the gorilla safety question. Gorillas are organized into habituated gorilla groups. Tourism police have been set up to patrol the area from criminals and rebels. More so the visitors are escorted with armed park ranger guides to offer protection to those undertaking the exploration from unhabituated primates in the jungle, even community members have been sensitized on how to handle travelers and how to relate with them thus making the adventure safe from all insecurity measures.
Gorilla tracking in Rwanda became luxurious when the permits increased from US$750 to US$1500 per person per trek, this excludes other services like accommodation and other optional activities which are as well much costly, not best for budget gorilla trekking. The country host a lot of tourists than the rest of the East African countries in the sector who go for mountain gorilla tracking.
In Uganda mountain gorilla permits in Uganda apparently cost US$600 but effectively from 1st JULY 2020 the permits will increase to US$700 and habituation experience costing US$1500, this is therefore twice tracking permits in Rwanda
Note: It’s highly recommended to book at least 2 months before your gorilla-tracking safari. There are even provisions for you to do a two-year advance booking. Remember the cost of gorilla permits does not include your accommodation or transport costs and food. Your tour agent company will help you with this.
- A valid passport is mandatory, and visa requirements should be checked before you travel.
- Long pants and long-sleeved shirt made of light-weight mate
- Make sure you have good hiking shoes and don’t worry about the weight of your backpack
- it is also wise to wear a hat to prevent ticks from getting in your hair
- Bring a rain jacket and rain pants in your day park
- Ideally carry gardening gloves for body protections
- carry a camera with a zoom lens for wildlife (70 – 300 or similar) with strong batteries among others.
Habituated mountain gorillas are human friendly unless you go against the set rules and regulations prescribed to you at the briefing point by the ranger guides, which are as follows
- A 7 meter (21 feet) distance should be tried to be observed at all times from the gorillas. The further back you are, the more relaxed the group will be.
- You must stay in a tight group when you are near the gorillas.
- Keep your voices down at all times. However, it is okay to ask the guide questions.
- Do not smoke, drink, or eat when you are near the gorillas. Eating or drinking inevitably will increase the risk of food/drink morsels/droplets falling, which could increase the risk of transmission of diseases.
- Sometimes the gorillas charge. Follow the guides example (crouch down slowly, do not look the gorillas directly in the eyes and wait for the animals to pass). Do not attempt to run away because that will increase the risk.
- Flash photography is not permitted! When taking pictures move slowly and carefully.
- Do not touch the gorillas. They are wild animals.
- The maximum time you can spend with the gorillas is one hour. However, if the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide will finish the visit early.
- After the visit keep your voices down until you are 200 meters away from the gorillas.
Mountain gorillas in both Uganda and Rwanda can trek and the chances of having an encounter with them are 95% therefore if you’re planning to make an adventure to these great Apes be rest assured of meeting them in their natural habitats of Bwindi, Mgahinga, Virunga, and Volcanoes national park.
Yes, mountain gorillas can be tracked by people who are physically impaired or amputated because there have been provisions made to offer extra support to those in needy for example use of Sedan chairs have been introduced to carry you along the trail to and back for trekking in the jungle, stretchers made out of bamboo are the other support features for unfit clients thus these extra support equipment’s can be borrowed from the park headquarters at a minimum cost depending on the distance, terrain, and weight of the client.
Tracking mountain gorillas can be done all year round however their seasons within the year include the dry (high season) and the wet (low season). These vary in countries
Best time to track from Uganda
The best time to track mountain gorillas in Uganda is the dry/ high season in the months of January, February, June to August, September, and December thus these are competitive months that host most travelers requiring you to book early enough for your availability.
If you have any further questions that we didn’t answer for when one is to track gorillas, depending on your interest, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
The wet months/ low season are March, April, May, October, and November due to rains which tend to create bad trails and poor conditions around trekking and accommodation points. One of the benefits when trekking during the rainy season is that accommodation at lodges and hotels are at discounted rates.
Best time to track from Congo
Like any other country, trekking falls in seasons and the best seasons for tracking fall in the months of June to October which receive little or no rains making it easy to track gorillas in their natural habitat and less strenuous.
Best time to track from Rwanda
The best time to visit Rwanda for gorilla tracking lies in the months of June to September and December to early February.
Note: gorillas can be sighted all year round with high chances of interacting with them face to face either in the dry and wet season, more so the weather and climate where the primates preside are susceptible One of the benefits when trekking during the rainy season is that accommodation at lodges and hotels are at discounted rates. to rains at any time regardless of the season. More questions below?
Trekkers must be 15 years old at the time of their trek. While there is no upper age limit on gorilla trekking. Trekkers over 60 years old at the time of their trek may have to request a letter from their physician, given how physically demanding a trek can be.
Yes, credit cards can be used along your trip to help you get access to certain extra things that your local operator/guide will have not included in your budget and require personal treat. Credit cards are widely used in mostly in upmarket hotels, banks, and malls to purchase some items along the way.
No, mountain gorillas occupy thick Afro-montane vegetation in national parks where they can be able to feed on their own diet which is preferably vegetables. An adult male gorilla feeds to about 34kilograms of vegetation a day, females can eat as much as 18 kilograms a day coupled with fruits and invertebrates which can hardly be provided in the zoo thus living in their natural habitat with their own will to feed on a variety of leaves and vegetation makes it better to be found in the jungle.
Once you meet the gorillas in the jungle you are allowed to have one hour experience with them in their natural habitat but this requires you to be more observative and maintain your guidelines as briefed before the trek, you are advised to maintain a distance of 7 meters which is approximately 21feet away from the primates since they are wild creatures however at times dome may come close to you but the guide will always be there to guide you on how to respond in the best way possible not to hostile to them and have the best memorable experience along the trek.
Today the world shelters approximately 1004 mountain gorilla in the jungles of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, Uganda within her two mountain gorilla destinations of Bwindi and Mgahinga has more than half a total population of mountain gorillas and the majority of these are found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
Uganda has been ranked the number one destination for tourists for the year 2012 by Lonely Planet which is the largest travel guide and media publisher in the world, The Rwenzori Mountain which is also known as “Mountains of the Moon” a UNESCO World Heritage Site, snow-peaked mountains, glassy lakes, and sprawling savannas, it’s no wonder Winston Churchill dubbed this wonderful country the ‘pearl of Africa’ chimpanzee trekking and habituation, white water rafting, bird watching, tree-climbing lions and among others which can be tailor-made with gorilla tracking.
Rwanda which is best known for luxury gorilla tracking in volcanoes national park has got Akagera National park for game viewing and Nyungwe forest national park for Chimpanzee trekking and canopy walk. Other activities do on your Rwanda safaris include boat cruises on Lake Kivu, cultural tours, and bird watching. You can also hike to Karisoke summit where Diane Fossey conducted her pioneering research, or else go tracking golden monkeys.
Just inform us about your additional wishes in the content space or our gorilla trekking packages or if you have any further questions that we didn’t answer for a tailor-made safari depending on your interest.