Guide To Gorilla Trekking For Seniors, Elderly And Disabled Persons

Our guide to Gorilla trekking for the elderly, seniors, and people with disabilities. It is for travelers above the age of 60 Years, elderly, and people with disabilities. Such groups may have an interest in Gorilla trekking in Bwindi, Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, or Mgahinga.

Mountain gorillas are arguably the most intriguing primates on earth. Almost everyone wants to see them in a lifetime though to see them one has to travel to Africa. Most definitely, one should visit  Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda. One has to also visit Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda to see them.

Gorilla trekking for the elderly can be very exhausting and demanding. It usually depends on which gorilla family the park assigns you. Hence, there is a need for better preparation and to be in better physical shape. You can reach and spot some gorilla families in only 30 minutes while for others it can take up to 1 hour.

Trekking Mountain gorillas may involve passing through challenging terrain, steep slopes, and slippery (mud-filled) trails. This is a problem for old people and people with disabilities. However, it cannot limit seniors and people with disabilities from encountering the rare gorillas. This is because according to experience, most travelers who trek gorillas are 40 years and above. Therefore if you wondering whether to bring your mum or granny for gorilla trekking, then you need to know that it is very possible as long as they can take a flight to Africa.

Who do we consider senior safari travelers?

At Safari Vacations and Travel Services, we consider travelers above 60 years old to be senior travelers. As a result, we arrange special gorilla tours for them. The package’s specialty ranges from the guide we provide and the type of vehicles we use. We also consider the routing and flow of the itinerary which is normally flexible and age-relevant to give you more time to rest.

How to book a gorilla safari for the seniors?

There is a way to make it easier to get the nearest gorilla family for seniors and people with disabilities. We recommend that they book their trips at least 3 Months in advance. They should inform their tour operator about any fitness concerns or physical limitations before booking a trip to see gorillas. This will help the operator plan according and arrange any special equipment with the park authorities. Alternatively, the tour operator will arrange a special tour van as well as porters and sedan chairs if applicable.

Gorilla Trekking for Seniors & Elderly

Senior travelers and people with disabilities should disclose their right age and physical shape. They should disclose it both to the Park rangers and wardens. They’ll make it possible to see gorillas in the wild by assigning them a nearby gorilla family. However, seniors may feel they are in excellent shape and want to have more fun and adventure. Then, they can request a longer trek as there is a lot to explore while tracking mountain gorillas.

Senior travelers and people with disabilities should make use of a stretcher made out of local bamboo or sedan chairs.  A group of 12 strong local porters (4 at a time) are assigned to carry the elderly. Four men carry the stretcher or sedan chair and others take over once the first four need to rest. They will carry the elder and never let him/her touch the ground until they locate the mountain gorillas. After spotting the gorillas, the porters will once again lift the elder and return them to the starting point. Then, the company driver would be waiting to take you to your next stop.

Note that carriers and Sedan chairs cost from 400$ to 500$. The price is inclusive of the porters and depends on the weight of the client. Hiring a porter to just carry the heavy backpacks and cameras costs from 15 $ to 20 $. Alternatively, Elderly travelers may use a walking stick for support and easy hiking through the jungle.

Finally, senior travelers should do a bit of physical exercise to ensure fitness. They should carry enough drinking water for rehydration and energy gel to keep them strong.

Gorilla trekking for seniors’ accommodation options

The gorilla trekking parks have quality accommodation facilities within and around the gorilla parks. They are fit for the elderly and people with disabilities. They range from Super-luxury lodges, luxury lodges, mid-range options, and budget options. All of them are in the form of self-contained cottages with grass-thatched roofs, self-contained camps, tented camps, basic campsites, and dormitories. Most of them are built to allow people with disabilities to move about easily.

Which Gorilla trekking Park is ideal for the elderly and people with disabilities?

Bwindi National Park is the most ideal for the elderly. This is because it is situated in less mountainous areas. It also sits at a lower altitude and the trails are relatively flat compared to Mgahinga and the Volcanoes National Park. In Bwindi National Park, many gorilla families live on lower ground hence offering an easier hike.

The Ruhijja sector is excellent for the elderly because it has been observed that tourists who trek there come back much earlier than those who go to other sectors of the park. However, before booking a gorilla tour or showing up at the starting point, it is important to read about the different gorilla families available in the different national parks and sectors to find out which one is ideal and closer to the starting point of the trek.

Safari Vacations and Travel Services experts will advise you based on their experience and knowledge about the families since the group structures keep changing year after year. One that was easier to track a year ago may have migrated to a different location which is further away from the park offices.

 Other things to consider during gorilla tour for the elderly

Apart from the ease of trekking the gorillas, senior travelers and people with disabilities should consider the distance and time spent driving to the different gorilla trekking parks. This helps to avoid spending long hours on the road hence reducing stress. You can opt to have a domestic flight in Uganda from Entebbe to Kihihi, just outside Bwindi.