There is absolutely no mistaking the Bond that exists between man and a mountain gorilla when you get up-close and personal with the gentle apes happily living in Uganda Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. One would mistake the way ascending and descending into the jungles of Bwindi “The small path to hell” but this is a small road that widens into paradise when getting up close and personal with Humans closest relatives.
So What’s a Mountain Gorilla?
A mountain gorilla scientifically known as Gorilla beringei beringei is one of the two subspecies of the eastern gorilla Standing at averagely 4-6 ft tall and averagely weighing about 300-485 lbs (136 to 220 Kgs). Uganda and Rwanda has a total of 1070 Mountain Gorilla occupying the montane and bamboo forest jungles of Central & East Africa’s volcanic mountain slopes ranging from an altitude of 2,200–4,300m above sea Level (7,200–14,100 ft), mountain gorillas are listed on the ICUN Red List as endangered species.
Mountain Gorillas live in the most extreme harsh environment with two populations found in protected areas of central eastern Virunga ranges along the chain of the Virunga Volcanoes and the 331 sq.km protected Bwindi impenetrable rainforest national park. Mountain Gorillas can be seen in Bwindi and Mgahinga Uganda, in Rwanda and democratic republic of Congo.
And so, What does it take to see the mountain Gorilla in Uganda and Rwanda as a once in a lifetime wildlife experience? Ok lets see. A number of Destination management companies in Uganda like Gorilla Walking Safaris would happily organize you an amazing gorilla trekking Trip in Uganda and Rwanda with a combination of Spectacular wildlife Safaris.
Let’s look at more insights for an ultimate Gorilla Trekking Safari.
Where do mountain gorillas live?
Mountain gorillas in Uganda find their home in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and the Virunga conservation area a country boundary for Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. Half Of The worlds mountain Gorillas live in Bwindi impenetrable National park with 17 gorilla families habituated for Human presence and trekking while the Mgahinga has one gorilla family and Virunga national park has 8 gorilla families habituated for human presence.
What time of the year is best time to trek mountain gorillas?
ALL YEAR AROUND IT IS. Gorilla Trekking is absolutely possible almost all the12 months in a year, The Choice is for the traveler’s holiday time and preference. During the dry Safari months starting Mid-June, July, August, September and October are the Perfect for the ground are less slippery when trekking. The rainy seasons of mid mid March, Apirl and may come with own advantages of clear air and less congestion but absolutely good too for Gorilla Trekking safari.
What are the costs for a gorilla permit?
Its either gorilla Habituation experience or Gorilla Trekking!! How much does it cost? Gorilla permits apparently Cost $700 per person in Uganda for Foreign Non Residents and $ 1500 per person in Rwanda for the same. While Foreign Residents pay $600per person in Uganda and pay $1500 in Rwanda. Gorilla Habituation costs $1500 per person and only possible in Uganda only
When does one book a gorilla permit?
Gorilla Trekking safari in Uganda or Rwanda Requires a permit purchased and booked at Uganda Wildlife Authority or Rwanda development Board. This is a pass to trek into the Jungles for an upclose encounter. It is recommended to purchase the Gorilla permit least 3-4 Months in advance so as to be certain of availability. Last Minute Gorilla Trekking permits are possible but not guaranteed. Considering as part of the Gorilla Conservation and sustainability, each Gorilla Family is allowed a max of 8 guests and not more. This means booking ahead of time would come in handy.
What About gorilla habituation experience?
Gorilla habituation Experience is an extended time for trekking Mountain Gorillas. This allows you start early and stay more with the Mountain Gorillas for about 4 hours. This is also an act of habituating one of the families for human presence and requires you to stay longer. Normally this is a new Gorilla Family being prepared for human presence. This also apparently costs $1500 per permit and always limited unlike the $600 per permit trekking permit
What is the Gorilla trekking age limit
Gorilla Trekking age Limit is 15 years for both Uganda and Rwanda. However, if a child is approaching 15 years and surely wants to trek Mountain Gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda, A parent writes a consent letter to Uganda Wildlife Authority or Rwanda development Authority in approval to take responsibility for anything that happens to the child while on a Gorilla trekking safari.
What is included and Excluded in a gorilla Permit cost?
The Gorilla permit Cost includes: Gorilla permit, Park entrance fees, Government taxes, Ground transport, Full-time English speaking Ranger guide & Escorts.
The Gorilla permit Excludes:Porters if any, Emergency stretcher, Alcoholic drinks, Ranger Guides tips, Flight Fares, Other personal expenses
How long time do I spend with gorillas?
Gorilla Trekking is allowed 1 hour when you finally find them while Gorilla Habituation allows 4 hours with the Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The hike to find the Gorillas can last 30mins to several hours depending on the gorilla family movements.
What to Bring for Gorilla Trekking/Packing List
- Nice Gripped Walking/hiking shoes
- Warm Clothing for the Bwindi sector
- Insect repellants for bugs
- Sun Screen
- Sun glasses and hat to protect from direct sun
- Rain Jacket and/or ponchos in cases of Rain
- Long sleeved shirts, blouses to protect from thorny bushes
- Long pants, Socks or gaiters (protection from Safari Ants)
- Binoculars if you like
- Backpack for carrying small luggage
- Gloves if you want (But Not necessary)
What are the gorilla trekking do’s and Don’ts during a Gorilla Trek?
- Do not throw rubbish in the park
- Maintaining the required 7 meters distance from mountain gorillas
- Disable your camera Flash
- Speaking at a low tone or keeping silent
- Avoiding direct eye contact with the Mountain gorillas.
- Staying within a group
- Do not feed gorillas
- Keeping calm when a mountain gorilla charge
What if I fail to see gorillas?
Trekking Mountain Gorillas present 99% chances encountering them. On record while in Bwindi, Very rare cases where travelers fail to see mountain gorillas, A second chance to trek visit gorillas the next day is given to trek again without a single pay. This is however different if a traveler fails to see gorillas due to physical unfitness or sickness, No refund is reimbursed as this isn’t the fault of the respective park management.
If there is any greater feeling in adventure and wildlife encounters in Africa, Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park is simply exceptional, Being close to the gentle giants feels real different and special and of course a once in a lifetime wildlife encounter.
Want to be part of such a awesome life changing journey? Let’s talk Meaningful journeys.