Gorilla trekking before or after a conference in Uganda
Gorilla trekking before and or after a conference in Uganda. Tourists always arrive at a stalemate of whether to go gorilla trekking before or after the meeting. Still, the choice can be made quickly and efficiently when you have all the information regarding gorilla trekking in Uganda. This article will provide all there is to know about gorilla trekking to help you decide whether it is better to gorilla trekking before or after a conference.
Most Popular Safaris
Uganda has two gorilla trekking destinations: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. Both parks have habituated families open for trekking, 19 habituated families in Bwindi, and one family in Mgahinga. The decision to go gorilla trekking in either of two depends on the time and activities you intend to engage in while on your safari. All you need to know is that both national parks offer an excellent and fulfilled gorilla trekking experience.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park also offers the gorilla habituation experience where tourists spend more time with the gorillas. Although gorillas have DNA that is a close match to humans, they are still wild animals, and to help them not be hostile and aggressive, habituation was introduced to ensure that the primates got used to the human presence. Tourists spend 4 hours studying their behaviors with the gorillas during the habituation process.
Gorilla permits and how to get them
The first step in trekking the gorillas is by purchasing a gorilla permit. This document allows tourists to access the gorillas in both Mgahinga and Bwindi and is issued by UWA. Purchasing a gorilla permit can be done in two ways: directly through UWA and by purchasing through a trusted and registered tour operator.
You will be asked for your details as they appear on the passport and the dates you wish to trek before booking the permit. We will check for the availability of the trek permit on your desired dates, and if they are not available, we advise accordingly on what different dates. Once we confirm their availability, you must send a payment for booking. Remember that only bookings will be made after payment is fully made, and this should be done using the company bank details. When we confirm payment, the permit will be purchased, and a soft copy of the permit will be sent to your email.
The trick to getting the dates you need is booking early, at least 6 months before the trek date, since the permits are always in high demand.
The cost of a gorilla trek safari before or after a conference
Numerous things, including the price of a gorilla permit, season of travel, and accommodation, determine the cost of gorilla trekking in Uganda. Unlike Rwanda, which offers discounts on permits for tourists attending conferences for as long as they are bought in bulk, the same does not apply to Uganda, and the gorilla permit is still the same before or after the conference.
East African citizens 300, 000UGX
Foreign non-residents $800
Gorilla habituation permits $1500.
Accommodation, on the other hand, comes in three categories: luxury, mid-range, and basic facilities. Your choice will determine the cost of your gorilla trek before or after the conference.
There are two seasons of travel, the dry/peak season and the rainy/low season, and both affect the cost of the safari. The price of the gorilla trek is relatively high during the dry/peak season because of the inflated expenses by some service providers due to the large crowds of tourists seen during this period. The wet season, also known as the low season, is a good travel season if you are on a budget and do not mind the rain.
Several rules and guidelines were set up to protect the gorillas, which all trekkers in Bwindi and Mgahinga need to follow. During the briefing on the trek day, the rules are re-echoed so that tourists can enjoy the trek without any mistakes or breaking of the administration. Below are some of the rules that are to be followed during gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda.
- A distance of 7 meters is to be kept when you are with the gorillas. This is to avoid touching the gorillas, which is prohibited, give them space to go on about their daily behavioral patterns and prevent infections from humans to the primates.
- Uganda’s minimum trek age limit was changed from 15 years to 15 years to include more children in the trekking exercise. Proof of age will be required, and passports are used to check for the years before the permit is booked. There is no maximum age limit, but you need to inform the lead guide if you can’t handle a problematic terrain so that you are assigned a more accessible family to trek.
- The maximum number of people to trek a gorilla permit per day is 8. A restriction on the numbers was put in place so that the gorillas could handle the large crowds. Bwindi receives 152 gorilla permits daily, whereas Mgahinga only 8 tickets to reduce the number of people trekking the gorillas.
- Each trek group gets to spend an hour with the gorillas after locating them. The hour does not include the time spent trekking through the forest to discover the gorilla family allocated to you, but it is the time you spend with the gorillas when you find them.
- Flash photography has been banned when taking photos of the gorillas, and every tourist is advised to turn off the flash before taking photos. The mountain gorillas are not used to the moment and it might scare them.
- All tourists who feel sick on the day of the trek, especially if they have viral infections like flu and cough, are advised not to join the tour. This is because the gorillas can easily fall sick, and if one gets sick, it might wipe out an entire family.
- When you feel like coughing or sneezing during your one hour with the gorillas, cover your mouth and nose and turn away from the gorillas before sneezing or coughing. This is to protect the gorillas from getting infected.
- Any form of eating and drinking is prohibited with the gorillas because of the crumbs that fall. The gorillas can pick these up and, once eaten, might infect the gorillas, or they might approach out of curiosity.
- Mgahinga and Bwindi do not have toilets, so when you feel the urge to use the bathroom, ask for a machete from the guides, dig a deep enough hole of at least 30cm, and after doing your business, cover it up properly.
- Smoking is also not allowed during the trek and when with the gorillas.
- The national parks must be kept clean to protect the gorillas, so all the rubbish or anything you go with for the trek that does not belong to the park must be taken out and placed in the marked bins.
- Before the start of the trek, wash and sanitize your hands.
- Tourists must keep their voices low when trekking and with the gorillas. Turn off your phone or put it on flight mode so it doesn’t ring abruptly, disrupting the gorillas.
- Sunglasses are essential when trekking, but you should take them off once you get to the gorilla family. Once the gorillas see their reflections in the sunglasses, they might think another gorilla has come for a challenge.
- Gorillas rarely attack people, but if one approaches you, act submissively by kneeling and bowing your head until the gorilla retreats or walks by. Avoid running and turning your back on them because they will attack you.
- All tourists participating in the trek must attend the briefing carried out on the morning of the trek. This is the time when all the rules are re-echoed, and gorilla families are assigned to the trekkers.
What to bring on your Uganda gorilla safari
- Long-sleeved shirts in neutral colors like brown, khaki, or green to blend in with the jungle and trousers. The trousers shouldn’t be jeans because once jeans soak through, they tend to slow you down during the trek. The extra material on the clothes protects your skin from the sun, insect bites, and scratches.
- Ankle-length comfortable hike boots are a must when planning a gorilla safari to Uganda. The hike boots must be fitting to avoid blisters on your feet; they should be sturdy to prevent slipping during the trek. The shoes do not have to be new but must be something you are used to walking in.
- A waterproof rain jacket and warm sweater for a change in the weather. Rains, although, are also experienced during the dry season, and you need to be ready for any weather changes that might happen during the trek.
- A camera is an essential item that you should carry on your safari to keep your memories alive. Point-and-shoot cameras are the easiest to use, and you need to carry camera equipment like a waterproof camera bag, extra lenses and batteries, a tripod, memory cards, and lens cleaners.
- Remember to bring binoculars on your gorilla safari to Uganda. This helps you see gorillas from a distance and can also be used to spot other wildlife in the national parks, like bird species, forest elephants, and golden monkeys, among others.
- A waterproof day backpack is necessary to carry all the equipment and items you might need during the trek.
- Garden gloves and non-surgical gloves are used to protect your hands from blisters and scratches during the trek.
- Other essential items include a refillable water bottle, a first aid kit, sunhat, insect repellent, sunscreen, toiletries, snacks, and a recognition book.
Other activities carried out before or after a conference in Uganda.
Uganda has several safari destinations where you get to engage in other safari activities before or after a safari or gorilla trekking, and these are Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Lake Bunyonyi, Kibale National Park, Lake Mburo national park, River Nile and Ziwa Rhino sanctuary among others.
Safri activities done in the above safari destinations include white water rafting, bungee jumping along the River Nile, game drives (including night drives in some national parks), bird watching, chimpanzee trekking and chimpanzee habituation in Kibale National Park, bird watching, cultural trips, guided nature walks, hiking up the Rwenzori ranges and Elgon and visiting the Sipi falls for a romantic getaway.
Best time to go for a gorilla trek safari
Gorilla trekking in Uganda can be carried at any time of the year, depending on the date you wish to travel and trek. The best time is, however, during the dry season, which is experienced in two seasons: June to September (long dry season) and December to February (short dry season). The main reason for this is that during the dry season, the trek is more accessible with no muddy and slippery terrain compared to the rainy season from March to May and October to November.
In conclusion, whether you wish to gorilla trek before or after a conference is good because you get to relax and enjoy gorilla trekking before and after the meeting. However, most people prefer to trek the gorillas after. Contact us to help you come up with the best itinerary to fit your needs and budget.
Contact us if you want to know more about gorilla trekking and the best time to do it. Our staff is always ready to answer any queries and help.