What to do and not to do during gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda
Gorilla trekking is one of the most sought-after activities in Uganda and Rwanda. Because mountain gorillas have just jumped a line from highly endangered species, it is advised that we conserve them to the dot. Here are what to do and not do things during gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda.
Most Popular Safaris
Gorilla trekking is one of the conservation measures taken by internal and international conservation bodies in Uganda and Rwanda to support the existence of mountain gorillas. In the 1980s, the census results of the zealous American Primatologist Dian Fossey and her team showed a population of about 250 mountain gorillas living in the world then.
They put mountain gorillas on the list of highly endangered species worldwide. Some suggestions were bringing humans to the mountain gorillas through gorilla habituation and trekking.
They also set dos and don’ts of gorilla trekking that cut across all mountain gorilla conservation countries, Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R.Congo.
What Are The Dos Of Gorilla Trekking in Uganda And Rwanda
Wear a clean mask
Wearing a clean mask of at least N95 type before facing the mountain gorillas is one of the strictly followed dos, especially after the coronavirus outbreak in the world. Mountain gorillas are highly susceptible to human communicable infection, so you must wear one to reduce the chances of spreading such diseases to the mountain gorillas.
Buy a Gorilla Trekking Permit
Every gorilla trekker must purchase a gorilla trekking permit before accessing this activity. In Uganda, all gorilla trekking permits are sold by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. In Rwanda, gorilla trekking permits are sold by Rwanda Development Board. These gorilla permits get sold out fast because they are highly demanded worldwide. Yet, only a maximum of 8 gorilla permits per family are realized daily.
Pack the right gorilla trekking gear.
Gorilla trekking is a safari done in the wilderness, so you must purchase some items that can support you as you go on the boggy and sometimes slippery trails. Sometimes rain in this area falls without warning. You can pack things like safari boots, foldable safari hats, insect repellant, and garden gloves, to mention but a few.
Do some exercises before Gorilla Trekking
The way to see the mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda is steep, so you need to do some hiking to get to the mountain gorillas. However, you do not need to be in the gym all day but start with simple strides that are beyond your normal walks so as to train your feet for this adventurous experience.
Stay close to the rest of the group during gorilla trekking
When you locate the mountain gorillas, you are advised to stay close to the rest of the people you trek with so that the mountain gorillas do not feel ambushed by your presence. They are susceptible primates that quickly get agitated in case intruders are nearby.
A combo Of Gorilla Trekking and other Uganda Safari activities is possible
Although gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is some of the sought-after activities, in case you have time on your safari, you can do other activities like game drives, birding, launch trips, visiting the source of the River Nile, and others
What are the Donts Of Gorilla Trekking in Uganda And Rwanda
Spitting on vegetation is not a great idea because it contaminates the vegetation on which the mountain gorillas feed. In general, mountain gorillas feed on foliage like bamboo, soft stems, leaves, fruits, and tubers. You may pass an unknown infection to these gentle giants when you spit on them. Conservation of them has taken a long time and money.
Don’t enter the forest if you catch a communicable disease like cholera, cough, flu, etc. These can be passed to the mountain gorillas when you locate them. They have a DNA of about 96 % of that of humans.
Keep a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas when you locate them. This reduces the chances of passing any infectious germs to the mountain gorillas.
Do not use flash photography when photographing because mountain gorillas fear new occurrences in their environment. Ensure the camera is soundproof to prevent any chances of looking suspicious before the mountain gorillas.
Provoking the mountain gorillas is forbidden because these are very sensitive primates that may be agitated by your behavior and go into hiding.
Do not eat or smoke within 200 meters of the mountain gorillas as they may be forced to grab it from you yet they are wild animals that must not depend on the human provision. They must search for their own food in the wilderness.
In case you wish to sneeze or cough, do it away from the mountain gorillas to avoid the chances of passing this infection of the mountain gorillas.
No dumping or littering the forest when you are walking to prevent altering the nature of the forest from which the mountain gorillas feed. Nature thrives with organic fertilizers and not indecomposable matter like plastic wrap.
No person under 15 years is allowed to track the mountain gorillas because of the nature of the forest where the mountain gorillas live. The time for locating the mountain gorillas is still being determined, so patience is necessary. Even the ragged terrain of the area where the mountain gorillas live may not favor a child below this age.
Avoid making noise with mountain gorillas because they are highly sensitive to unfamiliar noise. However, keep your voice low if you cannot keep quiet.
Only one hour is allowed with the mountain gorillas when you locate them. This is the only time for which they are habituated to being in the presence of humans. This is done to give the mountain gorillas time to go about daily activities like feeding, making babies, grooming, lounging, and others.
Do not pick anything from the forest during gorilla trekking.
You are not allowed to pick anything from the forest as souvenirs for your gorilla trekking safari especially animal material, without permission. The parts of these endangered animals, even the caucuses, cannot be taken out of the park because they are monitored worldwide. You may pay a hefty price if you are traced with them without permission. So take nothing and leave nothing, only take memories and leave your footprints in the forest after gorilla trekking.
How dangerous Are the Mountain Gorillas
Mountain gorillas physically look scary, but in nature, they are serene primates. Their body is covered in dark fur all have deep brown sunken eyes.
Mountain gorillas have reportedly attacked no one in the history of gorilla trekking. However, you need to follow the rules of gorilla trekking well so that you do not cause a stamp in the forest.
Try not to stare deep into the eyed of the shy mountain gorillas because they may go into hiding.
Sometimes the mountain gorillas may attack each other just before you but follow the instructions given by the ranger guide because they have the best experience with these occurrences.
When angry, the mountain gorillas thump their chests, pull grass around them, and hoot.
What Is The Cost of Gorilla Trekking Safari In Uganda and Rwanda
The gorilla safari costs in Uganda and Rwanda are packaged according to luxury, mid-range, and Budget. The universal cost, however, is the gorilla permit cost that cuts across all budgets. The gorilla permit for Uganda costs $700 per person per trek while Rwanda gorilla trekking permits cost $1500 per person per trek.
Other factors make up the gorilla safari quotation which includes
The number of people included in the gorilla trekking safari
The more paying people will go with you for a gorilla trekking safari, the less the cost per person because you get to share some costs like driver guide fees, vehicle hire, gas, and others. When you travel solo for gorilla trekking, you bear all safari costs.
Number of days on gorilla trekking safari whereby the more you are on safari, the higher the expenses. Most service providers charge per day, so the more days on safari, the higher the safari cost.
Timing of your gorilla trekking safari where booking the safari for the high seasons, which is June to September and December to January, fetches a high cost. However, the gorilla trekking packages for the low seasons may sometimes attract discounted prices from service providers.
A combo of Gorilla trekking and other activities in Uganda and Rwanda may raise the gross safari quotation. Some activities include chimpanzee trekking, birding, game drives, and boat trips.
If you do more than one gorilla trekking time, expect the general safari quotation to rise.
How Difficult Is Gorilla Trekking In Uganda and Rwanda
Gorilla Trekking is done in a ragged area because of the volcanic nature of the Virunga. Sometimes the mountain gorillas feed or lounge at the slopes, so you must find them there. This is one reason you have to have some fitness level so you do not get muscle pulls while in the wilderness. Locating the mountain gorillas is unknown because of their uncontrolled movements. It is hard to say this is the most accessible terrain where a particular gorilla family is always found.
You must wear comfortable shoes that can withstand the conditions in the forest. Wearing wilderness-friendly colors also comforts you because you are not scared of dirtying your clothes.
The ranger guide also moves with a machete in case you must pass through tangled creepers to get to where the mountain gorillas may be lounging or feeding from that day.
How Safe Is Gorilla Trekking In Uganda And Rwanda
Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is safe because the ranger guides work with other security organs to keep low and order in this area. However, you must also mind your security by not carrying your precious jewelry around, which may attract the wrong people.
Not entering the forest alone without an escorting ranger guide
Eating from designated places where you may not get food poisoning.
Stay close to the people you are trekking gorillas with so that you are aware of the wilderness. However, the ranger guide follows the pace of the slowest trekker.
If you travel with children for gorilla trekking, ensure you are always aware of their way about so that they know the wilderness or the park.
What To Pack For Gorilla Trekking in Uganda And Rwanda
- A camera to use for keeping memories of your encounter with the mountain gorillas. You can turn back to them when later when you can no longer travel.
- A pair of binoculars to get a clearer view of the far-ranging creatures in the forest
- Other full batteries to exchange with in case your one runs low
- Safari boots that are comfortable to pass through the thick jungle and boggy ground. They must be comfortable for your feet.
- Foldable safari hat to cover your hair from dripping water off the tree branches during the trek.
- A torch to use when lights run out because accommodations in this area usually use solar power for lighting.
- Long-sleeved shirt and trousers to cover your body and protect you from stinging nettles in the jungle
- Some warmers or ponchos to cover your body from catching a cold because this area is cold in the early morning or tare afternoon.
- Insect repellant to keep away stinging insects in the jungle.
- Sunscreen to smear your body with because Uganda and Rwanda are tropical countries. You may get sunburns.
- Some cash to exchange into local currency just in case you need to purchase anything on the ground. Credit cards are not easy to use in Africa because of the lengthy procedure of collecting money from them.
- A raincoat to protect you from rain that falls at any time without warning.