How are gorilla families organized?
After habituating the mountain gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda or D.R.Congo, the group is given the family a name. It’s from these names that the families of gorillas are referred to. Even members of each gorilla family are identified by name given by researchers and habituators for easy monitoring throughout their lives.
Each gorilla trekking family has members identified according to the position that is the dominant silverback who bares all authority of the gorilla family. The silverback has a grey saddle on its back, and black backs, females, juveniles, and infants.
Most Popular Safaris
- 3 day Uganda gorilla trekking
- 5 days gorillas & chimp safari
- 3 day Uganda gorilla via Kigali
- 5 days gorilla trekking Rwanda
- 5 day Uganda gorillas & wildlife
- 3 day fly in gorilla habituation
- 5 day gorilla habituation and chimps
- 3 day Bwindi double trek via Kigali
- 5 days gorillas & game safari
When the dominant silverback dies, he may be succeeded by his sons or any member of the family who is capable of defending and leading the gorilla family.
During gorilla habituation, researchers and trekkers follow a particular gorilla family for an unknown period may be two years to about five years depending on how fast the family adapts to human presence.
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Families
At the moment the Uganda gorilla trekking families are about 19 gorilla families living in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. To book gorilla trekking families for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park you must know which area your permit is reserved at. Bwindi impenetrable national Park permits are divided into four areas that is Buhoma area, Ruhijah area in the northern part, Nkuringo area and Rushaga area in southern Uganda.
Some of the Uganda gorilla trekking parks include Busingye, Kahungye, Nshogi, Rushegura, Mubare, habinyanja family, Christmas, Nkuringo , Bweza and others.
Mgahinga National Park gorilla trekking family is only one called Nyakagezi. In the past, this family used to meander into Rwanda. This made advance booking of gorilla permits for this park challenging. They were sold on the ground when the gorillas were confirmed to be present.
Of late the Nyakagezi gorilla family has been confirmed to be settled in Mgahinga National Park for a long time.
Rwanda gorilla trekking families
Rwanda so far has 13 gorilla families open for tourists to visit. They are residents of Volcanoes National Park the meander through the slopes of 5 mountain ranges that is Mountain Muhabura, Mountain Sabyinyo, Mountain Karisimbi, mountain Bisoke and mountain Gahinga and others
Some of the Rwanda Gorilla trekking families include Hirwa family, Susa family, Sabyinyo family, Group 13 family, Amahoro family, Umubano family and others
Each year a gorilla naming ceremony called Kwita Izina is held in Rwanda to officially give identification to the newly born mountain gorillas.
D.R.Congo Gorilla Trekking Families
Amongst all three homes of the mountain gorillas, Virunga National park has the least number of gorilla families opened for tourist viewing. They are so far only 6 families that have been habituated for tourists viewing in D.R.Congo. These include Munyaga gorilla family, Kabirizi gorilla family, Mapuwa gorilla family, Rugendo gorilla family, Humba gorilla family, and Lulengo gorilla family.
The gorilla trekking permits for Virunga National park are purchased on arrival because of instability in this area of D.R.Congo. Even the active nature of the volcanic mountain here called Nyiragongo puts this park in the hard to visit places. Sometimes its larva flows and covers a larger area.
During gorilla trekking, the tourists are randomly divided into groups of maximum 8 tourists to visit the mountain gorillas. They are subdivided according to capability and level of fitness so that the ranger escorting them can follow the pace of the slowest tourist.
Which is The best country to Do Gorilla Trekking From
Experiencing gorilla trekking in the wilderness of Africa is an unmatched adventure no matter where you go. The feeling you get when standing in front of these gentle giants is memorable
Whether you go to Uganda, Rwanda, or D.R.Congo, when you meet the mountain gorillas all the difficulties you go through to locate the mountain gorillas evaporate for that moment.
The difference is with the price of the gorilla permit whereby in Uganda the cost of a gorilla permit is $700, in Rwanda $1500, and D.R.Congo $450 per person per trek.
Uganda has the largest number of gorilla families habituated so far is 19 gorilla families. Rwanda has 13 gorilla families and D.R.Congo has 6 gorilla families.
The drive from Kigali Airport to Volcanoes National park is about 3 hours while the drive from Entebbe Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National park is about 8 hours to 9 hours.
Uganda has the highest number of alternative activities you can combine with gorilla trekking among all the three countries.
The drive time from Rwanda Kigali Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National park is about 6 hours which is less than time to drive from Entebbe Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Rwanda gorilla trekking is steeper because of the presence of Five volcanoes that form a backdrop for Volcanoes National Park. In Uganda, the topography is not as steep as that of Rwanda’s gorilla trekking destination.
How To Book Gorilla Trekking Safari
The gorilla trekking permit is the only confirmation for anyone to be sure of going gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda, and D. R.Congo. With this, you must know the time when you hope to trek the mountain gorillas. In Uganda, the Uganda Wildlife Authority is the gorilla permit-selling body. For Rwanda Rwanda Development Board and D.R.Congo
Reserve accommodation in advance especially when the gorilla trekking safari is in the high season. The accommodations are highly demanded and overbooked even for other activities in these parks like birding, nature walks, and others.
Hire a vehicle and driver-guide is advanced so that you don’t compete for limited guides at the end. During the peak seasons, even informed and knowledgeable guides are scarce too. Using a knowledgeable person makes you feel great even talking about your African safari experience.
In case you select a fly-in gorilla trekking safari, you need to reserve a seat on the scheduled flights because they are overbooked during the high season. Besides these domestic flights are booked by local people too who travel upcountry.
Identify other activities you hope to add to gorilla trekking during your Africa safari. In Uganda, you can add chimpanzee trekking, birding safari, boat trips, game drives, white water rafting visit source of the Nile and so much more
Rwanda’s alternative activities to combine with gorilla trekking include chimpanzee trekking, game drives, boat trips, cultural tours, museum visits, genocide memorial visits, and others
D.R.Congo activities to combine with gorilla trekking include a hike to Nyiragongo Volcano, chimpanzee trekking, birding, and others.
When Is The Best Time To Book Gorilla Trekking In Africa
All year round gorilla trekking is open for tourists to visit but the drier months that is June to September and December to January are comfortable to go through the trek.
The trails have less waterlogged in soil which would make it challenging for trekkers to walk over. Even other forest dwellers like monkeys and birds are more active in this period. The humid conditions are not so heavy because less rain is received.
Mountain gorillas feed closer to the ground during this period too
The Low season which is March to May has fewer visitors to the forest so the chances of having a gorilla family all to yourself are high.
Even when you wish to make the choice of where you wish to trek, you can do it in the low season since you may be the only trekker for the day.
Chances of finding a gorilla family with some infants are more common in the low season when the forest has plenty to feed new additions.
Filming or photographing the mountain gorillas with less interruption from other trekkers is best had during the low season. there may be no one booked on the safari so you move in the forest just the crew.
How much is gorilla trekking safari
The cost of a gorilla trekking safari starts with the gorilla permit per destination. The cost of gorilla permits does not discriminate in terms of package types. Whether traveling luxury, mid-range, or budget for gorilla trekking, the cost of gorilla permits is the same.
Other factors included in the safari quotation bring about the difference in the cost of gorilla package. Some of these include
Number of days on Gorilla trekking safari
The more days you are booked for gorilla trekking tour the higher the cos the entire safari. The number matters a lot to the total cost of quotation. The minimum number of days for gorilla trekking in Uganda is 3 days gorilla trekking. Rwanda gorilla trekking minimum days is 2 day gorilla trekking safari.
Additional activities to combine with gorilla trekking
The more activities you add with gorilla trekking, the higher the cost of the entire package. Different activities in Uganda, Rwanda and D.R.Congo are valued according to the price set by the responsible authorities.
Chimpanzee trekking, game drives, birding, mountaineering and others are valued differently. These may not be in the same area as the mountain gorillas so you need so extra time on your safari days.
Timing for Gorilla Trekking Safari
During the low seasons, discounts may be offered by service providers to allow because business is low. When you book your gorilla trekking safari in the months of March to May or November, the chances of getting these discounts are high.
The peak seasons normally come with high costs on gorilla safari components like accommodation, vehicle hire, driver guide fee, and others. This is because of the high demand from people interested in taking this adventure and other activities.
Number of people traveling with for gorilla trekking
The more paying people you have in your group the less the cost of a gorilla trekking safari per person. This is because you get to share costs on items like vehicle hire, gas, driver guide fee, and others.
Number Of gorillas Trekking Times
The more times you trek mountain gorillas the higher the cost of the safari. This is because each time you have to buy a gorilla permit to be allowed to see the mountain gorillas.
How Safe Is Gorilla Trekking in Africa
In Uganda and Rwanda, gorilla trekking is safe but D.R.Congo is quite unstable because of the civil unrest here. The ranger guides together with the security organs of either country offer protection to trekkers and residents close to their respective national parks.
Personal security counts during gorilla trekking too.
- Never enter the forest without a ranger guide. The forest has other dwellers that may harm you like elephants, buffaloes, duikers, leopards, giant forest hogs and others. These are not habituated to human presence like some mountain gorillas.
- Eating from anywhere on the streets during gorilla trekking may cause you food poisoning.
- Never count a lot of money from the public because you may attract the wrong people.
- Stay with the people you travel with so that you are not lost in the wilderness. The ranger follows the pace of the slowest trekker but in case you deviate from the rest, you may be lost in the thick forest.
- Bring a first aid kit in case you need emergency treatment if you are hurt while in the wilderness. You must pack a waterproof backpack so that all your belongings are kept in the same bag in case you slip. They won’t be scattered in the wilderness.
- Do not carry precious jewels around because you do not know everyone at the destination. Declare them to the lodge manager and request them to be kept in the safe. Do not forget to pick them up on departure.
- Follow the instructions given during the briefing and by the ranger guides. This is because the majority have experience with the behavior of mountain gorillas. In case you are told to retreat, do not hesitate to because in case you insist you may cause trouble.
- Never provoke the mountain gorillas because you do not know the extent to which you may agitate the mountain gorillas. In case they get angry, they move into the deeper ends of the forest or move on one leg, pull the vegetation around, thump their chests, walk on one foot and so much more fracas.
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