Gorilla trekking sedan chairs and stretchers in Uganda and Rwanda
Going gorilla trekking by a sedan Chair or stretcher is, so far, the only means one with physical impairment can attend this adventure. Most tourists on gorilla trekking safari are advised to have some level of fitness to succeed with gorilla trekking, but those physically impaired can still book gorilla trekking.
Uganda and Rwanda have sedan chairs that you can book in advance to help you get to the only leftover mountain gorillas in the world.
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The cost of the sedan chair varies with the manufacturer as those locally made cost less than those imported. The cost OF the sedan chair includes porters to lift you to where mountain gorillas may be lounging or feeding.
What Is a Sedan Chair During Gorilla Trekking?
A sedan chair is a chair-like equipment supported by four handles lifted by a team of porters with a trekker into the forest to search for a fully habituated mountain gorillas family and stay with it for one hour.
What Is a Stretcher During Gorilla Trekking?
This is a local material woven equipment attached to two strong long sticks used by a porter to lift tourists to where mountain gorillas are lounging or feeding during gorilla trekking.
Who Is A Porter?
A porter is a person who helps you carry your gorilla trekking gear or lift you on a stretcher or sedan chair to where the mountain gorillas are. The porter may push you in case you are tired during a normal gorilla trekking adventure.
Some elderly that cannot withstand the steep slopes and have limb itch can use the service of sedan chairs at the gorilla trekking destinations.
In Uganda, gorilla trekking happens in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. The only gorilla trekking destination in Rwanda is Volcanoes National Park.
How To Book Sedan Chair For Gorilla Trekking In Uganda And Rwanda?
After booking the gorilla trekking permit and forwarding personal details to the tour operator, advising about your body’s physical condition is best. This helps in making the decision about which gorilla family is suitable for you to trek.
In case you need a sedan chair, the tour operator on your behalf books it from the Uganda Wildlife Authority office or Rwanda Development Board.
After briefing as you start gorilla trekking, your condition is considered when dividing trekkers into groups to visit the different gorilla families.
After gorilla trekking, you may tip the porters as a token of appreciation for helping you locate the mountain gorillas. This is a direct way to give back to the local people.
Tipping is not compulsory, as it is a choice you make personally.
When Can I Book Gorilla Trekking Safari With Sedan Chair or Stretcher In Uganda And Rwanda?
Although gorilla trekking is an all-year-round adventure, booking this adventure in the dry season, June to September and December through January, is more exciting. The topography of the Virunga area is generally volcanic, so expect to locate the mountain gorillas on the slopes at times.
During the severe rainy seasons, that is normally March, May, April, and through November, the slopes are slippery due to regular rain and decomposition of the vegetation.
Gorilla trekking with a sedan chair or stretcher is best to select when porters will steadily lift you and have no worries of tripping.
How much is a gorilla trekking permit for Uganda Or Rwanda when on safari with a sedan chair?
The Uganda gorilla permit costs $1500 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents, and 150000shs per person for East African residents.
Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500 per person per trek.
What is included and excluded in the gorilla permit cost?
The gorilla permit costs, whether in Uganda or Rwanda, include the following:
Park fees for the day, ranger guide fee, security, local community support, one hour with mountain gorillas, certificate of accomplishment, and gorilla conservation support.
Exclusions in the gorilla permit cost are:
Tipping, sedan or stretcher cost, porter fees, drinks, packed lunch, and any other items of personal nature.
How Long Is Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda?
The length of the gorilla trekking adventure is hard to determine due to changing factors in the wilderness. Some tourists have been lucky to spot the gorilla two hours after the start, while others may go up to three-quarters of the day.
Some of the factors that may determine when to locate mountain gorillas include
The proximity of mountain gorilla food, in case of a family feud, death of a family member, adventurous dominant silverback, and others.
Patience is important during gorilla trekking because the gorillas are free wild animals with nothing to control their movement or actions.
Be open-minded during gorilla trekking and look out for other charming forest dwellers like monkeys, birds, butterflies, and different tree species to keep your mind busy.
What is The cost of a Gorilla Trekking Safari in Uganda or Rwanda?
Excluding the price of the sedan chair, you need to purchase the gorilla permit, whose cost is similar whether booked on a luxury, mid-range, or budget gorilla trekking package.
Other factors to consider when calculating the cost of gorilla trekking with a sedan chair or stretcher package include
The number of people traveling for gorilla trekking
The time for booking the gorilla trekking package
The number of other activities to combine with gorilla trekking
Safari package you choose for gorilla trekking, whether luxury, mid-range, or budget
Number of days on gorilla trekking safari.
Is the gorilla permit for Uganda or Rwanda refundable?
Securing a gorilla permit is like winning a lottery ticket; however, some factors may prevent you from attending gorilla trekking. In case you wish to request a refund, the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development Board have a refund policy that must be followed before retrieving the money.
Some patience is necessary, as the bureaucracy of gorilla permit refund takes time.
Can I Reschedule A Gorilla Trekking Permit?
You must address the quest to reschedule your gorilla trekking permit to Uganda Wildlife Authority or Rwanda Development Board. State the date to which you wish to reschedule your gorilla permit too. Attach some evidence, if any, to back up your rescheduled request.
When approved, your gorilla permit is rescheduled but only guaranteed upon availability per your new date.
Rwanda charges gorilla permit rescheduling
Uganda offers two chances of gorilla permit rescheduling of the same permit, but the third time has to be approved by the executive director. A surcharge of 25% of the total cost is added.
How Challenging Is Gorilla Trekking With A Sedan Chair in Uganda or Rwanda?
The topography of the Virunga area is generally volcanic, with ridges and plateaus where mountain gorillas spend some time feeding or lounging.
During the severe rainy period, mountain gorillas may relocate to the slopes, so you need to find them there.
Even the ground is slippery and soggy because of less sunray penetration and a dense network of rivers that sometimes overflow, making the way quite challenging during gorilla trekking.
The vegetation overgrows and covers the trails, so you need to be ready for protruding branches and be careful not to be scratched along the way.
Pack the right gorilla trekking gear like a raincoat, long-sleeved shirt, and trousers, A pair of stockings to tack to your clothes in case of creepers, and insect repellants, to mention but a few.
How Safe Is Gorilla Trekking With Sedan Chair In Uganda And Rwanda?
Gorilla trekking is a safe adventure as rangers from Uganda or Rwanda are trained to care for wildlife and its habitat. The ranger guides cooperate with other Uganda or Rwanda security agencies to maintain law and order around the gorilla trekking destinations.
It would be best to consider personal safety by not counting a lot of money in public. You may need to attract the right people. Do not let strangers into your room, as they may steal your belongings. Do not eat street food from ungazetted places, as you may get a stomach disorder, and it may cost you the gorilla trekking adventure.
Follow the rules and regulations of gorilla trekking to prevent a stampede in the forest that may push the mountain gorillas into hiding.
How Dangerous Are mountain gorillas during gorilla trekking?
In nature, mountain gorillas are calm and shy primates, but at a glance, they look scary. Their physical structure is generally huge, with dark-furred bodies and deep brown eyes. They move by knuckle locomotion.
In the history of gorilla trekking, whether in Uganda or Rwanda, Mountain gorillas have never been reported to attack humans on safari.
When angry, mountain gorillas pull the vegetation around them, thump hard their chest, and you can hear the chest vibrating, walk on one foot and retreat into the deeper forest ends.
You need to pay allegiance to the dominant silverback in case you notice this behavior and listen carefully to the instructions given by the ranger guide at this time.
Which country is best for the sedan chair gorilla trekking Adventure of Uganda and Rwanda?
The moment you watch the mountain gorillas is heart melting as you feel a little connection with these gentle giants. You may need to remember the hassle you may have gone through trying to plan gorilla trekking. This feeling doesn’t matter whether trekking gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda.
The difference in which country is best for gorilla trekking may be felt with :
The cost of gorilla permit
The Uganda gorilla permit costs $700 per person per trek, whereas the Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500 per person per trek.
Number of gorilla families
Uganda currently has 21 gorilla families, 168 gorilla permits open for gorilla trekking, with 1 used for gorilla habituation, while Rwanda has 12 gorilla families, 96 gorilla permits open for tourism.
The time traveled by road from the Airport to gorilla trekking destinations
The drive time from Kigali Airport to Volcanoes National Park is about 3 hours, while from Entebbe Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park is about 8 to 9 hours.
Optional safari activities to combine with gorilla trekking
Uganda has more safari activities to combine with gorilla trekking, like chimpanzee trekking, game drives, visiting the source of the River Nile, white water rafting, and others. Rwanda is limited with options of activities to combine with gorilla trekking, that is to say, chimpanzee trekking, birding, game driving, boat trip
You can do gorilla trekking in Uganda through Rwanda because the time you drive from Kigali airport to Bwindi Impenetrable national park or Mgahinga National Park is about 6 to 7 hours. This time is shorter than the 8- to 9 hours drive from Entebbe Airport to either Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park.
You can book the East African visa that allows entry into two countries in the East African community where Uganda and Rwanda are members.
What Can I pack For Gorilla Trekking in Uganda or Rwanda
- Garden gloves to protect your palms
- Long-sleeved shirt and trousers
- A pair of stockings to tack in your clothes and secure them from creepers.
- Insect repellant to keep away stinging insects.
- Safari boots protect your feet even if you are not going to walk.
- Energy snacks to munch on as breakfast is taken too early to last the entire time.
- Flip flops to change into after gorilla trekking.
- Shoe bag to pack shoes after gorilla trekking in case you have limited time to clean or dry them.
- Toiletries in case your lodge doesn’t provide or your skin is very sensitive.
- Foldable water bottle to carry drinking water with.
- Backpack to carry gorilla trekking gears with and hand them to a porter.
- Pajamas are warm enough as this area receives very cold conditions in the morning and late at night.
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