The Everyday Experience of Seeing Gorillas in Africa
Getting that lifetime experience of seeing the mountain gorillas in Africa is like winning a lottery and the everyday experience of seeing gorillas in Africa is exclusive. Although mountain gorillas may be some of the endangered primates the world celebrates, they highly protected by local and international conservation and heritage bodies. Some funds are still required to support the conservation of mountain gorillas but this should not be at the expense of the survival of mountain gorillas.
In the 1970s through 1980s, a number of mountain gorillas were poached for souvenirs like there skins, skeleton parts and some taken as pets.
There existence was at the brim of extinction until an American Naturalist Dian fossey came to there rescue through research. When she arrived in Africa in 1967, she set up a research center in Karisoke Research Center Rwanda.
Having witnessed a number of attacks staged by the locals towards the mountain gorillas, Dian Fossey invited more foreign manpower like researchers to help mend the relationship between the gorillas and humans. This was the bath of gorilla habituation to get mountain gorillas accustomed to the presence of humans.
Most Popular Gorilla Safaris
- 3 Day Uganda Gorilla Trekking
- 5 Day Gorilla and Chimp
- 8 Day Gorilla Tracking
- 2 Day Bwindi Gorilla Via Kigali
- 3 Day Uganda Gorilla Via Kigali
- 5 Day Chimp and Gorilla Habituation
- 3 Day Fly in Gorilla Habituation
- 3 Day Fly in Safari to Murchison Falls National Park
- 3 Day Bwindi Double trek via Kigali
- 5 Day Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
Gorilla trekking was later born from gorilla habituation but this takes a number of year to help mountain gorillas get used to the presence of humans. This may last about 3 years to 5 years or more depending on how wild the mountain gorillas are.
In the entire world seeing the mountain gorillas is only in Bwindi Impenetrable National park in Uganda, Mgahinga National park Uganda, Volcanoes National park in Rwanda and Virunga National park in D.R.Congo
Gorilla Trekking Experience
Gorilla trekking adventure can only be allowed if you possess a gorilla permits. In Uganda, the Uganda Wildlife Authority has the mandate of selling the gorilla trekking permits. In Rwanda, the Rwanda development Board is the selling body for gorilla permits and D.R.Congo, the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature is the permits selling body.
Make it a point to book accommodation close to the area where your gorilla trekking permit is booked in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda is a wise decision. Of the four national parks that host mountain gorillas in the world, Bwindi Impenetrable National park is the largest.
In order to improve on service delivery during gorilla trekking and monitoring its safety, it was divided into four gorilla trekking areas. Through this equal opportunities of visiting the all gorilla, trekking families is made possible. In the past, tourists would request to visit almost the same gorilla families and others were left unvisited at all. These would turn back to there wild behavior, which was required re-habituation. This is very expensive and costly.
With gorilla trekking in Africa, you need to do some exercises to keep your muscles ready for the long or short walk into the forest. Locating the mountain gorillas has no time limit because of different conditions prevailing in the forest.
On the day of gorilla trekking, you have to walk to the head office of the park with your gorilla trekking gears. Do not forget a facemask as a measure to reduce on the chances of passing a communicable infection like Corona Virus or Flu to the mountain gorillas.
Hire a porter to carry your bag and give you a push when tired. Request for a walking stick for extra support while in the forest searching for the mountain gorillas. After you are divided into groups of maximum 8 trekkers, your ranger guide leads you through the trails leading to where the mountain gorillas are believed to have spent the previous day. The tails are normally covered by creepers at times so a ranger guide with a machete trims the path to enable you go through.
Going into the forest with an open mind helps you to enjoy most of the beauties in the forest other than focusing on the mountain gorillas only. The Virunga area is rich with other primates like black and white colobus, vervet monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, red tailed monkeys, golden monkeys, blue monkeys, chimpanzees, olive baboons, potto, L’Hoest’s, bush babies and others
A number of wild animals also love spending there time in this area’s forests like elephants, duikers, warthogs, wild pigs, giant forest hogs and many more but this doesn’t mean you will see all of them.
When you finally locate the mountain gorillas, the ranger guide has to first establish the prevailing conditions in the forest. In case the gorilla family is in a somber mood, he advises on how to behave with them just like in case there is a cause for celebration amongst the gorillas.
You are later allowed to observe the mountain gorillas but keep a distance of about 12 meters from them to reduce on the chances of spreading any infection. Take photos with a camera that is flash-less because mountain gorillas are scared of new occurrences in there vicinity. Exhaust all you need to see and sink into that moment with the mountain gorillas because it’s a once in a lifetime experience.
After you return to the briefing point to be awarded certificates of having accomplished your gorilla trekking adventure.
Gorilla Habituation Experience
Countries like Uganda have opened there doors to tourists take part in gorilla habituation. This is the process of helping the semi wild mountain gorillas get accustomed to the presence of humans without altering there natural being.
You have to acquire a gorilla habituation permit in advance to be part of this experience. In Uganda so far only the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is used for gorilla habituation.
Just like gorilla trekking, you need to have the right gears for gorilla habituation and get ready to rise up earlier than others. Only four tourists are allowed to be part of the team doing gorilla habituation. You follow a group of habituators and researchers who spend a number of days following and noting down the behaviors of a gorilla family under surveillance. This is a four’s hours experience which gives you extra time with the gorillas other than the one hour of gorilla trekking.
You get to watch the mountain gorillas de-nesting as the daybreaks and start searching for there breakfast from the vines, relax, groom the infants and much more family business. You need to have a notebook amongst your gears to take record of all about the mountain gorilla’s day life. Each mountain gorilla is observed as an individual and notes about its day life are recorded. No one is allowed to enter the forest without an escorting ranger guide because you you are not aware of the way through this vast forest or even fear of getting attacked by wild animals in the forest.
What Is The Cost Of Gorilla trekking and Gorilla Habituation
As of today, the Rwanda mountain gorilla trekking permit cost of $1500 per person per trek. Uganda the price for gorilla trekking permit is $ 700 per person per trek, $450 per person per trek in D.R.Congo. You need to book in advance your gorilla trekking permit because they are sold out fast as the world demand is high yet only 8 gorilla permits per family are released each day for viewing. Only one hours is allowed with the mountain gorillas when you locate them.
Gorilla habituation in Uganda costs $1500 per person per trek allowing you about 4 hours of following the mountain gorillas. You note down there activities and behavior
What time Do You Find The Mountain Gorillas
Finding the mountain gorillas depends on the prevailing weather conditions in the forest. Mountain gorillas meander the forest searching for food that will take them through the day and night
Sometimes trekkers may take about 2 hours or three quarters of the day to locate the mountain gorillas so some patience is necessary to succeed and enjoy the entire experience.
The proximity of the mountain gorilla food, the disharmony in the forest where by some wild gorillas attack there habituated fellows. In case the habituated gorilla family wins, there is celebration and accessibility will be easier. In case they loose a member at battle, the mountain gorillas mourn and go into hiding making the search to find them more challenging.
You just need to move in the forest with an open mind knowing that seeing a gorilla is necessary but enjoy other interesting features that the forest is endowed with. The time when you finally meet the mountain gorillas gives mixed feelings of anxiety and excitement.
How Safe Is Gorilla Trekking In Africa
The Gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National park and Mgahinga National park in Uganda is safe. In Rwanda, Volcanoes National park is safe which gives tourist chance to see the mountain gorillas without fear of being attacked.
The co-operation between security organs in Rwanda and Uganda keeps law and order in this area. A team of ranger guides wakes up early to head for the forest to search for where the mountain gorillas nested the previous night. They normally do not feed far from there. They offer are a report about the prevailing conditions in the wilderness. Its this report that the ranger guides use to explain about the condition of the mountain gorillas.
You also have to mind about persona safety by wearing the right gorilla trekking gears like tracking boots to protect your feet from pikes and thorns.
Carrying some insect repellants keeps stinging insects from attacking you. Staying closer to the gorilla group to which you are allocated saves you from getting lost in the vast Virunga area.
When To Book The Gorilla Trekking Permits in Africa
All year round you can book a gorilla trekking permits but to be safe atleast 3 months in advance would be the least time of gorilla permit booking. The demand for the mountain gorilla permits is high because of the limited number of permits released each day.
Every gorilla family can only be visited by maximum 8 clients to avoid mass tourism which may lead to trampling on the grass, dumping waste in the wilderness and so much more.
First come first served policy is used but you must pay to be given a gorilla permit. No one amongst the reservation team is allowed to preserve a gorilla permit without purchasing it. This was done to keep away those that were wasting time and making bookings that they do not honor.
The peak season of tourism is June to September and December to January and gorilla trekking permits of this period get sold out very fast. You must be ready to reserve your permit atleast 6 months to 3 months to the date of your gorilla trekking adventure.
How Difficult Is Gorilla trekking
The area that mountain gorillas live has a volcanic topography so you need to have some level of fitness to with stand the long hours ’walk. You do not have to be in the gym all the time but just take some extra walks in your close-by environment to stretch your muscles.
Hiking to get the slopes to find the mountain gorillas requires you to have some fitness. The gorillas at times feed from the slopes especially in the extreme wet seasons when the ground is boggy.
Wearing tracking boots with great treads helps you maneuver through the fallen creepers and soft volcanic soils along the way. A ranger guide with a machete clears the vines as way from the trials or even makes a path that leads to where the gorillas are feeding.
Carrying some energy snack to rejuvenate your energy is very important because you are not so sure of return times. The pace every trekker in your group takes determines a lot when you are to return. The ranger guide follow the pace of the slowest trek so that no one is left behind.
Asking for a porter at a friendly fee after briefing is very helpful especially when you reach the slippery areas. The porter gives you a push when you need it and carried your bags so that you are not burdened during the trek.
Contact us for more information about the mountain gorillas.