Things to consider when booking a solo gorilla trekking safari in Uganda and Rwanda
Traveling for gorilla trekking as a solo tourist gives you time to enjoy that moment with the mountain gorillas as an individual without worrying about where your travel partner may have been allocated. Before gorilla trekking, you go for a briefing at the ranger station; then, you are assigned the different gorilla families according to age, fitness, and other considerations, so even when you travel with someone, you may be given different families.
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Highlights Of What To Consider For Gorilla Trekking Safari As a Solo Tourist
- Why go gorilla trekking as solo tourists
- When is the best time to book a gorilla permit
- What accommodation to book for gorilla trekking
- Which is the best country to do gorilla trekking from as a solo tourist
- How many days can I spend on a gorilla trekking safari as a lone tourist
- What safari package to choose as a solo tourist?
- What to pack for gorilla trekking safari
Why Go Gorilla Trekking As Solo Tourists
Going gorilla trekking as a solo tourist brings mixed feelings, especially if you are a first-timer, but you need to trust the destinations where you are going to go gorilla trekking because they are safe. People save their hard-earned money for some time to take the gorilla trekking experience, but the hassle of obtaining the gorilla permits puts many off.
If you can purchase your gorilla permit, use it if you have the time and funds to support your travel plans. Gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that requires you to use any chance you get to the maximum. Gorilla permits are limited to maximum of 8 tourists per gorilla family for conservation reasons.
The gorilla trekking destinations are safe, especially Uganda and Rwanda, because of the vagrancy of the rangers and other security organs in each country to keep law and order in this area.
You also need to pay attention to personal safety by not entering the forest without an escorting ranger guide, avoiding counting large sums of money in public, keep up with the rest of the group during gorilla trekking so that you are not lost in the forest and other personal safety measures.
When Can I Book A Gorilla Permit As Solo Tourist
You must book your gorilla permit in advance to avoid the last-minute hassle of securing one. The gorilla permits are sold out fast because of high demand worldwide. In addition, no permit is reserved without payment since a first come, first served policy is used. Although gorilla trekking is an all-year-round activity, it is best to book your permit at least six months to one year in advance, especially for peak season permits. June to September and December to January have a high demand for gorilla permits, yet their supply is limited.
Last-minute gorilla trekking permits may be available in the low season, that is, March to May or November, but this is not guaranteed. It also limits you on the possible service options available for you to choose from.
Can I Reschedule My Gorilla Permit
You must write to these bodies in advance about your wish to reschedule your gorilla permit, which date you wish to reschedule too, and the reason for rescheduling. In case you have standing evidence, attach it too as support evidence.
Later your gorilla permit will be rescheduled as requested.
Note that your gorilla permit must be fully paid for those purchasing them in Instalments. Chances of purchasing the gorilla permit installment are available in Rwanda and Uganda, that is, 30 % and 70%. However, this applies before 90 days of the date of trekking, and you must top up fully 90 days before the date of trekking.
What Accommodation To Book For Gorilla Trekking
Rwanda has a variety of accommodations close to the park that range from luxury to mid-range or budget facilities.
Some of the Rwanda Gorilla safari accommodations include Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Kinigi Guest House, Lebambou, and others. You can also overnight in Kigali city, but you need to rise very early to catch up with the briefing time at ORTPN.
In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda, accommodations are booked according to the area because the park is vast. Therefore, it was subdivided into four areas: the Ruhija area in the east, the Rushaga area in the south, the Buhoma area in the south, and the Nkuringo area.
The gorilla permits for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are purchased according to the area, yet the drive time from one location to another is long. When you obtain a gorilla permit for another site, you may be required to rise early to drive in the dark to catch up with a briefing. This is a risky attempt as you may get stuck on the road.
Some accommodations in Bwindi Impenetrable national park include Gorilla Forest Camp, Clouds Lodge, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Mahogany Springs, Gorilla Resort, Lake Kitandara Campsite, Gorilla safari camp, Silverback Lodge, and others.
Mgahinga National Park in Uganda accommodations still need to be improved because the park is also less visited. Some accommodations include Gahinga Lodge, while others can be accessed from Kisoro town.
Which Is the Best Country To Do Gorilla Trekking As a Solo Tourist
Whether doing gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda, that time when you are face to face with the mountain gorillas makes you forget all you may have gone through while preparing to do this safari.
By doing gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda, you get to select which country is your favorite personally. The time difference between the two countries is about 6 hours to 7 hours apart. Therefore, you can visit Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and proceed for gorilla trekking in either Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park in Uganda.
The difference between Uganda and Rwanda gorilla trekking can also be determined from factors like:
The gorilla permit cost, where Rwanda gorilla permits costs $1500 per person, while the Uganda gorilla permit costs $700 per person per trek. This includes one hour with the mountain gorillas, ranger guide fees, gorilla fund support, security, etc. The gorilla permit costs exclude drinks, tipping, transport, and any other items of personal nature.
The Drive time from Kigali Airport to Volcanoes National Park is about 3 hours going through winding roads, but the longest route is tarmacked. The drive from Entebbe Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park is about 8 to 9 hours on dusty roads, especially in the countryside.
Uganda gorilla trekking has a variety of activities that can be combined to shorten the drive, like game drives, chimpanzee trekking, birding, and others. On the other hand, Rwanda gorilla trekking is limited, with other safari options to combine with it, including chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe National Park and game drives in Akagera National Park.
The number of gorilla families available for gorilla trekking includes 19 gorilla families in Uganda, while Rwanda has 12 gorilla families open for public booking.
How Many Days Can I Spend On Gorilla Trekking Safari as Solo Tourist
You must note the number of days you wish to be on your gorilla trekking safari. In Uganda, the minimum number of days you can be on safari is three gorilla trekking, while in Rwanda, the minimum number of days can be two days gorilla trekking.
Does double gorilla trek in case you wish to spend more time with the mountain gorillas or opt for gorilla habituation in Uganda, which takes 4 hours with the gorillas? However, these are semi-habituated mountain gorillas whose mood changes at any time, so you need to be more patient and obedient to gorilla trekking rules.
You can do five days of gorilla trekking and chimpanzee trekking, 7 Days of gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking, and wildlife safari, ten days of gorilla, chimpanzee trekking and wildlife Tour, and so much more.
What Safari Package To Choose As Solo Tourist
The gorilla trekking safaris are quoted according to Budget, Mid-range, or Luxury packages. Each package has inclusions and exclusions according to the client’s needs. Before selecting a gorilla trekking package, you must know your budget plan so that you can spend accordingly.
You must also choose which means of transport you wish to use to get to the road or air transport destinations. Ensure you hire a transfer vehicle from the airstrip where the flights land to the lodges because they do not land in the National Parks. All these must be reserved in advance.
How To Prepare For Gorilla Trekking as A Solo Tourist
Ensure you do some simple exercises in order to keep fit. Gorilla trekking is an adventurous activity where you walk through the jungle. The topography of this area is covered with highlands due to volcanic activity. Even the time you may take to locate the mountain gorillas is still being determined, so you must be fit enough to follow them where they may reside.
Book your international Flights in time so that you do not have to panic at the last moment when you have to fly into Africa. The date of gorilla trekking has yet to be rescheduled at the last minute, yet each gorilla permit is only valuable up to the date it is booked.
When you miss your flight and have no extra days for the gorilla trekking date, the chances of not participating in this adventure are high. Therefore, we advise our clients to purchase their international tickets in time. It is best to spend at least a day in either Uganda or Rwanda before starting the gorilla trek safari.
What Can I Pack For Gorilla Trekking Safari As Solo Tourist
- A camera to take photos of your meeting with the mountain gorillas. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience with memories worth keeping and returning to later.
- Garden gloves protect your palms from harsh conditions in the wilderness.
- Insect repellant to keep away stinging insects that may cause you harm.
- Raincoat in case it rains without warning, as this area receives rain any time of the day.
- Warm wear to keep you warm any time when it rains, early morning or late afternoon.
- Backpack with your belongings so they are not scattered in the wilderness or wet when it rains.
- Torch to light in case solar lights go off at night.
- Water bottle to carry with drinking water if you get thirsty from walking in the wilderness.
- Duffel bag to carry with your belongings. It must be light enough to carry in case you get no assistance.
- Safari boots to wear in the jungle, and they must be comfortable enough to walk through the jungle, which is sometimes slippery and soggy.
- Safari hat to protect your hair from water that drips from the leaves.
- Snacks to munch on while trekking to locate the mountain gorillas. The way is long, but breakfast should be taken earlier to last the entire trek.
- Extra fully charged batteries to exchange with in case one runs low
- Bug spray in case your room has some.
- Toiletries that your skin is comfortable with. Some lodges provide them, but what is provided may affect someone with sensitive skin. Carry your own to avoid anything that will take away your joy of doing gorilla trekking.
- First Aid kit with Items that can be used for emergency treatment in case you get injured in the wilderness.
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