Trekking Mountain Gorillas In Uganda And Rwanda During Rainy Seasons. Pros And Cons
Doing gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda, the rainy season has its fantastic moments and hitches. Whether you do gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda or both, your feelings do not remain the same, especially when you finally stand face to face with some of the few leftover mountain gorillas in the world.
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The rainy season of the Virunga area is composed of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park And Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, plus the parts of the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, which are normally received in March, April, May, and November. Over 2390 mm of rain is received annually in this area. Sometimes, soft drizzles fall in this area for long hours without warning.
Due to regular rains, sometimes temperatures may drop to as low as 7 degrees centigrade.
No matter what is prevailing in the wilderness, gorilla trekking carries on all year and seasons but has some regulations that govern it; conservation of mountain gorillas takes center stage in all these activities, whether gorilla trekking, gorilla habituation, research, birding, forest walks to mention but a few.
Doing gorilla trekking in the wet season has pros and cons, but meeting the mountain gorillas is still one of the best lifetime adventure experiences.
What Are The Pros Of Gorilla trekking In The Wet Season?
Last-minute gorilla permits may be available.
We all know that last-minute travel plans may cause panic and may be disappointing at times; however, the gorilla safari preparations stimulate some adrenaline no matter when you book,
If you feel like doing a gorilla trekking safari in the wet season, you have a high chance of finding last-minute gorilla permits. We know the permit is the only entry ticket to the gorilla trekking experience.
Gorilla permits are limited to regulate the number of visitors to the forest each day, as mass tourism comes with a number of problems. For conservation reasons, mountain gorilla permits are limited to 8 per day per family.
Currently, Uganda has 19 gorilla families open for gorilla trekking, which is 152 gorilla permits. Rwanda currently has 15 gorilla families available for gorilla trekking, 96 gorilla permits.
With this limited number of gorilla permits in Uganda and Rwanda, yet demand for them worldwide is overwhelming, chances of last-minute gorilla permits are slim. During the dry season, which is normally June, July, August, September, December, And January, gorilla permit pre-booking is closed off 3 months prior to the gorilla trekking date. Last-minute gorilla permits for the peak season are challenging to get.
In Uganda, gorilla permits are booked according to an area in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with Buhoma, Nkuringo, Rushaga, and Nkuringo areas. You must overnight in the area where your permit is booked. In case you get a gorilla permit on resell last minute, but it is for another area from where you overnighted, it may only be helpful if you are in that area by the day of trekking.
Un Prepare For Exclusive Gorilla Trekking Adventure
If you wish to test your chances of going on a solo gorilla trek without paying extra money to close off the gorilla family, the wet season, which also acts as the low tourism season for Uganda and Rwanda, is the best option.
There are normally fewer gorilla safari bookings in the wet season, so those booked can use this advantage to have less or no person obstructing them while with the mountain gorillas without spending extra money.
Opens Chances For Limited Budget Tourists
In case you wish to do gorilla trekking but have a limited budget, the low season is an excellent time to book this gorilla safari. Sometimes, the Uganda Wildlife Authority or Rwanda Development Board offer promotional permits at discounted prices, but this is not a guarantee every year.
Even service providers like lodges, hotels, driver guides, car hire services, and others may discount their prices to break even in the low season, which also serves as the wet season.
Variety Of Accommodations Are Available
In the wet season, fewer tourists usually book gorilla trekking and most other safari activities in Uganda and Rwanda. You can choose from a variety of accommodations available in and out of these gorilla trekking parks.
As some may discount their prices during the wet season, you may receive an upgrade even with a limited budget.
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we pass some of these discounts to our customers in case we have forwarded this chance. Our over 10 years in the tourism industry have opened great working relationships with a number of accommodation facilities of all plans, which we may extend to our clients in case they require some assistance, especially with discounted prices. The more people travel, the more horizons are opened.
What Are The Cons Of Gorilla Trekking In The Rainy Season?
Getting Wet and cold during gorilla trekking in the wet season
Much as the mountain gorillas live in a totally cold Virunga area almost the most significant part of the year, the wet season is evident and extremely cold. Normally, the wet season in the Virunga area starts in March, April, May, October, and November. The wettest season usually is October, with an average rainfall of about 300 millimeters. Note that seasons change over time due to global warming.
On the gorilla trekking packing list, you must include rainproof gear like a poncho and raincoat that can protect you from rains that fall any time without warning. Sometimes, it may drizzle the entire day, creating cold conditions in the forest.
Every tourist is advised to carry at least a warmer or wear long-sleeved safari attire that can keep you warm in case it falls and temperatures drop. Gorilla trekking is a lifetime safari experience, but you need to carry the right gorilla safari gear.
Mountain Gorillas Sometimes Move To The Slopes
During the severe wet season, the mountain gorillas may migrate to the slopes of the ridges where the ground is not soggy. As a tourist, you must sometimes hike to where the gorilla family may be lounging or feeding. This is challenging, especially when the ground is slippery after matter has decomposed and mixed with the running water.
Even when the mountain gorillas move to the valleys, you must find them there. Wild animals need no one to direct them where to be. They are never choreographed to human presence but live in a free world.
Wearing the right hiking boots saves you from getting hurt while you search to find the mountain gorillas.
Roads To The Gorilla Trekking Destinations Become Impassable Sometimes
The Virunga area has soft, slippery volcanic soils, especially during the west season. Even the constructed roads and bridges to the gorilla trekking destinations for some routes, especially in Uganda, may be washed away during the wet season. This may prolong the journey since you have to use other routes.
Using a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle with a professional and skilled driver guide during the gorilla safari is the best option to avoid getting stuck on the roads.
You may get bored while on gorilla safari during the wet season
If you are an outdoors person on holiday, the wet season’s rains may keep you indoors all the days on holiday. There are little outdoor activities since most of the activities in the park are outdoor.
Even when you wish to meet other holidaymakers during your days on a gorilla safari, all may be in vain.
Even the more, the merrier your safari experience; much as you wish to avoid a crowd around you while taking a gorilla trekking trip, some find the experience boring if taken solo.
You get to recap the experience of being with the mountain gorillas alone. Sometimes, you wish to share a gorilla trekking adventure with some company.
Flights To Gorilla Trekking Destinations May Be Delayed
In the severe rainy season, flights to the gorilla trekking destinations may be delayed due to the prevailing weather conditions of the day. Daily or chartered flights to Kisoro airstrip in Uganda are always antagonized by weather conditions since it gets foggy in this area.
When Is The Best Time To Book A Gorilla Permit For The Wet Season In Uganda And Rwanda?
The wet season is the low season tourism season in Uganda and Rwanda; you may book gorilla permits even up to the last minute; however, this is only a guarantee sometimes. It is best to reserve gorilla permits for the wet season at least 3 months in advance to give no chances to panicking at the last minute.
Much as gorilla permits for the low season are less booked, some days are overwhelmingly booked. It would be best to enquire about gorilla permit availability from a professional and accredited tour operator like Encounter Africa Safaris to get the right details in time.
How Long Is Gorilla Trekking In The Rainy Season?
The duration of a gorilla trekking adventure is hard to determine, no matter the season.
Some tourists have met the mountain gorillas and returned after 2 hours, while others have spent over three-quarters of the day searching for the mountain gorillas.
Locating the mountain gorillas depends on factors like the prevailing weather conditions of the days, the pace of the trekkers, in case of a fight with another gorilla family, the adventurous nature of the family, the death of a family member, and so many more.
Some patience is necessary during gorilla trekking, and keep your mind open as you trek to locate the mountain gorillas. You can look out for the beautiful birds and other primate species in the forest, like black and white colobus, vervet monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons, etc.
How Difficult Is Gorilla Trekking In The Wet Season?
The nature of the topography of the Virunga area is generally volcanic, with plateaus and draughty ridges to hike sometimes to find the mountain gorillas. These highlands are covered by creepers and other tangled vegetation that drape over a deeply fissured landscape.
The dense network of rivers in the Virunga area may flood the floor of the forest, making it slippery and soggy. If you get stuck, you must wear the proper safari boots as protective gear for your feet.
The ranger guide with a machete tries to trim the overgrown foliage, especially along the trails, to create a more straightforward path for tourists to see the mountain gorillas.
Even if the terrain is far from negotiating, meeting the mountain gorillas is worth all your efforts.
How Can I Be Sure To See The Mountain Gorillas In The Wet Season?
Seeing the mountain gorillas is 99% a sure deal, no matter the year’s season. Mountain gorillas occupy an area for some time. Still, factors like proximity of their food, in case of attacks from another gorilla family due to territorial dominancy, death of a family member, and others may force them to relocate.
Each day, a team of trackers follows the gorilla families and provides clues of some of their possible ways. The ranger guides escorting tourists to meet a particular family follow these instructions, and sometimes, the mountain gorillas may be found as advised or very close to the clues.
If you find mountain gorillas in the wet season, you will find them. When you trek and do not find them, you are given a refund according to the Rwanda Development Board or Uganda Wildlife Authority refund policy.
Gorilla trekking is unlike game safari, where chances of finding wild animals are probable. These wild animals occupy a vast area; most live as individuals and not in cohesive families. The leopards typically live a solitary life, and hunting is on an individual basis. Mountain gorillas live in families under the supervision of the dominant silverback.
Trekking mountain gorillas in the rainy season is possible, contact us for more information.