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Gorilla trekking in Bwindi

Common gorilla trekking mistakes to avoid

Tourists occasionally commit a few errors when going gorilla trekking. The following list of typical dangers should be avoided before going on a gorilla trekking experience. We also have a bonus tip that is specific to Bwindi Forest gorilla trekking.

5 common gorilla trekking mistakes

You should steer clear of these typical blunders whether you’re traveling to Rwanda or Uganda for a gorilla trek because they can entirely ruin your trip or at the very least make it less enjoyable.

1. Not booking permits in advance

Gorilla trekking permits are limited to eight people per group of gorillas per day. While Uganda now has many habituated gorilla groups, trekking to see them has become very popular and the permits can become very limited. You need to book your permit often months in advance. If you show up on the day hoping to secure the permit, you’re likely to be disappointed.

2. Arriving on a wrong day

The second frequent error made by tourists who travel to see mountain gorillas is showing up on an incorrect day. The dates for which permits are issued are fixed, and they cannot be changed. This is due to how far in advance trek groups fill up. And take note that refunds are not offered.

3. Not bringing your passport on the trek

On the day of the gorilla trek, visitors must bring their passports as park officials will check them against permits to ensure that only legitimate permit holders are admitted to the park. You might not be able to enter the park if you forget your passport! You might be able to quickly return to your lodging to get it, but even that will be upsetting. You’ll likely miss the excursion at worst.

4. Not wearing hiking boots

Most people don’t realize how difficult it may be to hike in East African alpine woods. In brand-new footwear, this should not be attempted. It’s crucial to wear well-fitting, durable hiking boots. This will assist you in maintaining your balance on the slick jungle trails. See our comprehensive packing list for gorilla trekking.

5. Not packing the right clothing

You must be adequately dressed to avoid getting cold, wet, scratched, bitten by insets, or sunburned, as we detail in The complete guide to what to bring for gorilla trekking. A long-sleeved top, a warm jacket, long leggings, long socks, a waterproof jacket, tough gloves, and a sunhat are the important items to carry. And, don’t forget to wear face sunscreen.

Next, make sure you have a bag, enough water, and snacks to last you the entire journey. If you’d like, you can pay a porter to carry this for you.

Download your free packing list for Uganda! Check off everything you need to bring with you to Uganda!

Bonus tip for gorilla trekking in Bwindi

A common (and rather tragic) mistake on the part of many would-be gorilla trekkers in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is arriving at the entrance to a different section of the park to what’s on their permit. Bwindi is a large park of 331 km² (128 mi²), and you can’t quickly zoom from one entrance to another.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park comprises four regions:

  • Buhoma in the northwest
  • Ruhija in the east
  • Rushaga in the south
  • Nkuringo in the southwest

Booking a gorilla trekking permit for Bwindi entitles you to one for a particular area of the park. This cannot be altered. You will therefore be unable to complete your walk if you arrive in Buhoma with a permission for Nkuringo, for example.

We advise you to travel with a seasoned and reliable tour company like Follow Alice to avoid mistakes like those mentioned above. We assure that our clients don’t return home with any tragic tales about their gorilla holidays failing to see any mountain gorillas because we are well knowledgeable about the ins and outs of gorilla trekking.

The cost-effectiveness of group travel in terms of lodging and transportation is a further justification for making a reservation through a tour operator.


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