What to Expect on A Gorilla Safari
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is a unique experience. You may want to know more about what to expect and whether this activity is right for you. Alternatively, you might be delighted that Intare safaris was able to get your gorilla trekking permits and wish to come prepared.
Mountain gorilla trekking is by far the most popular thing that visitors should do while visiting Africa for a safari vacation. There will always be stories and expressions about this interesting meeting with the mountain gorillas, notwithstanding how often people have written and spoken about how gorilla trekking is a magnificent experience that brings you close to the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitats. Potential gorilla trekkers are left wondering how the full gorilla safari may be successful from beginning to end by the fascinating tales and wonderful experiences. In order to make sure you are well prepared to enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime event, we present you in-depth information about what to anticipate on a gorilla safari.
First Things First, Where are the Gorillas Found?
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda, Where to find the Gorillas
In Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are where you may undertake gorilla trekking. Twelve gorilla families are currently accessible for trekking in Uganda. The terrain in Bwindi makes the trekking a little bit different from that in Mgahinga. Each of the several sectors of Bwindi has a number of gorilla families. Because the site is somewhat far away, it’s crucial to know which sector you’ll be following before making a lodge reservation. These are the sectors: Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo, and Rushaga.
The gorillas in Mgahinga are primarily found in the mid-vegetation of Mt. Muhabura’s Virunga volcanoes, particularly in the open parts of the bamboo zone. Previously, this gorilla family would frequently travel to Rwanda, but now has since made Mgahinga its home, be sure to find them if you choose track the Mgahinga gorilla group.
To enjoy the experience of gorilla trekking, you need to prepare adequately starting with choice of tour operator to plan the entire safari, lodges and purchase of gorilla permits. The minimum age for trekking gorillas is 15 years. You require to purchase your gorilla permit much earlier especially if you want a specific date because only 8 people can trek a gorilla family per day.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON A GORILLA SAFARI
Seeing the gorillas in the wilds of Uganda is on many a bucket list. But how do you make sure to get the most out of this incredible experience? Discover the best insights on our “What to Expect on a Gorilla Safari blog”
On the Gorilla Trekking Day
What to expect on your gorilla safari as you start the trekking
On the day of your trek, expect to leave your comfortable bed early enough, am move to the briefing point by 7:30am. After briefing, tourists will be allocated different tracking routes, each 8 tourists. Head to the forest accompanied by guides and rangers as you begin you search for gorillas.
In the forest, you may see monkey species, butterfly species, mammals and so much more. Sometimes the forest is challenging and a good level of fitness will be required. At the end of the day, expect to be muddy and sweaty.
Once you see the gorillas, its okay to take photos with your camera or iPhone but avoid flash or else the gorillas might charge. You will spend between 40 minutes and 1 hour in company of these gentle giants. It will be such a life changing experience. After the trek, head back to you accommodation or opt for a cultural village experience of the Batwa pygmies.
What to Expect on a Gorilla Safari – As The Trekking Begins
Find out what you should expect as your trek begins
The hike through the forest is challenging and tough-going (your guides will often have to clear a path through the ferns that clog the undergrowth), but it’s within reach for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. You will get muddy though. And sweaty too at the same time. Beneath the forest canopy the humidity is very high, and it’s a good idea to bring a canteen of fresh water to hydrate as you go.
If you are particularly concerned about the terrain, consider hiring a local porter. The porters will carry your bag, and help to you navigate some of the steeper, or trickier sections of the trek. In fact, hiring a porter on a gorilla trek is a common practice by travellers of all ages and abilities. Not only does it make the trek easier for you, but you’re also providing a valuable source of employment for locals. The minimum cost of hiring a porter on a gorilla trek in Bwindi is $20USD,
Hiking into the Jungle For the Gorilla Trek
What to Expect on a Gorilla Safari as you dive into the Forest
The hike into the jungle begins when the group of 8 people is set and ready to begin the search for the gorillas. Each group of travelers is led by an armed ranger and a trekking guide as you hike up and down in search of the allocated gorilla family. This is not an easy venture but rather a strenuous hiking activity via slippery muddy grounds with thorny bushes and cold weather inside the dense forests. The hiking time may vary from 30 minutes to a couple of hours depending on the movement and location of the gorillas but with 99% guarantee to meet the gorillas. Hiking is an opportunity to encounter other primates with in the forest such as monkeys, baboons and many bird species, which together make the experience memorable. All travelers are reminded to keep in the allocated groups and follow the rangers closely since parting from the group can make one get lost in the jungle and even something dangerous to happen to one’s life. Expect to get dirt as you crawl on the ground and as you grab tree branches for support.
Meet and Greet with the Gorillas
Finally after a strenuous hike, you meet the mountain giants!
Eventually, after bush-bashing your way through the scrub on a long hike through the beautiful tropical rain forest, you’ll come across a gorilla family, peacefully playing in a forest clearing. Its hear that all fatigue, panting and sweating due to the hike will disappear into excitement and joy as look into the eyes of a dominant silverback guarding the entire family. A silver back is the head of the family just like a dad in a human home, while adult females nurse the young one while the juveniles entertain the family keeping it live and enjoyable. Your trekking guides and rangers will have prepared you for what to expect on the gorilla safari. There’s no direct interaction with the gorillas (unless one moves past you), but you should get pretty close. You’ll have a good 45 minutes to 1 hour to just sit and observe these animals in their natural habitat.
One of the most important Gorilla Trekking Rules is to keep a distance of seven metres from the gorillas. There’s no guarantee that the gorillas will stick to this however! You will often move around the forest while you are with them. If they approach you, the rangers will ask you to step back. Equally if they walk into the forest, you may be allowed to follow them a little way.