BEGINNERS GUIDE TO PLAN A GORILLA SAFARI IN AFRICA.
Tracking gorillas in Africa is an unforgettable and awe-inspiring experience that allows you to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Gorilla tracking is a unique adventure that requires preparation, respect for the environment, and a sense of wonder. Within Africa, gorillas are mainly found in Uganda (Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga Gorilla national park), Rwanda ( Volcanoes national park) and DRC Congo ( Kahuzi Biega national park).
Planning a gorilla safari in Africa can be an exciting and rewarding experience. In case you are a first time gorilla traveller, the beginner’s guide will help you make the most of your gorilla tracking expedition in any of your African gorilla destination. You will be able to choose which destination to go to, where to stay, what to pack for the experience and also how trekking supports the mountain gorillas and the local population as follows
Choose a gorilla destination
Africa is home to several countries where you can track gorillas, but two popular destinations are Rwanda and Uganda. Rwanda offers gorilla tracking opportunities in Volcanoes National Park, while Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is another prime location. Besides, the unbeatable Bwindi in Uganda, there is Mgahinga gorilla national park which has the same terrain as that of Volcanoes national park in Rwanda. Therefore, a traveller ought to first of all choose which destination to take for the gorilla experience.
Secure a gorilla permits
Gorilla tracking permits are essential and typically need to be secured in advance. The number of permits is limited to protect the gorillas and their habitat. It’s advisable to book your permits well ahead of time, as they can sell out quickly. These permits can be got directly through tourism boards like Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) at 700 USD or Rwanda Development Board (RDB) at 1500USD. However, the most efficient way is through a trustworthy tour operator who will do all the paperwork in your best interests. This is help you to secure availability and make sure that you do not miss out. It is for this reason that i present to you the one and only Gorilla Safaris Africa for amazing experiences.
Choose a reputable tour operator.
While it is possible to plan a gorilla safari independently, using a reputable tour operator can greatly simplify the process and enhance your experience. Research and read reviews about different tour operators, keeping an eye out for their experience, customer satisfaction, and ethical practices. A good tour operator will handle logistics, transportation, accommodation, and guides, ensuring that you can focus on enjoying the experience without worries.
Physical Fitness and health
Gorilla tracking involves hiking through dense forests and uneven terrain. While you don’t need to be an athlete, a reasonable level of fitness is important. Consult with your doctor before the trip to ensure you are in good health, as gorillas share a significant amount of genetic material with humans, making them susceptible to human diseases.
Best time for gorilla trekking
It is also important for the trekker to consider the best time to visit the gorilla destination based on weather, availability of permits, and the personal schedule. Dry seasons of June- August and December – February are generally better for trekking, as the trails are less muddy and the weather is more predictable. However, do not be surprised by the rains that might get you all soaked even in the dry season.
From any of the chosen gorilla destination, be ready to find accommodation facilities that will perfectly suit your desires. As you chose from the options of luxury, midrange and budget, it is important to bear in mind the proximity between the accommodation and the gorilla briefing point to do away with long drives and late arrivals at the briefing point.
Craft your itinerary
It is also crucial for a traveller to craft an itinerary that includes the gorilla trekking experience as well as other activities that interest you in other destinations. Such as exploring nearby national parks, cultural visits, or wildlife safaris. A typical gorilla trekking itinerary involves an early morning briefing, followed by a hike into the forest to locate the gorilla family assigned to your group. Keep in mind that trekking can be physically demanding, so ensure you are adequately prepared.
Pack appropriately for the conditions like too much sunshine and also the rains that maybe so abrupt Some essential items include sturdy hiking boots with ankle support, comfortable, moisture-wicking clothing (earth-toned colors are recommended), rain jacket and waterproof pants, insect repellent and sunscreen, hat and sunglasses, gloves for protecting hands from vegetation, binoculars and camera with extra batteries, small backpack for carrying water and snacks. These snacks and a bottle of water will help to keep you hydrated in the due course of the trek. You should also consider the requirements that are recommended by the tour operator.
Follow and respect the gorilla rules
Gorillas are wild animals, and it’s crucial to minimize your impact on their habitat. Follow the rules and guidelines provided by the park authorities, including maintaining a safe distance (usually around 7 meters), keeping the voices low and not making sudden movements. When it comes to taking pictures, capture the memories responsibly. Be mindful about the camera flashes as these tend to interrupt their peace.
Physical preparation and health precaution
Gorilla trekking involves hiking in sometimes challenging terrain. Prior to your trip, engage in regular physical activities to improve your fitness level and endurance. This will make the trekking experience more enjoyable. Health wise, it is important to check with your doctor about any necessary vaccinations or health precautions before traveling to Africa. Additionally, consider travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and trip cancellations.
Respect for local cultures and communities is an integral part of responsible travel. Take the time to learn about the local customs and traditions, and interact respectfully with the people you encounter. Purchasing local crafts and products can also contribute positively to the communities surrounding the gorilla habitats.
Age limit for gorilla trekking
The minimum age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 years of age and there is no maximum rate. Therefore, if you are planning to travel with your mum, grannies it is all possible. These people who not fit to reach the places where the gorillas are can be carried on the sedan chairs by the porters and back to the starting point.
Gorilla permit cancellation penalties
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority, Rwanda Development Board in Rwanda and Congo Virunga national park Authority. To take part in gorilla trekking , you must have a permit which indicates a trekking date. The gorilla cancellation policies in Uganda, Rwanda and Condo are all the same, therefore incase of failure to make it to the date of the trek without communication, you will not get a refund.
How difficult is the trek: You should be prepared to walk through a difficult terrain with rocky peaks and valleys for around 3 hours, while sometimes contact can be made after 45 minutes and other times it takes 6 hours. The trekking routes can become exceedingly slippery and difficult during the wet season. You should be ready to go for up to 6 hours in any scenario, but sometimes the rains will move the gorillas to lower ground and reduce the walk. The walk is more difficult because there are times when the terrain is steep because gorillas normally favor the highlands.
Safari duration : The number of days will vary depending on the activities you decide to engage in. Because a 3-day gorilla safari is like putting your toes in the water and pretending you’re swimming, it is preferable to have more than 6 days to enjoy the gorillas and other animals on your safari.
Gorilla expectation: After making the difficult trip through the dense jungles to view the gorillas, you will get an hour to spend with them as they go about their daily activities, which include feeding, playing, and caring for their young. You’ll be allowed to take pictures and make films during this hour. Remember to put the needs of the gorillas before your own when taking photos, and turn off your camera’s flashes to avoid stressing the animals.
In conclusion, gorilla trekking in Africa is a fantastic way to get in touch with the natural environment and discover more about one of the planet’s most intriguing creatures. It’s an adventure that will stick with you forever, from the beautiful splendor of the forests to the memorable moment when you get to see gorillas up close. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or a novice, our thorough guide will assist you in creating the ideal itinerary and maximizing your time in Africa. Why then wait? Plan your trip now and set out on a journey that will forever transform you. Have faith in Gorilla Safaris Africa; you won’t regret it..