What you Need to know while planning Gorilla Trekking

What you Need to know while planning Gorilla Trekking

  • When is the best time to trek mountain gorillas?

The dry season between the months of May, June, July, August, September, early October, December, and January is, however, the best time to visit gorillas when forest grounds are less slippery and not muddy. The low season of February, March, April, and November has its own advantages. hotels and lodges in Bwindi forest and other gorilla destinations normally give discounted room rates during the low season hence the best time to travel for budget travelers. However, mountain gorillas can be visited at any time of the year.

  • How Much is a gorilla permit?

Gorilla permit prices vary from country to country.  Rwanda gorilla permits cost $1500 each; Uganda at $700 each for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents and 300,000 UGX for East African residents. The Democratic Republic of Congo has the cheapest gorilla permit costing $450 in the peak season and $400 in the low season.

  • Where do mountain gorillas live?

Mountain gorillas live in the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and the Virunga conservation area shared by Mgahinga gorilla, Volcanoes and Virunga National parks in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo respectively. A combined gorilla safari to both parks offers you with an exceptional experience. Each park is different from the other in terms of location, access, and the number of habituated gorilla families. Bwindi has the highest number of mountain gorillas with 17 gorilla families habituated for trekking, Volcanoes has 10 gorilla families, Mgahinga has one gorilla family while Virunga national park has 8 gorilla families habituated for trekking.

  • When to book for gorilla permit?

Due to the high demand for gorilla permits, This requires travelers to book as early as possible and secure them in time. Last time bookings stand limited chances of accessing permits. You also pay a 20% booking fee to deposit on their permits and the balance to be paid two months before trekking date to avoid any disappointments in the last hour.

  • What is gorilla trekking age limit?

Age limit is 15 years in all gorilla trekking destinations. Each traveler below 15 years is not allowed to trek mountain gorillas despite his/her physical appearance and capabilities. Age limit is put to ensure the safety of travelers and mountain gorillas in the jungle. However, if a child is almost making 15 years, his/her parent can sign an agreement as fully responsible for anything that may happen to the child during the trekking time. The letter is written and signed by the parent and then submitted to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) or Rwanda Development Board (RDB) for confirmation.

  • What’s the packing list for gorilla trekking?

Endeavor to carry all essentials required for gorilla trekking. The proper packing list includes among others:

  1. Hiking boots for easy walking
  2.  Hand gloves to avoid touching mud
  3. Long sleeved shirts and blouses to protect from thorny bushes
  4. Rain jackets for the changing forest weather
  5. Sun glasses and hat to protect from direct sun
  6. Long pants and stockings tacked into boots prevent bites by ground insects.
  7. Energy giving snacks
  8. Enough drinking waters
  9. How many people trek a gorilla family?

Eight people visit one gorilla family every day. Only 8 permits are therefore available for each gorilla group in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo each day. The allocation of gorillas to travelers depend on the hiking abilities of travelers. Travelers are therefore reminded to disclose their hiking abilities to their guides so as to get a suitable gorilla family they can hike with no difficulty.

  • How long time do I spend with gorillas?

The actual time to spend with gorillas is strictly an hour counted from the time travelers meet the allocated gorilla family. However, you can spend several hours in the jungle before reaching gorillas. The hike can be as short as 30 minutes to several hours depending on the location of the allocated gorilla family and their speed of movements.  An hour is for taking photographs, capturing videos and embracing the human-like characters of mountain gorillas plus their social behaviors.

  • What are the gorilla trekking rules and regulations? The dos and don ts of gorilla trekking include among others:
  • Keep a distance of seven meters away from mountain gorillas
  • Keep within a group
  • Speak at a low tone
  • Avoid direct eye contact with the gorillas.
  • Keep calm when a mountain gorilla changes
  • Do not throw rubbish in the park
  • Do not feed gorillas
  • Do not touch gorillas
  • What about gorilla habituation experience?

Gorilla Habituation experience allows you 4 hours or 240 minutes along with researchers and park rangers in the presence of the primates. Visitors are limited to 4 persons which enhances the experience. A visitor is not a mere observer but an active participant in the habituation process. It is only in Rushaga that a gorilla family has been put aside for research purposes and thus open to Gorilla Habituation Experience. A gorilla ticket, in this case, costs $1500.

  • Can I trek Uganda gorillas from Kigali?

YES, you can trek mountain gorillas in Uganda from Kigali Rwanda. Nowadays, Rwanda Uganda gorilla safaris are well done helping travelers in Rwanda to cross and trek gorillas in Uganda. Here you can fly into Kigali international airport and drive for four hours to Bwindi forest national park/Mgahinga gorilla national parks through Cyanika border in kisoro district.

What if I fail to see gorillas?

In rare cases where travelers fail to see mountain gorillas, respective park management give a second chance to trek visit gorillas the next day to trek again without paying. However, if a traveler fails to see gorillas due to his/her physical unfitness or sickness, he or she is not refunded anything since it’s not the fault of the respective park management.

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