Trekkers have to be physically fit to hike for at least an hour due to the steep terrain of Bwindi Forest National park.
There is an option of hiring porters to carry trekkers to the wild to see gorillas and back to the trekking point at a negotiable fee depending on the distance to be covered.
This exercise normally takes 1 to 6 hours or so depending on the movement of the gorillas at the time of trekking.
Gorilla trekkers are advised to pack snacks for lunch and at least 2 litres of drinking water in case you feel thirsty or hungry during the exercise.
Trekkers need Rack sacks where to pack their lunch, drinking water, camera, batteries etc.
All gorilla trekkers are issued certificates upon completing their trekking exercises.
Where to do Gorilla Treking
You need to decide on which country you want to visit keeping in mind Gorilla Treking is done in Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Viewing of Gorillas in Uganda is in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park, Rwanda is in Volcanoes National Park and in Democratic Republic of Congo is in Virunga National park.
Gorilla Families to view on Gorilla Treking
-There is one gorilla family in Mgahinga national Park which is part of the Virunga ranges shared between Uganda, Rwanda and Congo and keeps on migrating to and from Uganda to Rwanda.
–Bwindi National park has 12 gorilla families located in different regions of the forest so that’s why you need to be careful when buying your gorilla permits.
-Volcanoes National park has 9 Gorilla families
-Virunga National park has got 6 gorilla families.
How to organize Gorilla Treking
-Contact a safari company or Tour company to buy for you gorilla permit for Bwindi forest National park and Mgahinga National park at 650USD high season, 450USD low season and for Volcano Park at 750USD for all seasons. For Virunga National park at 450USD all seasons. Or Ask the Safari company to Organise the entire Tour of Gorilla Treking.
– Book directly through UWA- Uganda Wild life Authority and RDB- Rwanda Development Board
After securing your gorilla permit, you can go ahead and book your choice of Accommodation basing on the gorilla permit treking date and Area of the permit.
Rules and Regulations for Gorilla Treking
-8 Trekkers are allowed to visit a group of habituated mountain gorillas in a day to minimize behavioral disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases.
-Wash your hands before you visit the gorillas.
-Don’t leave rubbish in the park. Whatever you bring into the forest should be carried back out with you.
– Keep your voices low as you approach the mountain gorillas
-Keep 7 meters (21 feet) distance away from the Gorillas and stay in tight group
-Do not smoke, drink or eat when you are near the gorillas. Eating or drinking inevitably will increase the risk of food/drink morsels/droplets falling, which could increase the risk of transmission of diseases.
-Follow the guides example in case the Gorillas charge like crouching down slowly, do not look the gorillas directly in the eyes and wait for the animals to pass.
-Do not attempt to run away when the Gorillas charge, It is very risky
-Do not take Flash photography during Gorilla Treking, Camera flashes will cause them to charge.
-Do not touch the gorillas.
-The maximum time you can spend with the gorillas is one hour. However, if the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide will finish Gorilla Treking exercise early.
-Still keep your voices down until you are 200 meters away from the gorillas.
-Respect the limits imposed on the number of visitors allowed with the gorillas each day. This minimizes the risk of disease transmission and stress to the group.
-If you are feeling ill, or you are carrying a contagious disease before Gorilla Treking, volunteer to stay behind. An alternate visit will be arranged for you, or you will be refunded your money.
-If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the gorillas, please turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order to minimize the spread of bacteria or viruses.
-During Gorilla Treking, If you need to go to the toilet while in the forest, please ask the guide to dig you a hole with his panga. Make sure the hole is 30 cm deep and fill it in when you are done.
What is the best time to do Gorilla Treking
Gorilla Trekking is done throughout the year and Gorillas can be viewed any month of the year.
Which Country is best for Gorilla Treking
Mountain gorillas are all the same. What differs on Gorilla Trekking is the prices for the gorilla permits in the 3 countries of Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Gorilla Treking experience also may differ due to the Geographical location and Terrain of the Area.
What to pack for Gorilla Treking
-Long sleeved shirts
-A rain coat
-A flash free camera
-Trekking stick (can be hired at the trekked point)