Mountain gorillas are Ugandans big attraction, they are special rare and gentle. Gorilla tracking is a unique humbling and thrilling experience which leads you into a strange tropical forest to meet unusual creatures on their own terms, which can take all day. The guide leads you through the gorilla’s world explaining aspects of their ecology and behaviour all day long. Basic facts about Bwindi and Mgahinga are provided. Both parks have specific groups habituated.
The composition of any group changes as individuals are born, die or transfer so the guide will give you an up-to-date details. These are wild creatures with no fixed routine and finding them requires the skill and experience of your trackers and guides as well as luck. The guides and trackers know gorillas intimately; will take you to the area where they left them the day before. The guides ensure that you are safe while tracking.
However when you find the gorillas, there is no guarantee that you will take photos immediately. You only need to be patient for them to come out of the thick vegetation.
Gorilla Trekking Permits
All the three countries vary when it comes to how much the Gorilla permits cost for example; in Uganda these cost US $600 in the high season and US $450 in the low season per person. In Rwanda, these have been increased currently to US $1500 per person and in the DR Congo, these cost US $400 –US $450 and US $150 per person. These can be obtained through booking with an authorized Tour Operator agency due to the fact that they make it easier and more faster or through the valid organizations responsible for this for example, the Uganda Wildlife Authority in Uganda, Rwanda Development Board in Rwanda and the Congo Wildlife Authority by either contacting or emailing them.
What to Carry For Gorilla Trekking
- Denim shirts/ T-shirts with long sleeves to cover and protect your arms from wild plants, bush thorns, insects, and morning mist/chill. They can as well as dry up easier when it rains.
- A Rain Jacket to protect and cover you from the rain due to the fact that it rains almost all the time due to the location of these countries close to the equator.
- Long pants not jeans to help you navigate through the forest thick vegetation while searching for the rare species of Gorillas.
- Light weight Boots covering the ankles and these should be with rubber soles to enable you navigate over rugged muddy terrains while tracking the Gorillas. Wear warm socks as well to warm your feet.
- Building/Gardening gloves to protect your hands from being pieced by thorns while holding the tree branches.
- Bottled water
- Packed lunch
- Waterproof plastic bag; this to help keep the camera/film
- Camera without a flash
- Sweater for evenings
The Dos and Don’ts around the Mountain and Eastern Lowland Gorillas
- A maximum number of 8 visitors is allowed to track the Gorillas
- People of 16 years and above are allowed to track the Gorillas
- Ensure to keep your voices low so as not to startle the Gorillas for they are wild
- Ensure to move with a guide who has full knowledge about the Gorillas, character and habitat
- Keep a distance of 7 meters (21 feet) from the gorillas
- Track the groups while in your distributed groups
- Do not eat/smoke while close to the
- Use a camera without a flash for light distracts the Gorillas
- Do not touch the gorillas for they are wild animals hence violent when approached
- You are allowed an hour to interact with the Gorillas through taking photos
- Keep your voices low until you are away from the Gorillas about 200 meters
- If you are sick cancel your tracking for the Gorillas are susceptible to catching human illnesses
- If you feel like coughing or sneezing when near the gorillas, turn your head away, cover your nose and mouth then go on but not straight into the Gorillas face
- If you feel like visiting the toilet, excuse yourself in company of another guide and dig a hole of 4 meters to help them and when done, you will cover the hole and proceed.
- Do not throw rubbish anywhere while tracking the Gorillas
- Do not pick remove any plants or wildlife.