The Mountain Gorilla Trekking is one of the life time events and activities that you can only have in the Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Virunga Massif shared by Uganda Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. The matter of how to trek gorillas is something that can every potential traveller wishing to undertake a gorilla safari in Uganda and Rwanda can pay keen consideration to; First of all; is to know how to secure a gorilla permit.
Gorilla Permit Booking Information
The gorilla trekking permit apparently is still under the sole supply of the Government departments and Uganda Wildlife Authority sells those of Uganda while Rwanda Tourism Board sells those of Rwanda. A gorilla permit in Uganda costs $600 for the foreign nonresidents, $500 for the East African Residents and 250,000/= for the East African Citizens. While for Rwanda the gorilla Permit costs $750 for the foreign nonresidents, $375 for the foreign residents and 30,000 Frw for the Rwandan Citizens. Interestingly, if one desires to undertake a cost effective gorilla trekking safari, Uganda offers discounted gorilla permits in the months of April, May and November and availability of these promotional permits is announced annually by Uganda Wildlife Authority.
The gorilla permit booking can be done directly through the respective government Agencies in Kampala for Uganda Wildlife Authority and Kigali for Rwanda Tourism Board respectively. But, the easier and less hectic way to securing your gorilla permit, is to use an agent and a range of tour operators and booing agents in Uganda and Rwanda such as Prime Uganda Safaris and Wild gorilla safaris can help you to book the gorilla permit as soon as possible.
In addition to that, gorilla permits are always on high demand thus the earlier booking and payment for them is the only way to guarantee your gorilla trekking encounter.
Gorilla trekking Exercise
The Gorilla trekking exercise starts at the respective park headquarters like Kinigi Head Quarters for the case of Volcanoes National Park Rwanda or Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo for the case of Uganda’s Bwnindi Impenetrable National Park and Ntebeko for Mgahinga Gorilla National Park with briefing from the park rangers at 8 am.
During the briefing the gorilla trekking rules and regulations are made clear to you so as to ensure sustainability in the gorilla trekking safaris, entire gorilla tourism and the existence of the mountain gorillas themselves.
Gorilla Trekking Rules & Regulations
In undertaking how to trek gorillas, one has to take note of the dos and don’ts of gorilla trekking as listed below;
Before Gorilla trekking;
- A minimum of eight (8) visitors are allowed to trek each gorilla family per day.
- Wash your hands clean prior to set off for the gorilla trekking exercise
During the gorilla trekking exercise (When searching the gorillas)
- Keep the voices low always
- Desist from leaving rubbish in the gorilla forest
- You will have to be taken to the point where the gorillas were spited previously and then you begin your track them starting from there. Aim at spotting the gorilla nests en route
- Respond to the guide’s alert sign when you approach the mountain gorillas
When you reach the gorillas
- Maintain a 7m (21feet) distance between you and the gorillas. You can lay back but not in front
- Keep in an enclosed group with other gorilla trekkers
- Keep the voices as low as possible while interacting with the guide and you are free to ask as many questions as you may require
- Avoid smoking, drinking or eating near the gorillas
- Avoid pointing or waving the arms. Make sure that you move carefully and slowly
- Avoid touching gorillas as they are wild animals
- In case of gorilla charging, avoid panicking. Just slowly crouch down, desist from direct eye encounter with them and be patient for the gorillas to pass. Do not make any attempt of running away.
- Avoid flash photography by all means.
- You have only one hour with of direct encounter with the gorillas. However, in case of emergencies like gorilla nervousness, you might be required to end the trek prematurely for your safety and that of gorillas.
- Though you might be over ridden by excitement after the encounter, make sure you keep the voices low up to when you reach 200m away.
In the process of understanding the how to trek gorillas, it is better to also know the gorilla Heal rules as they are susceptible to human diseases;
Gorilla Health Rules
- Accord maximum respect to the respective numbers supposed to trek each gorilla family per day
- In case the one is ill or carrying a contagious disease, it very significant to volunteer and stay behind. Another gorilla trekking encounter can be arranged for you at no extra cost or the whole cost of the gorilla permit can be refunded
- In case of the need to sneeze or cough while close to gorillas, make sure that you turn your head away & cover the nose and the mouth.
- Maintain the 7m (21ft) distance
- Desist from leaving the rubbish in the gorilla forest
- In case of a need for the toilet while still in the forest, ask the ranger to dig for you a hole & it should be 30cm deep. Ensure that the hole is fully filled when you are through.
Also in understanding how to trek gorillas, it very important to know what to carry while coming for a gorilla trekking exercise in Uganda and Rwanda
What to carry on a gorilla trek
- Put on comfortable hiking shoes with a good sole suitable for climbing muddy slopes that are steep.
- Do not forget to carry with you packed lunch as the gorilla trekking duration is much guaranteed. It may stretch to eight (8) hours.
- Sufficient drinking water is necessary
- Wear an insect repellant
- Because of the unpredictable weather, carry with you a rain gear, hat and sun screen lotion
- Of course Camera to the pictures of your life time. If you are using film, 400 – 800 ASA is recommended. Spare batteries and extra memory of the camera is also recommended.
If you have any questions about the gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda, kindly contact Prime Uganda Safaris and Tours Ltd for a comprehensive guidance.