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5 Tips to Help You Plan the Perfect Gorilla Trek

, 5 Tips to Help You Plan the Perfect Gorilla Trek, eTurboNews | eTN
image courtesy of Dwi Rizki Tirtasujana from Pixabay

Gorilla Trekking, an opportunity to see the largest surviving primates in their natural habitats is heartwarming and life-changing.

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Mountain gorillas, the most visited Gorilla sub-species, are found in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are approximately 1063 individuals as per the last Gorilla Census of 2018.

Meeting these gentle giants in their natural habitats (typically rainforests with altitudes of 2500 to 4000 meters above sea level) requires proper preparation, and knowing what to expect is very helpful in having a perfect gorilla tour. Here are some important tips on how to plan the perfect Gorilla Trek:

Book your Gorilla Safari with a reputable Tour Operator

Gorilla Trekking is undeniably an incredible wildlife viewing adventure but can be a costly safari, especially if you consider high-end accommodation facilities. If you plan on going gorilla trekking, we advise doing some research on credible tour operators before booking with them, to ensure a perfect gorilla safari.

There are many fraudsters whom you may pay money to for a certain quality of service, but end up receiving substandard service. Hence, take your time to read reviews before deciding on the tour operator.

With a reputable company, all aspects of your gorilla safari – gorilla permits, accommodation, transport, and other logistics – will be planned, and all you will need to do is make prompt payments and be ready to enjoy your time with the giant apes.

Book Gorilla Permits in advance

Gorilla Trekking is done in only three countries, and each of them has a limited number of gorilla permits issued each day. The best way to guarantee a perfect gorilla safari is by booking permits in advance, preferably 6 to 12 months in advance.

It is interesting to note that only 96 gorilla permits are issued each day for Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, about 160 permits for Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda each day. You wouldn’t want to be disappointed last minute by booking gorilla permits late.

Get in shape for Gorilla Trekking

One of the prerequisites for having a perfect gorilla trek is being in shape for the adventure, as it requires walking through dense vegetation and high altitudes (between 2500 and 4000 meters above sea level).

Gorilla Treks also involve hiking steep slopes, crossing muddy terrains, and jumping streams, which require a physically able person. You can practice hiking hills, climbing steps, or jogging. However, this doesn’t mean that elderly individuals, people with reduced mobility, or physically unfit travelers can’t achieve their dream of meeting face-to-face with the Giant Apes in their natural habitats.

In fact, we have had cases of 80-year-old visitors participating in the adventure with the provision of Sedan Chairs (hired at $300 to $500 per person), lifted by four able-bodied porters.

Pack for a day in the forest

Remember that mountain gorilla natural habitats are hilly, densely forested, and cold (17 to 23 degrees Celsius), and there are great chances of experiencing rain showers or hot sunshine during your gorilla trek.

For this reason, it is recommended to always dress in long-sleeved shirts, breathable and lightweight safari pants, sturdy hiking boots, a lightweight rain jacket, gaiters, a safari hat, and sunglasses. Also, carry an insect repellent, enough drinking water, energy-giving snacks, and wear plenty of sunscreen, in addition to your camera and binoculars.

We always say a camera is a must-have for recording your gorilla trekking experience, so make sure to have plenty of batteries and memory space because sightings are usually incredible.

Follow the guidelines

Before you head out on your gorilla trekking adventure, you will be provided with a set of guidelines that you must follow while trekking and when spending time with the Mountain Gorillas.

Always follow them for your safety and that of the mountain gorillas. Some of these guidelines include not using flash cameras for photography, not feeding or touching the Giant Apes, maintaining a distance of 7 meters when watching/photographing them, avoiding noise while trekking, leaving no trace/not littering, spending only the allocated one hour, not coughing or sneezing in the presence of the Great Apes, and avoiding direct eye contact.

In conclusion, planning the perfect gorilla trek is an exciting and fulfilling endeavor. By following these essential tips, you can ensure a memorable and rewarding experience with the majestic mountain gorillas.

Begin by booking your gorilla safari with a reputable tour operator, who will handle all the necessary arrangements. Remember to secure your gorilla permits well in advance to avoid disappointment. Prepare yourself physically for the trek by getting in shape and know that accommodations can be made for individuals with reduced mobility. Pack appropriately for a day in the forest, considering the hilly terrain, dense vegetation, and fluctuating weather conditions. Lastly, adhere to the guidelines provided to ensure the safety of both yourself and the mountain gorillas.

About the author


Linda Hohnholz, eTN editor

Linda Hohnholz has been writing and editing articles since the start of her working career. She has applied this innate passion to such places as Hawaii Pacific University, Chaminade University, the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center, and now TravelNewsGroup.

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