What is Gorilla Trekking? Gorilla trekking Safaris Uganda, Rwanda & Congo
Gorilla trekking has no specific description but can be described as an activity that involves trekking / walking/ hiking through dense tropical forests in search of gorillas within their natural habitat. The way in which this Africa safari activity is done, is what gives it the name trekking joined with the species name which is gorilla hence gorilla trekking. Gorillas that are trekked include the 2 genus of gorilla which are the Eastern gorillas and western gorillas.
The Eastern gorillas are more popularly trekked. They are categorized into two subspecies that are the Eastern lowland gorilla and the mountain gorilla. Mountain gorilla species gains its name from their habitat which is on a high altitude on the mountains that raise to about 2,607 meters above sea level. This is why seeing the mountain gorillas requires hiking up to the hills and hence need for physical fitness.
How gorilla trekking is done in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.
Each morning, a total of 8 trekkers are allocated 1 gorilla family to trek. All individuals first gather at the park headquarters for a briefing on the rules and regulations of gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo. Briefing starts at exactly 8:00 am local time, then after individuals are allocated a group with a total of 8 members in each.
Groups are allocated depending on the physical fitness levels of the clients and the group moves depending on the speed of the slowest trekker. Each group of 8 trekkers goes along with 2 armed park rangers for protection and guidance while in the jungle. Trekking lasts an unpredictable time lasting about 2-6 hours depending on where the gorillas spent their previous night.
After trekking and meeting the gorillas, you spend a maximum of 1 hour in the presence of the gorillas. You spend this time taking photos and interacting with gorillas in the bwindi forest.
What to wear for gorilla trekking
- Long sleeved shirts and trousers
Since you are going to walk in the jungle where insects can give nasty bites, wearing long sleeved shirts and trousers is recommendable. Wear shirts, long enough to cover your hands to the wrist and trousers long enough to be tucked into your stocking. Shorts and vests are not anything to think of when planning to go gorilla trekking. The long clothing should also be comfortable and thick with colors that can’t get stained easily.
- Hiking shoes
Since you are going to take a challenge hiking to an altitude that is raised over 2,000 meters above sea level, you will require sturdy hiking shoes. Ensure to have comfortable sure such that hiking is made easy and you don’t get bruises. To keep your legs warm, put on cotton stockings inside to keep your ankles safe. It’s recommendable to try on your shoes maybe by taking morning jogging before you set out for the trip.
- Rain jacket
Whether it’s in the rainy season or in the dry season, you need to pack and wear a rain jacket during gorilla trekking. The south western part of the country where the gorilla safari parks of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park experience colder and rain can be expected at any time of the year. A rain jacket will protect you from rain and drizzles.
- Hand gloves/gardening gloves
Since you will have your body covered, your hands will too need protection. You will need to wear hand gloves to protect your hands from thorns as you hike. Incase you slide and would like to have a firm grip on a tree or any kind of plant, you need to make sure your hands are safe. Wear hand gloves for protection.
- Brimmed hat
As you get into the forest, remember to wear a brimmed hat to protect your head from any bites. This could also protect your hair from inhabiting any insects or leaves fro the forest.
Uganda gorilla tours take an unpredictable time and therefore, you need to carry some water and packed lunch incase trekking lasts for a long time and therefore you need to have a backpack to carry in your essentials. Other things to put in your backpack include wipes, camera, phones, extra batteries and medication.
- Insect repellent
Since the jungle is full of insects, it’s recommended that you wear insect repellent before you head for the trek.