How do I Prepare for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda? How do You Prepare for a Gorilla Trek in Rwanda, Uganda, Congo in Africa?
To prepare for gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda, Congo in Africa, Book your safari with a gorilla permit, check your fitness, choose jungle fit attires as mountain gorilla trekking involves climbing mountainous landscapes in search for the gorillas as well as sloping down. As you prepare for a gorilla trek in Africa :-
- Carry Sun screen
- Check the medical requirements
- Mind the tracking date and region
All items listed under what to carry for gorilla trekking in Uganda/Africa by your tour operator and always ensure you are travelling with a genuine, trustable, dependable, experienced safari company.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is a dream trip, a thrilling endeavor, and an adventure you will never forget. Of course with great adventure, comes great responsibility. You need to be prepared. Below are the tips on how to prepare for gorilla trekking experience in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa.
How do I Prepare for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda? – Know Where to Trek the Gorillas in Uganda
- The world’s total mountain gorilla population is about 1063, split between Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. While in Uganda, you will be where more than half of the world’s Mountain Gorillas live.
- There are two places where you can see gorillas in Uganda: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, all located in the southwest of the country.
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park−a World Heritage Site is home 459 mountain gorillas (about 43.2% of the world’s population). Like people, gorillas live in families. Bwindi has over 50 gorilla families and 19 of them are habituated and already set for tourism purposes.
- Mgahinga Gorilla Park is also home to several gorilla families but only one has been habituated for tourism purposes. Overall there are 20 habituated gorilla families in Uganda. Please note that you must be over 15 years to trek the gorillas.
How do I Prepare for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda? –Book a Gorilla Permit Before You Arrive
- As it sounds, a gorilla permit is a document that allows you access to the gorillas. It is issued out by Uganda Wildlife Authority; a Ugandan government agency that aims to conserve, manage and regulate Uganda’s wildlife.
- In fact to trek Uganda gorillas, you must have a gorilla trekking permit. With 20 habituated gorilla families and each family trekked by 8 visitors a day, Uganda has only 160 gorilla trekking permits available each day.
- These include 152 permits for Bwindi Impenetrable Park and 8 gorilla permits for Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
- It is strongly advised that you book your gorilla permit in advance. This is because the demand for gorilla permits always exceeds the number of permits available each day, especially during high season (June – August, and December – February). You can book your gorilla permit 6 months earlier if you planning to visit gorilla in Uganda during these months.
- However, for those planning their gorilla safari in Uganda during low season; March-May and October to November (the rainiest months), you can book your gorilla permits at least 4 months earlier. The earlier you book, the more choice you have on where to track and where to stay
- A single Uganda gorilla permit cost US$700 per person to spend one hour with a gorilla group. However, a trek to see gorillas can take about 2 to 8 hours or even a full day.
- If you want to chill with these our distant relatives, for 4 hours after encountering them, book a Gorilla habituation experience tour (at US$ 1500) to Rushaga region in the south of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
- Habituation experience allows you to take in the gorilla habituation process. It is a gradual scientific process of encouraging wild gorillas to feel comfortable in the presence of humans.
How do I Prepare for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda? – Choose Your Gorilla Trekking Company Carefully
- You’re strongly advised to book your Uganda gorilla safari through a reputable or a trusted Uganda tour operator. But the question is; how do I choose a reputable tour operator in Uganda for my gorilla safari? Well, below are some of the key things to consider.
Membership to local tourism associations
- As you search for tour operators for gorilla tour in Uganda, you will find out that there over 200 plus tour and travel companies in Uganda. But some of these are ‘Briefcase companies’.
- A fraction of those is officially recognized partners in the marketing and selling of gorilla permits. The Best Uganda gorilla trekking companies are those that are members of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO).
- It is easier to raise a complaint about a company if it is a member of a Tour Operator Association.
Look for company online reputation and reviews
- This is best way to know a reputable and trusted safari company. Best tour and travel companies must have several good reviews from their past clients. You can get these reviews from Trip advisor or Safari bookings. You will get to view the reviews and rating of the company. This will help to know whether a company delivers to clients what it says.
Explore the company website
- You can also try to explore the company website to read the information provided on gorilla trekking experience, gorilla permits, and other aspects a gorilla trekking tour. Check out if the company has an “About Us” page. If they have one, look at what they do, their motivation and how long they have been in operation. Do they have permanent offices?
Consider the response time to you inquiry
- When you have sent in your inquiry, how long does it take for the gorilla trekking company representative to reply to your email? A good tour company will attend to your first inquiry in a timely manner. A quick response from a safari operator with correct information shows you how serious they are.
How do I Prepare for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda? – Have fitness preparations for your Uganda gorilla safari
- It is important to note that, mountain gorilla trekking is a walk in the park. This activity needs at least a modicum of physical fitness.
- Remember that a search for gorillas can go up to 8 hours, scrambling through dense vegetation up steep, muddy hillsides, sometimes to altitudes of more than 3500 meters. Bwindi Impenetrable forest is a dense jungle of trees, shrubs and creepers, so it may not be easy for faint-hearted.
- Most travelers plan their gorilla trips about 6 months before the safari begins. That is the perfect time to get you physically fit for your Uganda gorilla tour.
- Some of the recommended physical exercises include walking, jogging, hiking, sit-ups, stair masters, and downhill lunges and others.
- However, if you’re not physically fit, you can ask for an easy gorilla family to trek. There is also an option of you being carried into the forest on a modern sedan chair or bamboo stretcher by rotating porters.
How do I Prepare for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda? – Know what to carry/pack for your gorilla trekking tour in Uganda
Knowing what to pack for your Uganda gorilla trek is important because gorilla trekking will be long and active. You will be hiking in thick forest in a changeable climate. Evenings are cold, mornings are cool and the days are hot−particularly when you are clambering up a muddy mountainside. Carrying the right gear makes all the difference, so remember to bring:
- Waterproof day pack
- Face mask; N-95, Surgical Masks, or two-layer masks are recommended.
- Hand sanitizer; especially an alcohol based hand rub with 60% alcohol.
- Lightweight waterproof jacket/poncho
- Waterproof boots or hiking shoes
- Lightweight long-sleeved shirt/t-shirt/blouses
- Hiking trousers
- Gardening gloves to help you support yourself on tree branches
- Sunhat or cap
- Light-wool sweater or a fleece or for cold mornings
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Insect repellents
- Bottled water
- Energy giving snacks
- Binoculars and camera (no flash when taking photos)
- Basic first aid kit
- Walking stick
- Porters are available and you are advised to pack light items to minimize the use of porters during this period of COVID-19.
How do I Prepare for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda? – Consider the gorilla trekking dressing code
- When choosing what to wear on gorilla trek, avoid bright colors. You can pack them if you going to use them while enjoying dinner at the lodge, or doing a community walk.
- Neutral color clothes such as green, Khaki, and light brown, are highly recommended during gorilla treks. It is not good to wear blue and black shirts while in the jungle since they attract Tsetse flies and other biting insects.
- Also do not wear sandals and shorts for gorilla trekking in Uganda.
How do I Prepare for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda? – Know the gorilla trekking rules
Before embarking on the actual trek, you will be briefed on the set gorilla trekking rules and regulations that you have to observe. These rules are strictly enforced, these include;
- You should be 15 years and above to trek the gorillas
- At the briefing points, visitors and staff must wash hands or sanitize and have their body temperature taken.
- All the visitors, staff and trackers must wear masks.
- Tourists, staff, and porters who, during the briefing, are observed to be sick are not allowed to track. These include anyone with signs of flu, and those who report to have diarrhoea, stomach upsets and malaria among others
- All the visitors, staff and trackers must wear masks
- Social distancing of 2 meters among the tourists while tracking, where practical must be maintained.
- Visitor number is limited to 8 persons per group
- You must follow your guide through the trekking trails
- You must stay in the group when you are with gorillas
- Visitors must stay at least 33 feet (10 m) away from gorillas.
- Take pictures but flash is strictly prohibited.
- Speak in in low voice.
- Make no sudden movements when you with gorillas
- Do not disturb vegetation (a gorilla could be hiding there)
- Turn away and cover your mouth if necessary to cough.
- Don’t litter in the park
- Don’t smoke, drink or eat when you are with gorillas
- Don’t touch the gorillas
How do I Prepare for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda? – Find the best time to trek gorillas
- Trekking gorillas in Uganda is a year-round activity, but the best time for gorilla trekking is during the dry season (June to September and December to February). In the dry season, trekking is not very difficult. Forest trails are drier and less slippery.
- However, if you visit Uganda for gorilla trekking in the wet season (March, April, May and October to November), the trek is strenuous but budget accommodation will available and there are low prices for upmarket lodges.
How do I Prepare for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda? – Find out some facts about mountain gorillas
- Around 1063 mountain gorillas are left on Earth
- There are no mountain gorillas in captivity
- Mountain gorillas have thicker and longer hair than other gorilla subspecies.
- They are the most powerful and biggest primates in the world, weigh over 200 kg.
- Mountain gorillas share about 98.5% of their DNA with humans
- They live in families of 5 to 30 individuals, headed by one dominant adult male known as “Silverback” for the silvery back patches which signal full adulthood.
- Mountain gorillas are very gentle and shy.
- Mountain gorillas do not have tails.
- Mountain gorillas are endangered but they are the only subspecies of gorilla whose population is increasing.
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