It is definitely possible to go on a gorilla trek more than once! In fact, if you have the opportunity, it is highly recommended that you do so. Whether you’re visiting Uganda or Rwanda, you can go on multiple gorilla treks during the same safari trip. The experience of coming face to face with these incredible creatures is so exhilarating that it’s definitely worth doing more than once. So, if you have the chance, don’t miss out on the opportunity to trek gorillas again.
Going on double gorilla trekking, offers a number of benefits that would appeal to experienced travelers. One of the most notable benefits is the ability to spend more time with gorillas, which can give you a deeper understanding of their complex social structures, physical characteristics, and behaviors. Additionally, you’ll have more chances to observe the gorillas in their natural habitat, and possibly get to see different groups of gorillas, providing more divers and unique experience.
For photographers, going on multiple gorilla treks provides an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the jungle environment and the challenges of capturing photographs of the gorillas in their natural habitat. The jungle canopy often has minimal light, and flash photography is often restricted, which can be difficult for photographers to navigate. By trekking the gorillas more than once, photographers have the chance to adapt to the lighting and photography conditions in the jungle, and thus, have the ability to improve their photographs with each trek. Familiarity with the conditions allow them to make better photo composition, use of light and have more knowledge on the behavior of gorillas, leading to better shots.
Even if you’re not a photographer, there are still many advantages to going on multiple gorilla treks. On your first trek, take your camera or phone and snap as many pictures as you like to capture the excitement of being in the jungle. On your second trek, however, try to put away any distractions and simply sit and observe the gorillas. Allow yourself to fully immerse in the moment, and experience the feeling of sharing the same space with these gentle creatures, as if you were transported back in time to when humans and gorillas lived side by side. It’s a unique and profound experience that not many people have the opportunity to enjoy.
If you’re thinking about going on multiple gorilla treks, either in Uganda or Rwanda, there are a few things you should keep in mind before booking your safari. Whether it’s understanding the process of permit reservation, the differences in the trekking experience between the countries, or the physical and mental preparation required, it’s important to be well-informed about your trip before embarking on it.
When researching gorilla trekking, you may have come across the concept of a “gorilla permit,” which is essentially a ticket that grants you access to visit the mountain gorillas. It’s important to note that each permit allows for one hour of time with the gorillas per day and a group of 8 people are allowed to visit one habituated gorillas group per day. The permit also includes the accompaniment of armed park rangers and a professional guide, who are responsible for communicating with other rangers about the gorillas’ whereabouts and for leading the group during the trek.
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Rwanda Development Board (RDB) have different permit fees for gorilla trekking in Uganda, the permit fee for foreign non-residents is $700 per person per day, while residents and citizens are eligible for discounted rates. In Rwanda, the permit fee is $1,500 per person per day.
Both Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and RDB allow individuals to purchase multiple gorilla permits, subject to availability. If you’re interested in going on multiple gorilla treks, you can purchase two permits depending on your budget and availability. This will enable you to trek gorillas twice on a single safari trip.
While it is possible to purchase your own gorilla permits directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) or Rwanda Development Board (RDB, most tourists choose to use the services of local tour operators to handle the permit process for them. This can help to streamline the process and allow the operator to handle any necessary rescheduling and advise on the best trailheads for multiple gorilla treks.
One tour operator that offers this service is Trek Africa Expeditions, which charges a 30% fee for the service. Sometimes the permits may not be available directly from UWA or RDB but the tour operator may have additional ones available to serve the customer needs.
Uganda has five starting points for gorilla treks, allowing visitors to choose from different sections of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. There are 19 gorilla groups available for tourism, and the park is divided to make it more convenient for tourists. In contrast, Rwanda has just one trailhead from which all 10 available gorilla groups for tourism can be accessed.
Uganda is home to a high number of habituated gorilla groups, making it possible for visitors to embark on a single gorilla safari tour and trek two different groups. Many trekkers are unaware of the distribution of gorilla groups in the park and rely on the lead guide at the trailhead to assign them a group on the day of the trek. However, for those who are more experienced trekkers, it is possible to request a different group for your second trek at the same trailhead. Simply inform your guide of your preference after your first trek, and they will likely accommodate your request.
Although the trek to reach a gorilla family can present challenges, Trek Africa Expeditions suggests repeating the experience with the same group due to the numerous benefits of familiarity. The initial trek may be overwhelming due to the breathtaking scenery, perceived longer duration, and the desire to capture perfect photos. However, a second trek with the same gorilla family allows for a more relaxed state of mind, enabling you to fully appreciate the gorillas and nature around you.
Due to the daily limit of eight visitors per gorilla group, all gorilla trekking expeditions begin early in the morning. Gorilla permits sell out quickly, and each family is visited only once per day. To trek with a gorilla group twice, it is necessary to secure permits for two separate days.
After checking into your gorilla lodge, you can choose to take the first trek on the first day, and the second trek on the second day, or spread them out to allow your muscles to rest in between. However, this approach would incur additional costs for lodging and meals.
To successfully complete a double gorilla trekking safari, a minimum of four days is required. This includes two days for travel from Entebbe to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, or Volcanoes National Park and two days for the actual gorilla treks.
The Gorilla Habituation Experience, also known as GHE, is an opportunity for visitors to spend more time with wild mountain gorillas. This experience allows for at least four hours of interaction with a gorilla family, which is more than the typical trek. Although it is more expensive than a traditional trek ($1,500 per person), the experience is worth the extra time spent with the gorillas. You can choose to participate in GHE on your first visit and then trek a habituated gorilla family on your second.
The Gorilla Habituation Experience is exclusive to the Rushaga sector in the southeastern region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This is the only trailhead that offers two gorilla families available for research and visitors have the opportunity to join researchers for four hours on their daily excursions.
It is important to note that gorilla trekking can be physically demanding and doing it twice may require a significant amount of energy. To successfully complete a double trek, moderate physical fitness is recommended, especially if it is done consecutively without a break in between.
Although most people are able to complete the first trek, those who are not confident in their hiking abilities may want to consider increasing their physical activity before the trip. This could include renewing a gym membership or taking regular walks.
However, it is not impossible to complete a double gorilla trek. Additionally, there is the option to hire a porter for $20 to assist during the trek.
If you have decided to take on a double gorilla trek, consider booking with Trek Africa Expeditions. We can easily secure the necessary permits and our gorilla trekking safari packages have received high praise from travelers worldwide. The double trek experience is truly unique and if you also include the habituation experience, it will be an unforgettable adventure. We highly recommend this safari for photographers and nature enthusiasts. Please feel free to contact our consultants at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and they will be happy to answer any questions you may have. You can also reach us by phone or chat using the button on the bottom right corner of our website. We look forward to trekking with you.