Gorilla trekking is an exciting activity that can be experienced in Uganda, Rwanda, or the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, it is imperative that all trekkers attend a mandatory gorilla trekking briefing before entering the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga National Park, Volcanoes National Park, or Virunga National Park. The guide accompanying the trekker will be responsible for escorting them to the park headquarters where the Uganda Wildlife Authority will conduct the briefing.
The briefing session, which begins promptly at 8:30 AM, is led by a qualified guide from the Uganda Wildlife Authority who will provide comprehensive information on the do’s and don’ts of gorilla trekking. This includes guidelines on behavior within the forest, and what to expect during the trek. Failure to attend the briefing may result in denial of entry into the park. Hence, it is crucial that trekkers arrive at the park headquarters in a timely manner to ensure they receive the necessary information before embarking on their trek.
Gorilla trekking briefing in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo is a critical step in ensuring a safe and successful trekking experience. Before beginning the trek, trekkers will be greeted by a representative of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) who will verify the trekker’s passport, gorilla permit, and other required documents. This process is used to confirm the trekker’s age, nationality, and to gather information for marketing purposes.
It is important to note that there is an age limit for gorilla trekking in all national parks including Volcanoes National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga National Park, and Virunga National Park. Currently, the age limit for gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda is set at 15 years and above. Trekkers under the age of 15 are not permitted to participate in the trek for safety reasons. However, minors who are close to turning 15 or are trekking with their family may be considered with prior approval from the UWA after undergoing a thorough interrogation.
As a responsible adventure tour operator, Trek Africa tours advises all clients to book their gorilla trekking permits early, especially for minors below the age of 15, to avoid disappointment.
During the briefing session, it is advised that elderly individuals consider hiring porters to assist them with carrying essential items during the trek. Additionally, for those who may not be able to complete the trek, sedan chairs can be arranged to fulfill their dream of experiencing gorilla trekking. If your physical ability limits your walking, it is recommended that you request for the assistance of porters or sedan chairs.
It is also important to note that the UWA agents will verify the validity of the trekker’s gorilla permit during the briefing. These permits are only valid for a specific day, and it is crucial to double-check the date and month on your permit to ensure it is valid for your planned trekking experience. It is not permitted to trek before or after the designated date listed on your permit.
In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, there are four distinct regions – Buhoma, Rushaga, Nkuringo, and Ruhija – each with its unique starting point for gorilla trekking. It is important to ensure that your gorilla permit is booked for the correct region, as overbooking may result in disappointment. For example, if you book a permit for trekking in Buhoma, it is advisable to also book an accommodation within the Buhoma region to avoid complications.
The gorilla trekking briefing in Rwanda differs from that in Uganda, as Rwanda offers an exciting cultural performance and a cup of coffee to trekkers. This enhances the trekking experience for most tourists, unlike in Uganda where these activities are not provided. Additionally, Rwanda has only one starting point, Kinigi, where all trekkers gather for the briefing, whereas Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has four distinct regions and starting points.
At Trek Africa Expeditions, we strive to provide the best trekking experience for our clients and assist with booking the right accommodation in the respective regions of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and Volcanoes National Park. If you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.