Embarking on a Gorilla tracking adventure in East Africa is a dream come true for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. Whether you’re planning to trek the Gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, situated in the south-western region, or prefer the scenic beauty of Rwanda’s Volcanoes, there are vital considerations to ensure your expedition is a resounding success. At the heart of your journey lies a key aspect – Gorilla permits. These permits are your passport to witnessing these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Whether you’ve arranged your safari with a renowned operator like Trek Africa Expeditions or another tour provider, there are crucial elements to keep in mind.
First and foremost, make sure you have a meticulously planned itinerary that aligns with your scheduled safari dates, particularly the day designated for Gorilla tracking. Gorilla permits are date-specific and non-transferable. If you miss the tracking date indicated on your permit, you risk losing the opportunity altogether, necessitating the purchase of another permit.
Gorilla tracking involves navigating the lush and unpredictable environment of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a tropical rainforest. Given the capricious weather conditions, pack accordingly to ensure your comfort and safety. Essential items to include in your gear list are: a waterproof rain jacket, sturdy hiking boots, long trousers, long-sleeved shirt or blouse, garden gloves, a hat, sunglasses, insect repellent, and other necessary equipment required for hiking on steep slopes. These items will protect you from rain, potential harm, and ensure a pleasant experience.
Gorilla tracking demands a reasonable level of physical fitness, as it can be physically demanding. Be prepared for long hikes on hilly terrain, which can become tiring. To ensure your physical readiness, engage in pre-trip exercises. For those who may not be able to trek extensively, porters are available for hire. Porters can assist by carrying your luggage and providing support when needed, ensuring that even those with less physical endurance can reach the Gorillas.
The night before your Gorilla tracking adventure, it’s crucial to get a good night’s sleep. Adequate rest helps you maintain your energy levels and physical strength, keeping you alert and relaxed throughout the trek. Additionally, it’s advisable to limit alcohol consumption the evening before your tracking day to ensure you’re in peak physical condition for the expedition.
On the day of your Gorilla tracking, make sure the lodge provides a packed lunch and ample drinking water. Bring energy-boosting snacks to keep your stamina up while journeying through the forest. Most lodges also offer walking sticks to aid in the trek. These walking sticks are beneficial for support and stability during your adventure.
The day begins early, as you’ll head to the park headquarters in the morning for a comprehensive briefing led by ranger guides. This informative session covers the dos and don’ts of Gorilla tracking, emphasizing the importance of respecting the Gorillas and their environment. Following this briefing, you’ll embark on the trek into the forest, accompanied by your experienced ranger guide. The duration of the trek can vary, lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to three-quarters of the day, depending on the location and the specific Gorilla family you’re tracking.
When you encounter the Gorilla family in their natural habitat, a truly magical hour commences. During this time, you’ll have the privilege of observing, photographing, and capturing videos of the Gorillas while they go about their daily lives. It’s a unique opportunity to connect with these awe-inspiring creatures in an unforgettable and respectful manner.
Gorilla tracking is a remarkable journey into the heart of Africa’s untamed wilderness, where these majestic creatures thrive. By following these key aspects and being well-prepared, you’ll maximize your chances of an extraordinary Gorilla tracking adventure in Uganda or Rwanda.