From King Kong to Tarzan, am sure that you can agree that Gorillas are fierce creatures. In Africa, Uganda, Congo and Rwanda are popular destinations for Gorilla trekking; with Uganda having the most population of over 50%.
Bwindi Impenetrable national park has the most Gorillas while the rest are scattered between Rwanda in Virunga mountains in the Volcanoes national park and Congo in Virunga national park.
However before you can embark on this epic adventure, there are a couple of things you need to know about the experience.
Here are several things you Must know if you are planning on going on a Gorilla trek.
Pick the right season
Inasmuch as you can see the Gorillas all year round, there are optimal times when you can get the most out of your trip.
The rainy/wet seasons of March to May and October to November aren’t the best because the terrain is very slippery and hard to navigate. The Gorillas are also difficult to spot as they are taking cover in the shade of the trees.
The dry season is the best. The time between December to February and June to September is fantastic. The mountain slopes are hikable and it’s easier to spot the Gorilla families in their element.
Book in advance
If you are planning on going on a gorilla trek then you need a permit. These permits can be processed for you by a travel agency. These permits need to be applied for at least 3 months before the visit. This is because there is a high demand for experience and last minute bookings aren’t allowed.
Be open about any illnesses you have
Before you go on the trek there are a few things that you need to do. First of all make sure that you let the guides know of any illnesses that you might have. This is because Gorillas share 98% of our genes and are susceptible to human diseases like flu.
Have the right clothing
You also need to ensure that you have the right clothes. Long sleeved shirts, hiking boots, tall hiking socks- tuck your trousers in, a raincoat and waterproof trousers are a must. This will make sure that your trek through the forest is easy and enjoyable.
Listen to your guides
Needless to say that you have to listen to your guides but here we are. Right before you embark on your journey, your guides will take you through a briefing about the do's and don’ts of the trek.
Please pay attention to your guides and listen carefully because it can save your life and that of your companions.
No flash photography
This is very crucial. The Mountain Gorillas are sensitive creatures and will feel threatened by the sudden burst of flashes from your camera and might even attack you. Be sure to turn off the flash feature on your camera device no matter the light setting.
Your guides will warn you of this beforehand, so please listen to them. It will save your life.
Potters are community members who are well versed with the terrain and can help you carry any extra baggage that you have. Hiking up and down the mountain is very tiring as you can imagine so it helps to have someone to lighten your load. The locals are also able to help you incase you are injured or need help.
It might not be compulsory to tip the guides and porters but you should. It might be their job but courteous to tip your guides and porters for getting you safely through and out of the mountain.