WHAT TO EXPECT ON A GORILLA SAFARI
Most travelers have made mountain gorilla trekking a number one to-do activity while coming to Africa for a Safari holiday. Much as different people have continuously written and narrated about how gorilla trekking is an amazing encounter which bring you close to the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitats, there can never be an ending narration and expression of this fascinating experience with the mountain giants. The interesting stories and unforgettable experiences keep the potential gorilla trekkers wondering how the entire gorilla safari can be from the start to the end. We bring you detailed information of what to expect on a gorilla safari to ensure you are well prepared to enjoy the once in lifetime experience. Take a moment and scroll down![/cz_title][cz_gap]
First Things First, Where are the Gorillas Found?[/cz_title][cz_gap height=”20px”]
In Mgahinga the gorillas are mainly found in the mid vegetation on the Virunga volcanoes of Mt Muhabura especially in the open areas of the bamboo zone. This gorilla family used to go back and forth to Rwanda but it has since made Mgahinga, be sure to find them if you choose track the Mgahinga gorilla group.
To enjoy the experience of gorilla trekking, you need to prepare adequately starting with choice of tour operator to plan the entire safari, lodges and purchase of gorilla permits. The minimum age for trekking gorillas is 15 years. You require to purchase your gorilla permit much earlier especially if you want a specific date because only 8 people can trek a gorilla family per day.[/cz_title][/cz_content_box]
WHAT TO EXPECT ON A GORILLA SAFARI
Seeing the gorillas in the wilds of Uganda is on many a bucket list. But how do you make sure to get the most out of this incredible experience? Discover the best insights on our “What to Expect on a Gorilla Safari blog”[/cz_title][cz_gap height=”32px”]
On the Gorilla Trekking Day
What to expect on your gorilla safari as you start the trekking[/cz_title]
On the gorilla trekking day, all travelers leave their lodges/hotels as early as 6:30am to attend a pre-gorilla trekking briefing at the the park headquarters. This briefing is aimed at introducing trekkers to the gorilla trekking rules and regulations for the safety of both gorillas and travelers and as well enable travelers understand the basics about these mountain giants. Travelers on this day depending on where the trekking is to be carried out from, will gather at different head quarters in Bwindi or Mgahinga gorilla park. It’s in this briefing that travelers are divided into groups of 8 people and are allocated a gorilla family which they will be visit to track. Gorilla families are allocated depending on the capability of the traveler to hike high since gorillas are on continuous move and sometimes go up to the higher altitudes. This means that the weak, elderly and less fit travelers are given near gorilla families to ease and shorten their hiking time. This is very important to know as you dive into more insights of what to expect on a gorilla safari in Uganda.
What to Expect on a Gorilla Safari – As The Trekking Begins
Find out what you should expect as your trek begins[/cz_title]
The hike through the forest is challenging and tough-going (your guides will often have to clear a path through the ferns that clog the undergrowth), but it’s within reach for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. You will get muddy though. And sweaty too at the same time. Beneath the forest canopy the humidity is very high, and it’s a good idea to bring a canteen of fresh water to hydrate as you go.
If you are particularly concerned about the terrain, consider hiring a local porter. The porters will carry your bag, and help to you navigate some of the steeper, or trickier sections of the trek. In fact, hiring a porter on a gorilla trek is a common practice by travellers of all ages and abilities. Not only does it make the trek easier for you, but you’re also providing a valuable source of employment for locals. The minimum cost of hiring a porter on a gorilla trek in Bwindi is $20USD,
Hiking into the Jungle For the Gorilla Trek
What to Expect on a Gorilla Safari as you dive into the Forest[/cz_title]
The hike into the jungle begins when the group of 8 people is set and ready to begin the search for the gorillas. Each group of travelers is led by an armed ranger and a trekking guide as you hike up and down in search of the allocated gorilla family. This is not an easy venture but rather a strenuous hiking activity via slippery muddy grounds with thorny bushes and cold weather inside the dense forests. The hiking time may vary from 30 minutes to a couple of hours depending on the movement and location of the gorillas but with 99% guarantee to meet the gorillas. Hiking is an opportunity to encounter other primates with in the forest such as monkeys, baboons and many bird species, which together make the experience memorable. All travelers are reminded to keep in the allocated groups and follow the rangers closely since parting from the group can make one get lost in the jungle and even something dangerous to happen to one’s life. Expect to get dirt as you crawl on the ground and as you grab tree branches for support.
Meet and Greet with the Gorillas
Finally after a strenuous hike, you meet the mountain giants![/cz_title]
Eventually, after bush-bashing your way through the scrub on a long hike through the beautiful tropical rain forest, you’ll come across a gorilla family, peacefully playing in a forest clearing. Its hear that all fatigue, panting and sweating due to the hike will disappear into excitement and joy as look into the eyes of a dominant silverback guarding the entire family. A silver back is the head of the family just like a dad in a human home, while adult females nurse the young one while the juveniles entertain the family keeping it live and enjoyable. Your trekking guides and rangers will have prepared you for what to expect on the gorilla safari. There’s no direct interaction with the gorillas (unless one moves past you), but you should get pretty close. You’ll have a good 45 minutes to 1 hour to just sit and observe these animals in their natural habitat.
One of the most important Gorilla Trekking Rules is to keep a distance of seven metres from the gorillas. There’s no guarantee that the gorillas will stick to this however! You will often move around the forest while you are with them. If they approach you, the rangers will ask you to step back. Equally if they walk into the forest, you may be allowed to follow them a little way.