Gorilla Trekking is the process of walking or hiking looking for Gorillas in their natural habitats. Gorillas live in the forests of the mountainous areas or lowland zones. Gorillas are considered to be a single species, with three categories including the mountain gorilla, the western lowland gorilla and the eastern lowland gorilla.
Mountain Gorillas considered being the most endangered species are found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The eastern lowland gorilla, also known as Grauer’s gorilla and a subspecies of eastern gorilla is only found in the rainforests of eastern DR Congo. The western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), one of two subspecies of the western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) lives in montane, primary and secondary forests and lowland swamps in the central African countries including Angola, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. This gorilla type is also mostly found in zoos.
Gorilla Trekking or Gorilla Tracking is a process that requires one to have trekking permit to be allowed by the park authorities to participate in the activity.
Gorilla Trekking Requirements
- A Gorilla Permit
- To be Physically fit for hiking
- Not below 15 years of age
The process of gorilla tracking usually begins early morning. Having slept near a gorilla park, one takes breakfast and then transfer to the park offices for briefing about the whole process of hiking to see the gorillas. Briefing involves being told about the Dos and Don’ts while hiking and when with the gorillas. Uganda, Rwanda and Congo almost have similar Trekking Rules regarding Mountain Gorillas and these regulations are not far different from those followed while tracking other categories of Gorillas.
After briefing by park ranger guides, you will the start the trekking process headed by professional park guides and escorted by armed rangers. Trekking involves moving up and down in the forests, thickets and bushes searching for gorillas.
Upon meeting the gorillas after an unspecified duration of walking, you will be allowed to stay in their midst for one hour. During this period, you are free to look at the gorillas from a close range, take their photos (without flashes) and also ask questions in low voices. This is usually the highlight of the trip to anyone on an African safari. In the world, Mountain Gorillas are the most highly loved species as they attract hundreds of tourists or admirers from around the globe every year to come and see them mainly in Uganda and Rwanda and less in DR Congo.
Based on the country, Gorilla trekking is doable between one to three days. In Rwanda, the excursion is done in one and two days, in Uganda and DR Congo, it’s done in 2 to 3 days.
Prices for gorilla Permits
- USD 600 per permit in Uganda
- USD 750 in Rwanda
- USD 450 in DR Congo