A DIFFERENT SAFARI
10 TIPS FOR GORILLA TREKKING
Mist and mountains are not the first things that come to mind when thinking about Africa. But a move from Tanzania’s expansive Serengeti to the green Virunga Mountains of Rwanda or the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda promises one of the world’s most incredible wildlife experiences.
These two places are home to the gorilla safari – an unforgettable, therapeutic and tranquil hour spent with a Mountain Gorilla family. The Mountain Gorilla is critically endangered – their extinction was expected by this millennium. However, collaborative conservation efforts have seen their numbers increase from 480 in 2010 to over 1000 currently. And with a portion of every visit’s permit cost going towards their conservation, your visit can help continue these conservation efforts.
Here are a few tips to ensure the best experience:
1. Book in advance – there are limited treks per day
2. Expect only 1 hour with the Gorilla family (as per permit rules)
3. Prepare to walk for 5 – 7 hours before finding a Gorilla group
4. Expect thick rainforest, steep hills and valleys, and wet conditions
5. Wear layers and hiking boots – and don’t forget a waterproof jacket!
6. Consider hiring a porter – not all of us are walking fit, porters are there to carry your bag and assist with tricky parts of the hike
7. Only take essentials – two water bottles, a snack, camera, hat and sunscreen
8. Be photo ready – no flash photography is allowed and light is low
9. Read / Watch Gorillas in the Mist before you go – Dian Fossey’s experience of living with the Mountain Gorilla is a beautiful way to prepare for your trek
10. Respect the gorillas – your guide will tell you more about how to behave but remember you are in the gorillas’ space