Gorilla trekking is the most interesting wild life encounter in the whole world which can only be experienced in Africa. It entails hiking in the tropical rain forests of Africa before reaching these rare endangered species. Though challenging, trekking is so much interesting since from the start to finish as the jungle envelops the hikers in its sounds associated with the calls of unseen birds, the soft hum of insects, the whispering of countless leaves, wrapped in emerald shadows, travelers also glimpse the secret lives of the rainforest’s shy creatures including the mountain gorillas.
Mountain gorillas being the close relatives of human beings sharing 98.3% of human genes, they are so susceptible to human diseases and therefore a distance of seven metres is encouraged between the trackers and the mountain gorillas. Trekking time can range from 45 minutes to 8 hours depending on the location of a gorilla family. All gorillas live in families with each family headed by a dominant silver back that plans for the entire family and defending it against all external attacks, every gorilla is so much attached to its family and cannot join another family even if the two different families come in contact. Female gorillas are the mums in the family who nurse and cater for the young ones sin the entire family.
Once a trekking group approaches the gorilla family all other things are left with the porters except non flash cameras. While on a gorilla trek, trekkers are reminded of the seven meter distance and quietness as they observe the gorillas and take photographs for the maximum of one hour.
Mountain gorillas in Africa can be trekked in the following places:
Uganda is a home to half of the mountain gorillas in the whole world. Approximately 480 gorillas are situated in Uganda in the two national parks of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park both in south western Uganda. Trekking in Uganda is interesting because there are 13 gorilla families with 12 in Bwindi and 1 in Mgahinga all available for trekking.
More still, the tow national parks are 7-8 hour drive from the international airport of Entebbe and this provides travelers an opportunity view other attractions and natural features en-route to the gorilla national parks. Travelers to Uganda also come in contact with other wild life for example the golden monkeys, elephants and many bird species which all provides a memorable experience to travelers never to forget.
Trekking in Rwanda is an easy in, easy out game. It is done in the volcanoes national park located only two hour drive from the international air port of Kigali. This short distance allows short time travelers to trek mountain gorillas in that they can even trek on the day of arrival despite tie long distance in Uganda. Trekkers in Rwanda can also pay a visit to the Dian Fossey grave site and will also encounter different animal and bird species which all adds to the final tourism experience.
There are 10 gorilla families in the volcanoes national park available for trekking and a gorilla permit is sold at 750usd quite expensive compared to Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Democratic republic of Congo
Although done at a relatively low rate as compared to Uganda and Rwanda, mountain gorilla trekking in the DRC is now going on. It is done in the virunga national park and a gorilla permit is sold at 450usd which is quite cheaper compared to Uganda and Rwanda.
In the last years, the political instabilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the neighboring Rwanda led to the death and fleeing of many mountain gorillas since their habits the tropical rain forests were used by the rebel groups for hiding. This put trekking and tourism at a standstill but however at present the country has stabilized and gorilla trekking is done peacefully. There are other attractions such as the world’s largest lava lake at the summit of mount Nyiragongo among others.
Conclusively, mountain gorilla trekking is the best wild life encounter that provide memorable experience. It can be done in only three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and therefore travelers can choose to trek in any of the three or visit all the three countries for the greater and memorable experience.