Gorilla trekking is one of the flagship safari activities in Uganda and Rwanda and has for more than a decade now, gained much admiration from everyone all over the world to come and experience this lifetime experience. The two countries are situated in the area known as the Virunga region and have for many years had the required ecosystem that is important for the breeding of mountain gorillas.
Mountain gorillas are endangered species after having suffered numerous generations of attack from human activities, natural calamities and their preys like leopards. Mountain gorillas live in rainforests of Virunga area in family units. These families are accessible in either country, and each family boosts different unique features that are fascinating to any potential visitor.
Uganda and Rwanda have no much differences in the nature of mountain gorilla trekking since both countries regulate and conduct the activity in a uniform manner, to give trekkers a wonderful experience.
Uganda’s mountain gorillas are in only two parks; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. Bwindi has Uganda’s highest mountain gorilla population, and combined with Mgahinga, it has the greatest number of mountain gorillas at a single location in the world. Rwanda on the other hand, has its mountain gorillas gathered in one ecozone, Volcanoes National Park. This Park is known for having the highest number of Virunga volcanoes. Uganda’s mountain gorilla parks equally have a share of the volcano mountains, and these have for both countries been helpful in the conservation of mountain gorillas since the slopes have fertile volcano soils that have facilitated the growth of tropical rainforests in which mountain gorillas thrive.
Mountain gorillas are only visible in the Virunga ecozone, and no where else in the world. The good side with mountain gorilla trekking is that visitors get to view mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
Gorilla trekking is guided by experienced and trained guides who foresee tracking of the mountain gorillas and offer security. Trekkers also engage in hiking because these are highland regions of Virunga.
Fifteen years is the minimum age required for every visitor to participate in a gorilla trekking adventure, and are also issued with guidelines on how to partake the experience. Overall, mountain gorilla trekking is an activity that no one should miss on the African safari bucket list.
Cost of gorilla permits.
The price in the two countries isn’t the same. Below it is for each country;
Booking gorilla permits.
For one to trek mountain gorillas, they are required to carry a gorilla permit with them. For Uganda, purchases are made at Uganda Wildlife Authority offices, whereas in Rwanda, at the Rwanda Development Board offices. Gorilla permits come with their advantages and disadvantages, depending on when the tourist chooses to purchase them. As a caution, tourists are advised to book their permits as early as possible before the peak season which has high demand.
This can affect one’s trekking schedule that delays to make bookings, by forwarding their trek to an undesirable month. Trekkers are equally advised to book their gorilla permits through travel agents because of the potential huddles they may encounter when booking directly through government agencies.
Attention is equally drawn to visitors to beware of discounted offers that are often available from various travel companies especially during off season months. These could help one save some money while traveling.
Gorilla trekking equipment / appropriate clothing.
Because mountain gorilla trekking is done in thick jungles, visitors are advised to at least carry the following equipment;
Best time to do gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda.
July to September, and the period between December to February are still unbeatable in terms of the favorite months to visit the mountain gorillas in either of two countries. Therefore, since the two countries lie in tropical region of Africa, not much changes in terms of seasons.
The above-mentioned months have the best sunshine that comes to the advantage of visitors with less, or no interference of rains during gorilla trekking.