Frequently Asked Gorilla Trekking Questions
Gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda is one of the top activities rising lots of debates, questions and answers from people all over the world. This is evident on forums like lonely planet, trip advisor, tripatini, and social networks like twitter, Facebook, what up and so much more. Amongst the most disturbing gorilla tracking questions are:
Gorilla tracking permit in Uganda costs $ 600 per person per trek but hoping to increase in future yet In Rwanda $1500 is the cost for a single gorilla permit. This money helps in promoting the conservation and welfare of gorillas and a potion is given back to the surrounding communities. Before trekking, one need to book a permit at least 7 months to the trekking date because there permits are highly demanded and are on first come fist serve basis. Only 8 trekkers are allowed per gorilla trekking family each day.
All gorilla tracking families are interesting to visit and grading which one is the best to track depends on what each person desires to achieve at the end of the trek. Some want to check there physical fitness and take some time search for the Gorillas while other wish to take as little time as they can in the forest. Uganda has 10 gorilla trekking families all situated in different parts of Bwindi National Park that to say Buhoma side (Rushegura gorilla family, Habinyanja Gorilla family and Mubare Gorilla family) Rushaga side (Oruzogo gorilla family and Bitukura gorilla family), Southern part side( Nkuringo gorilla family, Nshongi gorilla family, Mishaya Gorilla Family, Kahungye gorilla family and Busingye Gorilla family). Mgahinga National park has the Nyakagezi gorilla trekking family but this at times strays to Rwanda.. Each of these gorilla trekking families has varying characteristics while other may be shy another family is charming to watch but all depends on what you want to achieve on your gorilla trek.
In Rwanda, gorilla trekking is done in Volcanoes National park in families like Sabyinyo gorilla family, Amahoro Gorilla family, Susa gorilla family, Umubano gorilla family, Kwitonda Gorilla family, Group 13 gorilla family and Hirwa Gorilla family. Unlike the Ugandan gorilla trek, in Rwanda, families are situated at a slightly lowland compared to the Uganda side. At one point, researchers thought that these are two different species of Mountain gorillas but this has no concluded evidence.
A gorilla family that one may call best and easiest for gorilla trekking may move fur into the garters of the forest as they search for new feeding grounds, in case it loses a member, attacks from another family, wrangles with in that end into breaking up of the family to mention but a few . they may make the family relocate into the deeper ends of the park prompting you to spend about 5 to 7 hours in the forest.
Whether you trek gorilla in Uganda or Rwanda the experience depends on what your expectations are.
Whether in Uganda or Rwanda, Gorilla trekking is an all year round activity but at times there are some extremely wet months. March, April, May and November are normally rainy months but because of the changing climatic conditions in the world, at times the trend changes. However this does not mean that gorilla trekking stays stagnant in these months. Several travellers still continue coming and booking trekking the gorillas in these months but you need to carry a rain proof and warm gears just in case it rains. You need to ask about the weather condition of the country at least a week prior to the beginning for your trip just to be a more confident about what to park.
Mountain Gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and D.R.Congo live in the cold mountain zones of these countries that is to say Mountain Muhavura, Mountain Sabyinyo, Karinsimbi, Bisoke and Gahinga. They are cold places whose temperatures at times drop to 7 degrees centigrade. Warm clothes are some of the items that must be parked to keep you warm. A long sleeved shirt and long warm trousers during the trek are advisable because of the chilly conditions experienced in the jungle. A rain jacket, hut, insect repellents, sun glasses may also be helpful. As you leave your room to go to the briefing point, you have to remember your packed lunch and drinking water because the time you are to take in the forest depends on the proximity of the gorilla family. Time varies from 4 to 8 hours
Our Safari packages are quoted according to the budget of a client and the best determinate of this package is the type of accommodation you prefer. There are Luxury or high-end packages, Moderate or Mid-range safari package and Budget Safari package. Where to spend the nights during gorilla trekking depends on the side where the gorilla group is located. You need to know the location of the family you are booking so that you avoid chances of waking up at dawn to drive to the briefing point. In case you are tracking gorillas in Buhoma, Rushaga, Nkuringo or Nyakagezi, you need to book accommodation close to these families.
Gorilla trekking although enjoyable and rewarding is a strenuous activity. It involves hiking some steeps and maneuvering the wet boggy ground while beating some branches and thickest along the way. Remember you are carrying some baggage on you so you may need some extra support from a potter to carry you or give you extra support when tired. Renting a potter is another way of supporting the community as majority of the children and adults earn school dues through pottering. In case of an injury, potters can carry you on a stretcher but you need to contact the Uganda ranger guide in the lead to help you identify which potter is reliable before starting your gorilla trek.
Gorilla tracking discriminates no one whether hand capped or old all are catered for by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. They have sedan chairs that can be hired and a group of able boded men that assist you get to the gorillas. This however has to be advised in advance of travel to ensure that there is a availability on sight. Only those with a contagious disease like a cold, dysentery cholera, Ebola and others may not be allowed to go gorilla trekking because these apes are highly susceptible to human diseases.
Whether in Uganda or Rwanda, only tourists with 15 years and above are allowed to go gorilla trekking. These are considered adults who can sustain the hiking and search for Mountain Gorillas. First sight of a mountain gorilla is adrenaline simulating which may cause one to shout yet this may also cause suspicions to shy gorillas and it is one of the things that may stimulate them to rage or hide into the bush. To avoid such incidences, at least a 15 year old tourist can withstand facing the gorillas.
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