Locating the mountain gorillas in the wild differs in timing depending on the conditions prevailing in the Forest. Sometimes gorilla trekking may take between 2 hours and almost three quarters of the day. So you need to have some patience in case you are to find the mountain gorillas.
At the start of every gorilla trek, tourists ask what time are they locating the mountain gorillas. The behavior of the mountain gorillas in the forest determines a lot on where to find them. In most cases the ranger guides follows the trail where they were last seen the previous day.
Certain signs show that you are about to see mountain gorillas during gorilla trekking
Locating Overnight Nests for The Mountain gorillas
Mountain gorillas construct nests for the night and during gorilla trekking when you locate these nets, this means you are getting closer to finding them. Mountain gorillas do not normally feed far from where they spend there night.
This is because of there bulky bodies that do not allow them take fast mobility.
Finding Fresh Gorilla dung during gorilla trekking
Mountain gorillas normally feed from a certain location for a particular period and so expect to find dung in this location too. When you spot gorilla dung during the search to locate the mountain gorillas them you are closer to seeing the mountain gorillas. Fresh dung means they were feeding from this place not long ego.
Seeing Freshly Chewed on Stems during Gorilla trekking
When you find some freshly chewed on stems or any other foliage, this is one of the signs that the mountain gorillas were in this location not far from that day. They normally eat and drop the pierces that are not soft to them.
Locating a Spying Mountain Gorilla
Before locating the biggest number of mountain gorilla family members, some families allocate some of the silverbacks or black backs the duty to spy on intruders. During gorilla trekking, you may find a solitary mountain gorillas and most professional rangers know how to communicate with them to lead you where the rest of the family is lounging.
Just like the government spy network in humans, spying mountain gorillas communicate with the rest of the family alerting them about foreigners in there vicinity.
They may hoot, call out, beat chests and so much more as sign of alerting the rest of your coming.
Finding a Freshly Trampled On Area During Gorilla Trekking
During gorilla trekking, you may walk over trampled vegetation as if a scuffle had been there. This is where the mountain gorillas might have fed the previous day. Mountain gorillas rarely feed far from where they spent there previous day. Before they discover and conquer new feeding grounds, mountain gorillas entirely feed from a particular area then leave for a new destination.
In case they are attacked by a wild gorilla group and won, the habituated gorilla family may walk into deeper ends of the park to hide. There is a somber mood too in the gorilla family in case one of the members is lost at battle. This may hinder trekkers from watch the entire gorilla family.
In case the family gets a new member or an infant is born or won a battle there is a jovial mood so locating them may be more easier.
Hearing Murmuring Sounds Or Chest Beating During Gorilla Trekking
As you draw closer to locating the mountain gorillas, you may hear murmuring sounds as they interact with each other, chest beating, hooting are some of the signs that you are about to find the gorillas.
During feeding times, mountain gorillas tend to concentrate on chewing foliage and pulling vegetation but relaxing time is used for family bonding, playing grooming and so much more. This time the juveniles tend to interact with each other and create a bond with other family members.
What Happens When You Locate The Mountain Gorillas During Gorilla Trekking
Keep a space of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas when you locate them. This is to reduce on the chances of spreading any infections to the mountain gorillas. They are highly susceptible to human communicable infections since they have about 96% human DNA.
Wait for the ranger guide to interpret the mood of the gorilla family that is prevailing before starting to take photographs. Like humans, mountain gorillas get mood swings too depending on what’s happening. They may be habituated to be in the presence of humans but there nature is not altered.
Use soundproof flash less photography because mountain gorillas are frightened by new occurrences in there midst. The may reach-out to touch the camera but do not let it loose because they may grab it and rush away. Even your bags should not be left unattended as sneaky gorillas especially the playful juveniles may try to be inquisitive.
Sometimes the mountain gorillas scatter all over the place which may require you to keep moving but do it with utmost care because you may look suspicious in there presence. When with the mountain gorillas do not surround them as this makes them feel ambushed. Keep in a tight group.
Avoid provoking the mountain gorillas when with them. They at times tease there visitors but keep following the advise from ranger guides as given during gorilla trekking. The rangers take you through the dos and don’ts of gorilla trekking. This is one of the reasons why you may be bounced off gorilla trekking safari if you do not attend briefing.
Only one hours is allowed with the mountain gorillas when you locate them so use it to the maximum and make memories that will last a lifetime. Retreat to your lodge to relax in case you are exhausted or visit any local community to learn more about their day today life.
How difficult Is Gorilla Trekking
Mountain gorillas feed from the slopes or at the bottom at times so depending on where you have to locate them is the level of fatigue to expect. When you need to climb to the slopes especially in the severe rain season, you need hiking boots that can withstand such conditions.
Even the level of your fitness may contribute to how fatigued you get. We advise our clients to do some simple exercises that can help you go through this hike. In case you get altitude sickness, carry pills for this.
You do not need to go to the gym everyday but can start some simple exercises from your own compounds.
Pack light gorilla trekking gears that you will manage to hike with at your back. Do not forget a foldable water bottle where you can keep your drinking water.
Which Country Is Best For Gorilla Trekking Uganda Or Rwanda
No matter where you book your gorilla trekking safari, the feeling you get after a victorious gorilla trek is unmatched.
In Uganda, Bwindi impenetrable National Park is the gorilla trekking park in the country while in Rwanda Volcanoes National Park is the gorilla trekking destination.
The topography of volcanoes national park Rwanda is steeper because of the surrounding 5 mountains. This makes the Rwanda trek more challenging at times. In Uganda, the topography is not as steep as that in Rwanda. The highlands descend slowly into the valley.
The cost of a gorilla permit in Rwanda is $1500 per person yet the Uganda gorilla permit cost price is $700 per person per trek.
From Entebbe Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National park you may take about 8 hours to 9 hours driving for a proximately 530 km. In Rwanda, the drive from Kigali Airport to Volcanoes National park is about 3 hours.
After gorilla trekking in Uganda, you can connect with a number of other Uganda safari activities like game drives, chimpanzee trekking and others. After gorilla trekking in Rwanda, there is limited variety of other activities to choose from.
You can track gorillas in Uganda through Rwanda and the distance is shorter compared to driving from Entebbe Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National park.
Uganda has about 18 gorilla trekking families, which gives you higher chances of getting a permit even in crisis time. Rwanda has about 13 gorilla trekking families all living in Volcanoes National Park.
The time you take to locate the mountain gorillas varies according to prevailing conditions in the forest. Mountain gorillas occupy a certain area in the forest and feed from it for a longtime until when food is exhausted.
The way to see the mountain gorillas has huddles at times that are quite exhausting like slippery slopes, dense creepers that crisscross the trails, biting nettles and others. Some of these may be a reason for slowing your pace during gorilla trekking.
In case the gorilla family has received a new born, there is jubilation so locating the mountain gorillas may be faster. In case there is a fight with a wild gorilla family that attacks the habituated mountain gorillas. They go into hiding in case they are defeated and one of them is killed. A gorilla family may also be spilt and absorbed into a new family that may adopt them in case they loose the battle.
The time to locate the mountain gorillas is about 2 hours to three quarters of the day depending on the prevailing conditions in the forest.
In Uganda and Rwanda, gorilla trekking is safe as park authorities of both countries that is Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development board work together to monitors both parks.
Each day a group of ranger guides rise up earlier than others to search where the mountain gorillas had there night and get back to head office with a report. They explain about the prevailing mood of the mountain gorillas as per the time of their visit. The Park wardens pass this information to the rest of rangers on duty that day.
Although the gorillas are located, this does not guarantee that they will not move because they need to find a day’s meal. After briefing, the ranger guides take you to the trail where the mountain gorillas were seen earlier.
You need to have personal safety too by keeping close to the rest of the gorilla trekking party you were assigned after gorilla trekking. Getting lost in the wild forest without network is frustrating and may cost you the joy of meeting the mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking is a dream come true Africa Safari adventure.
Wearing the right gorilla trekking gears to protect your feet from rough surfaces in the jungle, medicated insect repellants, long trousers and shirt all are for extra protection. In case you wish to ease yourself, inform the ranger guide before breaking off from the rest of the group to avoid being left in the forest.
When with the mountain gorillas do not provoke them because this agitates them. In case they get angry, they may retreat into the deeper ends of the park or thump there chest in protest of your presence. This is quite scaring.
Safe guard your belongings while with the gorillas because at times the juveniles are sneaky to the extent of grabbing some of your items. In case you have a camera, wear straps to secure it from being grabbed.
Only trekkers 15 years and above are allowed to go gorilla trekking. This is because of the nature of the topography that requires you to hike in order to get to the mountain gorillas.
Sometimes the gorillas feed from far which requires long hours of trekking which may not go well with a child below 15 years.
The juvenile gorillas love teasing there visitors at times which may not go well with a child below that age. Reacting with louse noise may be inevitable which can cause a rampage in the forest. This may disrupt even other gorilla families in the forest. To avoid such incidents, children aged 15 and above are the only ones allowed to do gorilla trekking.