On the day of gorilla trekking in Uganda, you need to carry your gorilla permit card and receipts with which you present at the ranger station. When your gorilla permit card is swiped through the card reader, your personal details are retrieved that is full names, nationality, date of birth, passport expiry date and others. These details must be forwarded to the reservation office before the gorilla permit is issues.
Before heading to the ranger station, you must have your packed lunch because return time after gorilla trekking is unknown. Finding the mountain gorillas depends on factors prevailing in the forest like location of feeding area, prevailing weather conditions of the day, in case of gorilla family members’ death and others.
Ensure you have packed all necessary gorilla trekking gears and wearing the right safari clothes that will favor your time in the wilderness. Before heading to the ranger station, cross check with your list of required gorilla safari gears like the camera, foldable water bottle, garden gloves, insect repellant, rain proof gears, first aid kit and others.
Hire a porter before starting the gorilla trek. In case you want assistance with your gorilla trekking gears, you can request for a porter. Porters are local people who assist carry your bags while you walk to find the mountain gorillas. You can hire the porter a friendly price and they are also first approved by Uganda Wildlife Authority. The porter may also give you a push when tired. Hiring a porter is one of the ways to directly give back to the community and they use the funds collected to run there day today life.
What happens At The Briefing Point Before Gorilla Trekking in Uganda?
All tourists heading for gorilla safaris gather at the ranger station for briefing. The ranger guides’ team and wardens take you through the rules of gorilla trekking as conserving mountain gorillas supersedes everything.
Some of the gorilla trekking rules you are given include no shouting while searching for the mountain gorillas, littering the forest is forbidden, requested to volunteer and stay behind in case you have any communicable infection like cough, flu, covid-19 and others. Other than the gorilla safari rules you read about, each individual gorilla family may have specific rules which are passed to you by your ranger guide.
Later you are allocated gorilla families but the criteria used is hard to predict as sometimes age brackets are used, fitness levels, relations and others. In case you have travelled as a group, you may be distributed amongst different gorilla families so expect this to happen. In case you wish to go gorilla trekking to the same gorilla family, you may try your luck and try requesting for this from the rangers. This however may not be guaranteed all the time.
Each gorilla trekking family in Uganda is allocated maximum 8 tourists for conservation purpose. For every group of gorilla trekkers, atleast two ranger guides are allocated one carrying a machete to help with trimming protruding vines and another carries a rifle in case of urgent emergency. These rangers use radio call communication often to keep up with those on ground. In case backup is needed, this can be communicated via the radio call.
The gorilla safaris normally start from the trails where mountain gorillas were seen the previous day but it is not a guarantee that they will still be in the same location. Since mountain gorillas are bulky, they normally do not move far from there previous location.
Each day a team of ranger guides wakes up earlier than the rest to patrol where the mountain gorilla families might have nested and possible hangout spots. These clues are what rangers guiding tourists use but its not a must that the mountain gorillas will be found in those same areas.
As a tourists, you are requested to actively participate in searching for there jungle masters the mountain gorillas. this is part of the fun for the entire gorilla safari experience. Some of the clues you may look out for when trekking to find the mountain gorillas include foot prints, freshly eaten foliage, listen too the sounds, fresh dung and so much more. the ranger guides usually provide you with possible clues you must look out for.
Rules to follow on the way to do gorilla trekking
The ranger guide follows the pace of the slowest trekkers during gorilla trekking in Uganda so that no one is forgotten in the wilderness. This however doesn’t mean to walk slowest because you may delay the rest and yet time of finding the mountain gorillas is hard to predict.
What To Do When You Find The Mountain Gorillas during Gorilla Trekking Safari in Uganda
Coming face to face with the mountain gorillas in gorilla trekking safari creates mixed feeling of excitement and may stimulate some adrenaline. For sure at a glance, the physical look of mountain gorillas is intimidating because of there dark furred body and deep brown sunken eyes. There knuckle locomotion style makes you feel trapped however as you sink in, you realise how vulnerable these primates are.
At this moment listen carefully to the ranger guide so as not to show these primates that you are an enemy too. dominant silverbacks love showing off there autonomy but try to be the underdog in order to enjoy the entire drama in the forest.
The cost of Uganda gorilla trekking safaris varies with the category of safari package you choose but the universal cost of the gorilla permit. The current cost of Uganda gorilla trekking permit is $700 for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents and 250000shs for East Africans. Securing the gorilla permit is the only assurance to a confirmed Uganda gorilla trekking safari.
At Arch Safaris And Tours, we offer gorilla safari packages categorized into Luxury, mid-range and budget. Each of these gorilla safari packages contains different characteristics and the more content in the gorilla safari package the higher the price.
Some of the points we use to make a safari quotation include the number of days on safari, number of people travelling with, time of booking the gorilla safari and so much more.
Is Instalment Gorilla permit Purchase accepted in Uganda?
Yes, instalment gorilla permit purchase is accepted per the gorilla reservation guidelines. Fully purchasing your gorilla trekking permit is the best approach however sometimes this may not be possible.
Uganda Wildlife Authority accepts gorilla permit instalment purchase of 30% and 70% however you must have purchased the gorilla permit before 90 days to gorilla safari day. Remember to top up before 90 days to trekking date.
Failure to top up your gorilla permit may lead to losing the deposit and terminating your gorilla trekking without refund.
Can I Reschedule My Uganda Gorilla Trekking Permit?
In case you might be unable to make it for the gorilla trekking safari in Uganda but hope to travel in the future, you can use the below procedure to reschedule your gorilla permit
Write to Uganda Wildlife office the reservation department requesting to reschedule your gorilla permit to a future date. In case you have back up details to support your reason for not travelling as per the pre-booked date, attach it too.
When your request if finally approved, your gorilla permit is moved as per the prevailing gorilla permit availability status.
To move your gorilla trekking permit, it must be fully paid for and the reschedule date has to be within the year for which the gorilla trekking safari was to happen.
Is Gorilla Trekking in Uganda strenuous?
The trek to find the mountain gorillas is quite difficult because of the nature of the topography of the area where these primates live. Generally, the topography of the area where mountain gorillas live is mountainous with highlands resulting from volcanic action in this area.
During the gorilla trek, you may have to hike where the mountain gorillas may be spending there day sometime deep in the valleys or on the slopes of ridges and plateaus which at times are draped by tangled vegetation.
Although the ranger guide may offer you a walking stick for extra support, you must have some level of fitness to complete the entire gorilla trek.
Carry with you some energy bites to munch on and re-energize while you trek to locate the mountain gorillas in the wild.
The feeling you get when standing before the mountain gorillas is unmatched as the reality about the nature of mountain gorillas unfolds right before your eyes. This is why gorilla trekking is referred to as a dream come true experience