Trekking for mountain gorillas in Africa is quite an amazing and unmissable adventure, which every tourists coming to Africa is seeking to do. The major idea behind mountain gorilla tourism in Africa is gorilla sustainability and protection. Its is thats to this money from tourists that the number of mountain gorillas are growing each years with over 20 new born infant gorillas at celebrated at the Kwita Izina of Rwanda. Over 980 Mountain gorillas found in Central Africa, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park having half of the total mountain gorilla population, the other half is found with in the Virunga volcano mountain gorilla region including Volcanoes national Park of Rwanda, Virunga national park of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga national park of Uganda.
Mountain gorillas live in families comprising of 10 – 30 member with infants, mother gorillas, juviniles and headed by a dorminant silverback gorilla. Tourists only visit selected habituated mountain gorilla groups, who have been trained and are used to seeing people visit their habitant. Visiting to see gorillas is a safe experience, and as long as tourists follow the guidelines of their guide all has to go well.
Booking and Acquiring your gorilla permit can be dome through your local tour operator in with Rwanda or Uganda. Usually a tour company gives you a price quote for the entire tour, or you can choose to only book your permit. Make sure that your tour company sends you a scan of your permit as evidence of the existence of your permit. One can book a Permit directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority in Uganda – Rwanda – Rwanda Development Board – Current prices of gorilla permits as of January 2016;
Very necessary to choose the right clothing – Its gets hot and sweaty as you hike up in the rainforest. Its best light cotton fabrics, long sleeved and long pants. A light rain jacket is a good idea. Hiking boots during rainy season but a sturdy pair of hiking shoes is also good. Maintain a light backpack that will carry your water, lunch pack, camera first aid kit and it should be water proof, to protect your camera inches it rains.
You don’t have to be very much physically fit, but you require some fitness to trek the gorillas. Your body needs to be active so your able to complete the trek which can go unto 3 hours of hiking.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority has made it possible for elderly and disabled people to do the trek, with the help from porters who are willing to literally carry you to see the gorillas.
Hiring a porter comes in handy. Porters are locals available at the starting point, who you pay to carry your bags, help you through slippery conditions. The cost of a porter ranges between $5-10 USD. Also this small fit helps him put food on his children’s table!
As much as trekking mountain gorillas as the reason for the conservation and sustainability of gorillas today, gorillas are very much vulnerable to human diseases and unlike human being, gorillas have very low immunity to human illnesses.
Each gorilla group, with 8 people or less is accompanied by a head guide, hired porters, and two security guards; one at the front and the other at the back. The guards carry AK47s and are there to ensure your security and incase of any large or dangerous animals getting too close, they can fire a warning shot to scare them away.
Photographs are the biggest reminder of this unique and personal adventure. Hence very necessary to know hoe to capture the best shots. Flash camera is not allowed as it will scare the gorillas. Make sure your memory card has enough space, battery fully charged and carrying spare battery is a good idea.
Carry enough water for the trek, it best very hot as you hike, and need to keep hydrating. As you sweat, its necessary to drink as much
You get to visit habituated mountain gorillas, but remember these are still wild animals. Using a flash camera can threaten the gorillas and can attack, don’t very close or reach out to torch them. They are very vulnerable to human infection, don’t make too much noise and don’t dispose off rubbish in their environment.