What You should know about Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
What You should know about Gorilla trekking is when, where and how you should trek through the jungle to spend one hour or habituated gorillas
How many mountain Gorillas are recently in Uganda?
Mountain gorillas in Uganda are found in two national parks, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National. Uganda has more than half of the world’s mountain gorilla population found on the Virunga Mountain slopes in Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. And a new census now shows that the population of mountain gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is now at 459, up from 400 in 2011. What You should know about Gorilla Trekking, The results show that the total number of gorillas is now 1063 gorilla individuals found in Uganda, Rwanda and congo.
When is the right time for trekking Gorillas in Uganda?
A lot of clients who are willing to trek gorillas have this question in mind, how and when they will get best experience. However, there has been different opinions put across on the best time to trek gorillas, but the truth is Gorillas in Uganda can be tracked throughout the year and the clients get the same level of experience. Most clients avoid rainy season forgetting that Bwindi impenetrable national Park lies in tropical rain forest type and also situated in equatorial forest where chances of rain are too high.
How much does it cost to see or track Gorillas in Uganda?
To be able to take part in Gorilla trekking, you must obtain a Gorilla permit so the cost of the Gorilla permit largely determines the cost of Gorilla trekking in Uganda. The Gorilla trekking permit now costs $700 for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents of East African countries (Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania), and 250,000 UGX for East African citizens throughout the year. There are no low-season discounts anymore or any other discounts so do not be deceived or misled.
The Gorilla Habituation Experience permit/pass costs $1,500 for foreign nonresidents, $1,000 for foreign residents in East Africa and 750,000 UGX for East African Citizens.
The Trekking permit does not involve the whole tour package which includes;
Vehicle (Gorilla trekking takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga national park and getting to both places is not a smooth ride all through. The longer parts of the journeys are all smooth on tarmac roads but you will most likely need a 4X4 vehicle to get to the parks and more so, What You should know about Gorilla Trekking, the trekking points where your Gorilla trek begins)
Accommodation; as it is, What You should know about Gorilla Trekking, you cannot take part in Gorilla trekking in Bwindi or Mgahinga without staying at least 1 night within the area and as such, the type of accommodation facility you choose, also determines your Uganda Gorilla trekking cost.
Let’s take a minimum example a 3-day gorilla trekking trip
Budget Gorilla trekking – permit $700 + car rental $150 + fuel+ $20 + accommodation $150 which totals to $1,200.
Mid-range Gorilla trekking – permit $700 + car rental $300 + fuel+ $250 + accommodation $450 which totals to $1,700.
Luxury Gorilla trekking – permit $700 + car rental $750 + fuel+ $350 + accommodation $800 which totals to $2,600.
But this price be lower per person depending on the number of people going for a trek. If it’s a group of 5 people and above there are some shared costs like fuel and car rental which will reduce the amount paid per person.
What to pack on a safari Gorilla trek?
What to pack for a gorilla trekking safari is not a detailed list that should send you panicking and calling all your travel friends. They’re just a few items in addition to what you usually included in your travel luggage. You need to watch out for your protection from unfamiliar hush weather conditions, COVID-19 SOPs, photography gear, and a couple of other non-essential staff.
Below are some the things you should consider packing while going for a gorilla trekking safari
- Hiking boots
- Face mask
- Hiking Gloves
- A pair of Gaiters
- Water proof Jacket
- Long-sleeved Shirts/blouse
- Hiking Pants/trousers
- Light Bag pack
- Extra batteries
- Cameras & Binoculars
- Energy Snacks
What are the trekking rules and regulations?
According to the gorilla trekking rules and regulations: —
You must be 15 years or more to get a gorilla tracking permit. The age limit for gorilla trekking is set to 15 because children usually carry flu, colds, chickenpox, and mumps that could infect the gorillas.
You need to have a yellow fever vaccine to be allowed into Uganda, Rwanda, or Congo. What You should know about Gorilla Trekking, Foreign visitors may also need a visa to enter the borders of the different gorilla-tracking countries. The park authorities will ask for your passport after the briefing and before going into the forest to confirm your identity and ensure that you are Eligible for gorilla trekking.
Only eight people may visit a gorilla group in a day. This not only helps reduce the possibility of disease transmission but also minimizes disturbances to the behavior of the gorilla group.
Tracking gorillas involves moving long distances searching for the gorilla families. It often involves climbing steep terrain and mud-filled trails. You need to be reasonably fit and in good shape for the best experience. Elderly travelers will be assigned the nearest gorilla families. The elderly can hire the services of a porter to help carry them up to the group if they wish.
More about Gorilla Trekking Rules
You cannot track mountain gorillas when infected with transmittable diseases. The Rangers have the right to stop you from going ahead with the group if they feel that the gorillas could be infected. Volunteer to remain behind if you are not feeling well or suspect that you have a contagious disease.
You will be refunded back the money you spent on the permit or be given another opportunity once you are cleared and are in good health. Gorillas easily catch human diseases like diarrhea, flue, and cough. Cough in particular affects gorillas badly. Turn away from the gorillas and cover your nose and mouth if you have to sneeze or cough. Remember, you may be carrying germs or an infection that you are not aware of. You need to also ensure you have clean hands as you head out trekking.
Listen attentively and follow what the Rangers tell you. Don’t talk loudly as you trek so as not to miss opportunities to spot. Loud noises may frighten the gorillas especially if they have just completed the habituation process. If bitten by an insect or safari ant, do not shout and alert the gorillas. They may leave before the one hour has elapsed hence reducing on the amount of time spent with them. Let the rangers know of your plight and they will give you a remedy.
Cleanliness in the park.
Keep the park clean and free of rubbish that could cause disease to the gorillas. Tourists are required not to drop handkerchiefs, used tissues or canisters. The primates may also swallow the items which could cause complications. In case you wish to go to the toilet, let the guide know at once. They will dig a hole for you that you should cover after to avoid spreading disease to the gorillas.
Do not clear vegetation in order to have a better view of the gorillas. This could scare the primates. Let the rangers do any clearing if necessary and possible. Do not eat, drink or smoke in the presence of mountain gorillas. They may approach you out of curiosity and maybe grab a bite. Leftover food may contain viruses that would affect the gorillas.
Maintain a distance of at least 15 feet from the endangered mountain gorillas to reduce the risks of transmitting human diseases. While observing the gorillas, tourists should not surround them but remain in a group. The gorillas should be given space to move about without feeling surrounded or threatened in any way. Keeping a distance of 15 feet is important especially when a gorilla decides to approach you. Move backward slowly.
Be strong while with Gorillas
If it is not possible to move backward, then the only option is to remain still. What You should know about Gorilla Trekking, Juveniles are particularly very inquisitive and will attempt to investigate you. Your items and bag should be closed and in place so that they don’t draw the attention of the inquisitive juveniles. Apart from limited disease spread, keeping a distance will prevent the primates from getting too used to humans. It will also prevent the primates from acting too familiar or even aggressive to groups after you.
In rare cases a mountain gorilla charges, crouch down slowly. Do not run but let the gorilla leave on its own. The Rangers will be on alert when a silverback starts beating his chest to display dominance. They are trained to calm down tourists in such circumstances and to stop anyone from running. As threatening and scary as charging may be, the best thing to do is stay put. Always stay calm and avoid sudden movements.
Avoid staring directly at the gorillas as they might mistake it for hostility. What You should know about Gorilla Trekking, Your body language counts a lot when with gorillas. Do not lift your arms or hands as they might be taken as signs of aggression. Standing taller than them and then staring may also be mistaken for aggression.
The Rangers will let you know when it is safe to start taking photos. While taking photos of mountain gorillas, keep calm and limit your movements. Do not use your flash to avoid irritating the gorillas to the point of charging at you.
Do not attempt touching mountain gorillas even when they are inspecting you. They could mistake it for aggressiveness.
Putting on bright colors might attract the attention of the gorillas. Sunglasses are also not allowed while with the gorillas. Their reflection on the glass might make them come to you to find out more.
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