After you have concluded the process of booking with your tour operator, it is time to get your backpack and board for your gorilla trekking safari in Africa. You will pack all the necessary gear for your safari and head straight to Uganda or Rwanda for your gorilla trekking Safari. Many travelers wonder what happened on the Actual day of Gorilla trekking. Here is What to anticipate on the actual day of gorilla trekking in Africa(Gorilla trekking process). When planning your safari, it is important to get all the necessary documents, vaccinations, and payments to avoid being disturbed during your tour. We recommend you book your trip early enough to allow us or your tour operator to prepare in advance.
After landing in Uganda or Rwanda, depending on your package you will be welcomed in the country and transferred to your booked accommodation for check-in. Although it may be possible to fly in Rwanda at night and trek gorillas in the morning, we recommend you spend a day before trekking the gorillas.
From your lodge, your driver guide will transfer you to the park headquarters, you will carry your passport with you and head to the park headquarters for a briefing by park officials. While at the headquarters, your gorilla permits will be crosschecked as well as your passports to verify that you are the right owner of the permit. We recommend that you book your permit with a reputable tour operator or through responsible bodies like the Uganda Wildlife Authority for Uganda and the Rwanda Development Board for Rwanda Permits.
During the briefing, they will provide you with important information about the gorillas, safety guidelines, and the trekking rules. Trekking may take hours so we recommend that you be ready with your packed lunch since no one is certain about the time you will take to locate gorillas in the wild.
You’ll be assigned to a trekking group, usually consisting of 8 individuals. Each group is led by an experienced guide who will accompany you during the trek. The age and level of fitness of the guests are some of the factors that will determine which gorilla group you will be allocated to. For instance, people with age beyond 45 years are allocated to the “easy to find” gorilla families—which rarely wander far from the trailheads. For travelers with a special interest in certain gorilla families, during the allocation, you can inform their guides so that they can negotiate with the rangers before the groups are assigned.
Gorillas are wild animals and they keep wandering in the jungle. If you are planning to trek, it is important to understand that although gorillas are what may be regarded as easy to find, they may not necessarily be, as the gorillas may wander far as they search for food. The time you will take to see gorillas is not guaranteed but the trek can generally last between 30 mins to 4 hours.
Every group of trekkers is led by a main guide and two scouts who carry AK-47 guns, one walking in front and another behind the group. This is mainly done to ensure your safety during the trek. The armed scouts are for protection in the forest, in case of any threat from wild animals. The scouts are trained to fire shots into the air first to scare away the animals in case they pose any threat to the visitor, however, this rarely happens and there are no recorded cases of it
Each trekking group will be joined by a pair of trackers that were sent out in the early morning (before you arrive in the park) to find the location of your specific gorilla family and assess where they may be headed. These provide information about the gorilla’s movements and location to the guide so that he can decide on the best approach to meet the gorilla family.
Since there are no obvious trekking pathways, expect to hike in the forest which is lush, humid, and somewhat light. You will have to drag yourself up steep slopes by clinging to branches, plant roots, bushes, and other objects because the terrain is made up of hills and steep volcano slopes. As you traverse the forest we recommend that you observe the guide’s guidance regarding the optimal course of action and shape. Tell your guide when you need a break. We recommend packing some energy-boosting foods and bottled mineral water as it is also a good idea to help you stay hydrated and boost your energy levels.
After a long trek in the lush and humid tropical rainforest, you will locate your gorilla family, and it is time for real adventure. At this moment, the excitement rises although the clock starts ticking. Your guide will direct you on how you will act around the gorillas and how you will approach the family. You will approach these primates in their natural habitat and you are likely to find them feeding from the ground resting, moving around, or up in the trees playing. One of the key things here is your safety and experience with gorillas.
Although you may want to stare a gorilla in the eye, it is important to know that if he starts to charge at you, maintain your composure and avert your gaze to convey that you are submissive and do not desire a fight. Set up your cameras and get ready to capture as many moments as possible, remember to turn off the flashlights and sounds when taking pictures.
After locating the gorillas, it is time to enjoy the real adventure and we advise you to try to get yourself the best view for photographs and learn all their behavior at this moment. Usually, when gorillas start moving, you will follow them while maintaining a reasonable distance which should be not shorter than 7 meters. It is advisable to stay near your guide and follow his instructions always.
The scouts and guides will always help you clear the bush with the machete so you can get a clearer and closer look at the gorillas. You will surely be amazed by these large creatures, considering their massive stature, it is amazing how serene and graceful these animals are. If lucky enough and you witness the mature male silverbacks getting up and displaying their dominance over the area, you will be in complete awe.
After your trek, you will head back to the visitors center where you will receive your certificate of participation. From there, your driver guide will drive you to your next destination. Plan your safari with Acacia Safaris for the best gorilla trekking safari experience in Africa. We also offer other experiences like wildlife safaris, Birdwatching safaris, and chimpanzee trekking among others.
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