How physically demanding is gorilla trekking? Best trekking tips & advice on how to prepare for gorilla safaris

Mountain gorilla trekking is one of the best wildlife experiences in Africa. Trekking to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat entails hiking and navigating through thick forest cover in unpredictable weather to search and observe these magnificent creatures. If you are up for this adventure, then it is important to know that gorilla trekking requires a decent level of physical fitness. How physically demanding is gorilla trekking? Gorilla Trekking requires a moderate level of physical fitness and good preparation. Although generally trekking doesn’t need you to be too fit, being in decent shape will surely increase your chances of completing the trek.

For regular hikers or hillwalkers, you are likely to enjoy trekking mountain gorillas. Just make sure you have your gorilla trekking permit and the right packing list and indulge in the jungles for this experience. This complete guide is designed to make you understand how difficult mountain gorilla is, what makes trekking difficult, and how best you can prepare for your gorilla trekking safaris holiday to Uganda and Rwanda.


How difficult is gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda? – How physically demanding is gorilla trekking?

With our experience in organizing gorilla trekking tours for the past two decades, one of the questions we have been asked by most travelers is How physically demanding is gorilla trekking? or How difficult is gorilla trekking? If you are up for gorilla trekking adventure in Uganda and Rwanda, you need to know that gorilla trekking requires a decent level of physical fitness.

How difficult is gorilla trekking? Mountain gorilla trekking is a physically demanding wildlife experience that involves hiking through dense forest and ruged terrains to reach the gorilla habitat. The level of difficulty of a gorilla trek is influenced by a number of factors such as location of the gorilla family, weather condition, and the nature of the terrain of your allocated area.

Although generally there are no strict fitness requirement for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda, a moderate level of physical fitness is best recommended when preparing for a gorilla trekking safari Tour. Mountain gorillas live in thick impenetrable forest with high altitude of about 2500 – 4000 meters above sea level. Navigating through the forest to see these animals is challenging. Expect navigating through steep and rugged terrains, trekking for long distances, and climbing in high altitudes under unpredictable weather conditions. Nevertheless, the experience is really worth it and a must do if you are a primate lover travelling to Uganda or Rwanda.

Arrangements can be made for you to have all the necessary support to complete your gorilla trekking tour. Porters, sedan chairs, and hiking stick are all available to make your trekking much easier.

How best to prepare for a gorilla trekking Safari? Best tips & Advice – How should I prepare physically for gorilla trekking?

Although generally, mountain gorilla trekking does not need one to be too fit, it is important to keep in mind that good preparation will help you have a successful gorilla trek. When preparing for a gorilla trekking Safari tour to Uganda or Rwanda, there are some things you can do to stay fit.

Regular exercise and workouts

When preparing for a gorilla trekking holiday, one of the best ways to keep your body fit is by doing regular exercise and workouts. Working out will help you to keep your body fit and in shape before your gorilla trekking adventure. When you work out, your body will be strong and ready for any hiking challenge, and this will help you to avoid getting tired during the trek and also to avoid injuries.

Practice Cardiovascular Activities

Activities like running, cycling or swimming are some of the best cardiovascular activities that will help you improve your overall fitness levels. These activities will help you build strength as you prepare for the gorilla trekking experience. Other recommended activities include sit-up and weight lifting for developing muscle strength. Also do more stretching exercise such as yoga to improve your reflexes and flexibility.

Choose nearby gorilla families

If you are worried about your ability to trek for long distances in the forest, we recommend choosing a shorter trek. The allocation of gorilla families is usually based on your physical fitness levels. We recommend choosing a nearby gorilla family if you are not sure of your fitness levels and ability to hike in the forest.

Carry a good packing list

It is essential to have all the recommended items in your packing list when going for gorilla safaris. Make sure to carry the right clothing and footwear when going for gorilla trekking tours. We also recommend carrying a backpack, water, and snacks.

Book your gorilla trekking tour with Acacia Safaris Limited and experience life changing adventure in Uganda and Rwanda. Our well crafted packages will take you to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park for gorilla adventures


Other frequently asked Questions

What is the terrain like during gorilla trekking?

Gorilla trekking is done in the tropical forest of central Africa in countries like Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Different gorilla trekking locations have varying terrains. The difficulty of the trek is partly dependent on the terrain. Gorillas live areas with high elevation with rugged terrains. Expect to encounter steep and muddy paths, dense vegetation, and sometimes thick undergrowth during your gorilla trekking safari.

Trekking to see mountain gorillas is challenging as you will navigate the forest walking over uneven ground and maneuvering around fallen trees and branches. The experience is however worth every penny and time.


How long is the trekking distance on average?

Although there is no exact established trekking distance, it is important to know that trekking to see mountain gorillas may involve hiking for a considerable distance. The trekking distance is however influenced by various aspects like the location of the gorilla family, the terrain, and the movement of the gorillas. if you are lucky enough, you might even be able to see gorillas just near the starting point which results into a shorter trek. However, in cases where gorillas are deep in the forest, you will trek for a long distance to see them.

On average, your gorilla trekking experience can take anywhere between 1 to 4 hours depending on several factors. (Note: this is just an estimate). It is advisable to better prepare for longer trekking hours.


Are there steep inclines or difficult paths to navigate?

During a gorilla trekking safari, expect to encounter steep inclines, uneven terrain, and muddy paths. It is important to keep in mind that the gorilla habitat is made up of rugged terrains with hills, valleys, and dense vegetation. Trekking can really be challenging however good preparation can enable you to have a successful gorilla trekking tour.

When gorillas move to higher elevations, expect to encounter more steep inclines. You will need to climb up hill thus prolonging your gorilla trekking durations. The path through these tropical forest are also obstructed with thick vegetation. Trekkers may also at times have to traverse muddy areas and cross small rivers during the trek.


What is the altitude like in the gorilla habitat?

Mountain Gorillas live in the mountainous regions of Africa with high altitude that ranges from 1,500 meters to 4,000 meters above sea level. While trekking mountain gorillas, expect to go through varying altitudes depending on the location and movement of your specific allocated gorilla family.

When allocating gorilla families to trekkers, Altitude is usually considered and trekkers who are more physically fit are allocated to gorilla families that found in much higher altitudes compared to those that are not too fit. It is important to know that high altitudes may impact trekkers especially those who are not used to it.


Are there porters available to assist with carrying gear during the trek?

All mountain gorilla trekking destination in Africa have well trained potters that are readily available to assist trekkers during their trekking experience. Porters usually help visitors carry their luggage and gear during the trek. For those with a challenge of hiking in a rugged terrain, you will find trekkers invaluable.

Among the thing porters will help you carry are the backpack, camera equipments, and other personal items. With the help of porters, you will have your full attentions and focus on hiking and navigating through the jungle to look for gorillas. Potters are usually local people familiar with the trails, terrain, and altitude in the park. If you are interested in using porters during your Gorilla trekking tour, it is important to know that you have to pay an extra amount of money as porter fees.


What type of footwear is recommended for gorilla trekking?

Unlike your normal wildlife safari tours that can be done in safari vehicles, mountain gorilla trekking is done in thick and uneven terrain that are only accessible on foot. Choosing the right footwear for your gorilla trekking trip will help you avoid getting injury during the trek. When choosing a foot ware for gorilla trekking, choose sturdy and comfortable hiking boots that can provide good ankle support and traction.

We recommend considering breathability, waterproofing, comfort, and sturdiness when choosing your footwear for a gorilla trekking Tour. Boots with a grippy outsole provide excellent traction which can help you navigate slippery terrains during your gorilla trekking safari.


How long does the gorilla trekking experience typically last?

The gorilla trekking Duration varies depending of factors like the location of the gorilla family, movement of gorillas, and the terrain. However when going for a gorilla trekking safaris, it is important to know that on the gorilla trekking experience can last anywhere between 1 to 6 hours. This duration includes the 1 hour allocated for observing the gorillas in their natural habitat and the time spent to search for the gorillas in the wild.