Gorilla Trekking Safaris
Africa is home to a multitude of extraordinary wildlife experiences. One of the most moving and memorable animal interactions is found in the misty highlands of the Virunga Mountains which stretch across the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC.
A gorilla trekking safari is a true wildlife adventure. It is an opportunity to come into close contact with the largest of all primates and rarest subspecies of gorilla – the mountain gorilla. Travelers embarking on a gorilla trek can expect to journey through mud, jungles and bamboo forests to seek out mountain gorilla families. Spending time with these critically endangered creatures is one of the world’s most unique activities. The rarity of the gorillas along with the effort required to get to them makes for an unforgettable experience.
Political strife, loss of habitat and the bushmeat trade almost decimated the last remaining pockets of the magnificent mountain gorilla and less than 1000 survive in the wild today.
Over the years, gorilla tourism has become a real hope for saving the mountain gorillas through local community empowerment, education and protection as well as the valuable income generated by enthusiastic tourists. Up in the mountains, certain gorilla families have been carefully ‘habituated’ for interactions with humans and the funds from gorilla trekking tourism activity goes into conservation and local community upliftment.
There are two main locations in which to go on a gorilla trekking safari, the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda or the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. Both destinations differ slightly from each other but both require a pre-purchased gorilla trekking permit which Safari365 will arrange for you.
What to expect from a Gorilla Trekking Excursion:
Meet Your Guide and Briefing: There are a certain number of habituated gorilla families in Uganda and in Rwanda. Upon meeting your guide in the morning, you will be assigned a specific gorilla family for your trek. You will also receive a comprehensive briefing on safety around gorillas, and how to act in close proximity to these intelligent animals. Gorillas are very susceptible to human germs so there will also be further precautions taken to ensure there are no human flu or diseases passed from yourself to a gorilla during your interaction.
Trek: Gorilla families move continually within their greatly defined mountainside areas. Your trekking will last as long as it takes to get to their current location through the mountain paths and hills. It is beautiful (sometimes tiring) walking and guides will stop the group regularly to ensure no exhaustion sets in. Guides will also generally assign hikers of different strengths and fitness to different gorilla families (the stronger hikers will be given a family that is most likely further away from the starting point)
Gorilla Interaction: The gorilla interaction is a strictly regulated affair lasting exactly one hour. Gorillas are inquisitive by nature and interact freely, but touching the mountain gorillas is prohibited. Your time with the gorillas will be an enchanting experience that will live with you for a lifetime.
Thank you to Great Lakes Safaris for supplying several clips of the gorilla footage used above.
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