Gorilla Trekking Safaris
Political strife, loss of habitat and the bushmeat trade have almost decimated the last remaining pockets of the magnificent Mountain Gorilla. Add to this the superstitious value of gorilla hands to local culture, and you have a species on the brink of extinction. Tourism is the only real hope of saving the Mountain Gorillas through empowerment, education and protection as well as the valuable income generated by enthusiastic tourists.
The critically endangered mountain gorilla is the largest of all the primates and the rarest of the subspecies of gorilla. Approximately 700 mountain gorillas survive in the wild today and certain gorilla families have been ‘habituated’ for interactions with humans. 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 (see related article on the difference between Uganda and Rwanda) but both require a pre-purchased gorilla trekking permit which Safari365 will arrange for you.
Here is the format a typical Gorilla trekking safari will take, irrespective of where you see the gorillas:
Meet Your Guide and Briefing: There are 12 habituated gorilla families in Uganda and 10 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. 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 gorilla is prohibited .It is an enchanting experience that will live with you for a lifetime.
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