Frequent Questions on Gorilla Trekking

Frequent Questions on Gorilla Trekking

The frequent questions on Gorilla trekking and Mountain Gorillas are quite many as asked by trekkers, tourists, researchers, conservationists and students among others. Gorilla Trekking lovers often query many questions concerning the entire gorilla tracking exercise in either Rwanda, Congo or Uganda. The questions range from the time of developing ideas for a gorilla tour, to the booking process, ideal tracking period plus gorilla trekking and its completion.

The questions answered are about viewing gorillas, trekking and photographing of Mountain Gorillas, the best times for trekking Gorillas and attaining of gorilla tracking permits. Other issues addressed under these questions also include planning Gorilla safaris, rules and guidelines of gorilla tracking, personal physical fitness for a smooth hiking exercise.

Pursuing, appreciating and taking pictures of Mountain Gorillas in the jungles is among the ecosphere’s utmost natural tour experiences. Mountain Gorilla safaris can be expensive, fatiguing and even tiresome, but also excellently exciting and passionately remarkable. If you are able to get a trekking permit, you have 98% chances of sighting a group of Mountain Gorillas in the forest, as long as you are appropriate sufficiently to do the essential gorilla trailing. Mountain Gorilla tracking rangers working to protect the animals always know mostly where they can be traced. Getting to the gorillas sometimes necessitates long hours of walking in steep landscape, but occasionally, Mountain Gorilla trackers and tourists bump into their aimed group in a little period of rambling. The tour guides usually consider the interests, preferences, ages and capabilities of gorilla visitors and then lobby to the park management to allocate them gorilla groups that are most satisfying, easiest to reach and offer the finest gorilla trailing experience. In Rwanda Uganda, it is always advisable to book gorilla trekking permits well in advance. However, you can get a permit when you book at a short notice but is possible in low season periods. But for high season months, it is better to book some good months back to beat off competition.

Where do the mountain gorillas live?

Mountain gorillas inhabit in the Virunga Volcanoes that stand astride Uganda, Rwanda and D R Congo on the African continent. The majority of the gorillas exist on the gradients of the latent volcanoes Mikeno, Karisimbi and Sabinyo, Visoke, Muhavura Mgahinga. Whereas mountain gorillas’ habitation is mountainous, they hardly rise above 13,000 feet and also tend to elude the low levels, but choose the mid-range areas of the volcanoes. Due to the significance of food access by the gorillas, they spend maximum of their time in the Hagenia woodlands, part of their time in the bamboo plantations, and very rarely go to sub-alpine areas.

When and where is it possible to track Mountain Gorillas?

Since mountain gorillas live in Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, one can trek them in these countries. In Rwanda, gorilla trekking takes place at the Volcanoes National Park, In Uganda, trekking is done in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Due to stability issues, there are less gorilla trekking activities in the DR Congo. Mountain Gorilla trekking Uganda and Rwanda is conveniently done on a daily basis throughout the year. Weather conditions favor this activity all year round, even though some days are cooler that the others. Tracking gears like jackets and hiking shoes are even recommended for a tourist to come along with them to beat off the unpredictable weather situations. There are several accessible habituated Mountain Gorilla groups for visitors.  Whoever visits these groups must have a gorilla trekking permit that has to be booked well in advance.  Gorilla groups often travel into the Congo or beyond the range of a day trek to visit them. Other adapted Mountain Gorilla groups are devoted to research and not open trekking except under some circumstances like over-booked permits at the gazetted groups.

How can I tour Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda?

A person from 15 years of age and above is allowed to enjoy Mountain Gorilla trekking. All the existing Mountain Gorillas in the forests reside in the volcanic Virunga mountain ranges along the boundaries of Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo. Most visitors tour Gorillas with the help of tour operators like Speedway Safaris. We organize the necessary gorilla permits, transportation, guides and lodging all essential Gorilla trekking. You are not allowed to track Mountain Gorillas on your own or outside designated areas. 

How many Mountain Gorillas remaining in the world today?

Numbers of Mountain gorillas vary but estimates in 2013 were around 880 remaining gorillas. Not all are in habituated groups open to tourists.

Does everyone have to buy a gorilla trekking permit and how much is each permit?

To trek gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda, you must acquire a permit that allows entrance to the park for tracking. At present, Rwanda gorilla trekking permit is at $1500 and whereas in Uganda, it’s lower at only $700 for one to be able to enjoy the gentle giants in the wild. So there is no way one can visit gorillas without a gorilla permit. It is always necessary to book your gorilla trekking permit early enough to avoid disappointments.

In Rwanda or Uganda, where is Gorilla trekking easier and how do the two countries compare?

Mountain Gorillas trekking and tracking is done in the same way in Rwanda and Uganda. And there are a minimal number of tourists who choose to trek Mountain Gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo because of security worries, whereas at the same time, service in Congo are not as well prepared. Mountain gorillas in the three countries dwell similarly in the jagged terrain and have related habits. Mountain gorilla groups differ in their ease of access. The guidelines and superiority of resident gorilla guides is similar in Rwanda and Uganda.

How hard or difficult is Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda or Uganda?

To enjoy gorilla trekking, you must be physically strong and enthusiastic to trek in bumpy terrain and in whichever weather to see the Mountain Gorillas in the woodland. But on the other hand, numerous older people who do not take themselves as climbers can well tour the gorillas. Personal helpers may be employed to carry day pack and assist in difficult zones. The local escorts will make it easy to track and snapshot the Mountain Gorillas. Gorilla Trekking Services has had several clients in 70’s plus but succeeded in reaching their assigned groups of Mountain Gorilla. Even though many people come back from gorilla trekking very exhausted, muddy punched and tired as a result of vigorous hiking, the whole experience is worth it. Some sicknesses according to the height above sea level are not regularly a problem nor are bush insects. During the tracking exercise, you may need a pair of gloves and outfit that shields your arms and legs against thorns and pesters. Good balancing is supportive in Gorilla trekking as trajectories may be dicey or slippery.

How much time can I spend with the Mountain Gorillas?

Upon meeting the Mountain Gorillas in their jungles, the park authorizes permit you to devote one hour with them. Occasionally, your guide may agree to offer you a few more minutes, exclusively if you had a long walk to reach them and if the visitor group is not troubling the gorillas. During the allocated one hour, gorilla tourists are allowed to observe them closely, take photos without flashes and also lower their voices so as not to disturb the gorillas in their comfort zones.

How closest can I be to the Mountain Gorillas?

Authoritatively, you are restricted to be in a distance of or 7 meters or 27-foot from the mountain gorillas. However, in the real wild sense, the Mountain Gorillas repeatedly break up this regulation by moving closer to the visitor as he stands noiselessly seeing or snapping them. It is still useful to have a telephoto proficiency on the camera as some gorillas are fearful whereas the Silver back may possibly be very defensive of the young ones. Among the gorilla trekking guidelines, you are not permitted to touch by use hand the mountain gorillas, however easy it would be.

How dangerous are the Mountain Gorillas?

All wild animals are best considered possibly perilous and are taken as such, but Mountain Gorillas are not hostile unless are angered by people. Lots of people are amazed that the Mountain Gorillas tend to ignore the tourists in their midst completely. You should not get in between a mom gorilla and a young one or tease them, use a flash, make distracting noises or move quickly.

How old must you be to track Mountain Gorillas?

To trek mountain gorillas, one must be from 15 years of age and above. This is the same age restriction either in for gorilla tracking in Uganda or Rwanda. National Park Authorities in these countries will check for the permit holders the date of birth and year to ascertain eligibility to track gorillas.

Where can I stay nearby during the gorilla trekking safari?

There are quite several lodges and hotels in Rwanda and Uganda built the national parks. These accommodations in categories of budget, mid range and luxury are positioned at least in the distance of less than a kilometre or 1 – 20 kilometres from the park where gorilla trekking brief is done from. For the case of Rwanda, sleeping in Kigali and trek gorillas the next is very much possible as long as one wakes up very early to drive to the park. We use a selection of lodgings according to the visitors’ preferences and budget.

When is the best time to see and track Mountain Gorillas?

The best time to see mountain gorillas in Rwanda are usually the drier months of July to September and December to February. These are the most ideal periods for gorilla hiking. However, the rest of the periods of the year are equally good and better for gorilla tracking, be it in Rwanda or Uganda. Apart from the dry months, the rest of the months have higher rains but weather gears can be used to beat off the bad weather. In all cases, gorilla tracking experiences remain positively the same.

What is the difference between Lowland and Mountain Gorillas

Gorillas as a species are never boring to see their conducts both in detention and also in the wild. Nevertheless, the species and subspecies might at times cause some mix-up, mainly as far as their scientific names are concerned. There are two classes of these great primates, Eastern and Western gorillas. Mountain gorillas constitute one of the two subspecies of Eastern gorilla species. Furthermore, there are twofold lowland subspecies encompassed in the two core species well-known as Eastern lowland gorilla and Western lowland gorilla. Since this grouping itself can cause some mix-up, two of those subcategories (Mountain gorilla and Western lowland gorilla) are likened in this editorial following the shortened info about their features.

Mountain Gorilla

Mountain gorilla, Gorilla beringei beringei, is a big category of the Eastern gorilla species. In real fact, this is the major subspecies of the gorillas weighing up to over 220 kilograms for a silverback. According to the description of the silverback, a fully upright male measures in height about 190 centimeters. Mountain gorillas are characterized by a thick coat of hair as a cold climate adaptation in the high mountains with elevations of over 2,200 meters. The maximum highness recorded for mountain gorillas is 4,300 meters. The large bodies of gorillas would not allow abundant loss of warmth from the skin, as the exterior to size ration is smaller than the other groupings. Mountain gorillas are regularly recorded to live in around the gradients of the inactive volcanoes more frequently than not. Most of the primate species are communal animals and so the gorillas are exceedingly social creatures living in troops. Generally, mountain gorillas are vigorous throughout daylight and feed on a principally herbivorous or vegetarian diet.

The Lowland Gorilla

The Western Lowland gorilla, Gorilla gorilla gorilla, was a type of gorilla species that has been applied to define the first gorilla. Lowland gorillas live nearby the woodlands and swamp lands of western African nations. These gorillas are explicitly found around both primary and secondary forests in addition to the montane jungles and lowland swamps. Notwithstanding the fact that lowland gorillas could be found around numerous habitations, their populaces are not established at all as according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classification as Critically Endangered species. Nevertheless, Western lowland gorillas are slighter than others. Lowland silver-back males weigh up to around 180 kilograms whereas the females are much smaller. Moreover, lowland silver backs have a tallness measuring about 170 centimetres. Habitually, they live in family troops of roughly 5 to 7 adult females with their infants and adolescents controlled by a huge male and they feed through their habitat range.

The magnitude of a home range can differ among 3 and 18 square miles. One troop treks about 1 to 4 kilometres each day. In addition, the troops feed in zones with high quality foodstuffs have larger home ranges likened to others. Western lowland gorillas are primarily herbivorous, but they would not let the small reptiles and insects pass them. Therefore, they can be considered as omnivorous animals. Commonly, a silverback necessitates approximately 9 kilograms of food. They breed gradually as a female would be capable of producing a strong baby only after the age of nine years and the calving interlude is around five years like in elephants.

Mountain Gorilla and Lowland Gorilla: What are the differences?

  • Mountain gorilla is subspecies of Eastern gorilla whereas the Western lowland gorilla is a sub-specie of the Western gorilla.
  • Mountain gorillas occupy high elevations but the Western lowland gorillas inhabit in primary and secondary forests in both upland and lowland woodlands across their range.
  • Mountain gorillas have denser or thicker and darker hair in comparison to the Western lowland gorillas.
  • Mountain gorilla is the biggest subspecies but the Western lowland gorilla is the tiniest subspecies.
  • Mountain gorilla can stand much cold far better than the lowland gorillas.
  • Mountain gorillas are predominantly herbivorous but the lowland gorillas are omnivorous in their feeding lifestyles.

What else is there to see in Rwanda besides Mountain Gorillas?

Rwanda, known as the land of a Thousand Hills is a fine-looking, green, prosperous country. Rwanda is a becoming a tourists destination in East African. Besides mountain gorillas, Rwanda has chimpanzees plus several primates and monkey species in Nyungwe Forest.  While in Rwanda, you might desire to climb to Karisoke where Diane Fossey steered her original research about mountain gorillas or take a walk to see Golden Monkeys the Volcanoes Park forest. Other attractions in Rwanda include, the tour of the genocide memorial center in Kigali, nature and boat cruise experience on Lake Kivu, wildlife safaris in Akagera National Park plus several community and cultural tours across the country. The Rwanda genocide of 1994 is mightily remembered in a museum in Kigali and at other holocaust sites in the country. Tourists are advised to participate in these familiarization tours and study much about them.

What else is there to see in Uganda besides Mountain Gorillas?

Apart from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park where Uganda has Mountain gorillas, the country also boasts of more eight national parks and several games reserves with lots of wildlife to see. Take a vacation to Uganda for superb cultures, great wildlife parks with few other tourist attractions and outstanding bird watching. Uganda may possibly be one of the best safari destinations on the African continent for a huge diversity of bird species and uncountable birding safari territories.

Determined birders often see more than 400 species on a 12-14 day Uganda birding safari. Uganda also has many primate species you will most likely see as a supplementary while on a Mountain Gorilla safari or a wholesome birding safari. The Rwenzori Mountains and Mount Elgon call for more comprehensive climbing. Swamp habitats and Lake Victoria finest beach and holiday resorts also hold natural and cultural diversity among Uganda’s safari fascinations. 

Mountain Gorilla Trekking: Tips for a memorable experience.

  • Book your gorilla permit in advance to be 100% sure of enjoying gorilla trekking on your preferred date.
  • You will be with a guide in a group. Also, contemplate contracting a local porter for a small fee to help you if necessary. This enhances a great social dimension to the experience.
  • If possible, request tour the biggest gorilla group existing to make best use of the photo prospects and the diverse comportment you will see.
  • Get ready for the likelihood of rain at any period of year.
  • Dress long sleeves and pants and carry glove to guard against irritates and bristles.
  • Wear robust walking shoes, you will be off track in some rough topography.
  • Anticipate you might have a long trek. Be in the superlative bodily form.
  • Understand your camera properly; Camera machines with in-built video are very ideal for use. Telephoto ability helps.
  • Contemplate traveling with a confidant or friend with whom you will share the enduring commemoration of the gorilla encounter.
  • Pay attention to the guidance of your guide. Have a conviction that he or she actually wishes you to get abundant photos and have the best conceivable experience.