What is gorilla trekking? This can be defined as the long walk to search for gorillas. Gorilla trekking and gorilla tracking mean the same. Mountain gorilla trekking can only be done in three countries in the world and that is Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic republic of Congo. The total number of the endangered mountain gorilla species is about 1000 with half being found in Uganda. The endangered mountain gorillas can be found in the Virunga conservation ranges across three countries and in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. All gorilla groups are dominated by a giant male known as a Silverback. They move from one place to another searching for food and shelter hence making the trekking a little hard. Gorillas share 98% of human genes and can contract human diseases. This is the reason as to why you should always try to keep a distance from this endangered species of primates while on your gorilla tours. People with infections are not allowed to trek gorillas. Gorilla often eat bamboo shoot, stems, leaves, foliage and fruits. They are flexible and can live in a variety of habitats. Uganda boasts with the highest concentration of primates in the world most especially mountain gorillas. If you would like to encounter a gorilla habituation experience or normal gorilla tracking, Focus East Africa Tours is the way to go. See some of our gorilla trekking packages below.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in Uganda is endowed with half population of mountain gorillas. There are 11 habituated gorilla groups on Bwindi and these include; Nkuringo group, Bitukura group, Rushegura group, Habiyanja group, Kahungye group, Oruzogo group, Bweza group, Mubare group, Mishaya group, Kyaguliro group and Nshongi group. These groups are distributed in Ruhijja, Nkuringo, Rushaga and Buhoma areas. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has got one gorilla group. This used to move between Congo, Rwanda and Uganda but they have recently settled in Uganda.
Volcanoes National Park gorilla groups are divided into two; for research and tourism purposes. The research gorilla family groups that can only be accessed by scientists and researchers are; Beetsme gorilla family, Shida gorilla family and Pablo’s gorilla family. The other groups that can be seen by tourists are; Amahoro group, Susa group, Umubano group, Karisimbi group, Kwitonda group, Sabyinyo group, Hirwa group, group 13, Ugenda group and Bwenge group.
There are eight habituated gorilla groups in Congo for tourism purposes namely; Mapuwa group, Lulengo group, Kabirizi group, Rugendo group, Humba group, Munyaga group, Bageni group and Nyakamwe group. Tourists planing for gorilla trekking should be well equipped with hiking boots, rain coats, cotton clothing, insect repellents, snacks, walking sticks and water. Though not compulsory, most gorilla trekkers tip their potters or guides after the experience. This is a way of appreciation for the work done. When planing to visit Africa for gorilla trekking, tourists must book in advance because you will most likely not find a permit if you want to book on arrival.
Gorilla Trekking in Africa
Gorilla trekking in Africa can only be done after obtaining a gorilla permit from any of the countries where gorillas are found. In Congo the permits go for $400, in Uganda $600 and in Rwanda they cost $1500. The best time to come for gorilla trekking is from June to October and December to February when the hiking paths are not slippery and in good condition.
While doing gorilla trekking in Uganda, tourists can combine this safari with chimpanzee trekking or golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga National Park, alternatively they can explore Uganda’s other national parks like Queen Elizabeth National Park to encounter the country’s abundant wildlife.