How to Prepare for a gorilla Safari

Preparing for Gorilla Safaris

Are you planning for gorilla safaris in either Uganda or Rwanda or DRC? Or are you wondering where to go for gorilla trekking? Mandela Safari Holidays is here to take you through the process of preparing for gorilla safaris. For years, gorilla trekking experience is among the most selling safari activities in Africa. Many people leave their beautiful homes, jobs and come and spare some good time with these apes in their natural habitat deep into the forest. Every day, hundreds of travelers check into Uganda, Rwanda and Congo purposely to have a close encounter with these endangered apes. It is important to note that mountain gorillas can only survive in their natural habitats. All gorillas in zoos are lowland gorillas.

Below are some of the ways of preparing for gorilla safaris.

Choose where to go for gorilla trekking.

After getting the idea of trekking the endangered apes, you must think first where to go gorilla trekking. Gorilla trekking is only done in three African countries namely; Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In Uganda gorilla trekking happens in Bwindi impenetrable and Mgahinga national park. In Rwanda these apes are trekked in Volcanoes national park. Whereas in DRC gorilla trekking is done in Virunga national park. Each destination offers a unique gorilla trekking experience and worth visiting, and each country charges differently for gorilla permit. In Uganda a gorilla trekking permit costs $700. In Rwanda its costs $1500 while in DRC you get a gorilla permit for $400.  If you are a primate enthusiast, you can decide to trek gorillas in either one or more countries.

Check the availability of gorilla permits and book

Only eight members trek a gorilla family in Uganda and Rwanda. Whereas 6 people in Virunga national park of DRC.  For this reason, gorilla permits sell out fast especially in the high season months. They sell on first come first serve basis. So after confirming the gorilla trekking destination, check the availability of gorilla permits in your travel dates. The responsible government bodies to contact for gorilla permits are Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Virunga Park management  in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo respectively. Alternatively, you can use the tour agent organizing your safari to check for you availability of gorilla permits. Each day, Rwanda has 80-gorilla permit ready to receive trekkers. On the other hand, Uganda has 144 permits while Congo has 64 gorilla permits available each day.

It is good to book your gorilla permit at 2-3 months prior to your gorilla trekking dates to avoid disappointments. If you need to stay with the gorillas for more hours, you can choose to book gorilla habituation experience.  The activity last for 4 hours, a single gorilla habituation permit costs $1500 per person.

Work on your physical fitness

Physical fitness is one of the key factors one needs in order to have a successful gorilla trekking adventure. This is because of the fact that Mountain gorillas live in areas of high altitude. Therefore needs some hiking before meeting them. Also some gorilla families tend to be far from the starting point, so in this case physical fitness is very important.

Know what to carry/pack for your gorilla trekking 

Knowing what to pack for your gorilla trekking adventure is very important. This is to make sure that you have all the essentials necessary for this adventure.  We give you a guide on what to carry for gorilla trekking in  Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Below are some o the most important items fro your gorilla trekking adventure.

  • Insect repellant
  • First aid kit
  • Rain jacket
  • Sweaters and Scarf
  • Energy giving snacks
  • Hiking/trekking boots
  • Gardening gloves
  • Long sleeved shirts/blouses
  • Long pants
  • Sun glasses
  • Hat

Health Checks

All travelers should visit hospitals and health centers for medical checkup before going for gorilla trekking. These endangered mountain gorillas are vulnerable to human diseases especially cough and flu. In conclusion, anybody showing signs of the above might be denied to go gorilla trekking for the safety of both parties.

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