Gorilla trekking is one of the most famous safari activities with in Rwanda and Uganda. The population of mountain gorillas is less than 900 individuals according to the last census that was conducted in Bwindi impenetrable national park, Volcanoes National park, Mgahinga National park and Virunga National Park. It has also been observed that this population has increased and thanks to the conservation efforts of many nongovernmental and government support. All these areas are safe for the tourists and gorillas unlike with minimal or no poaching incidences reported due to the alternative sources of incomes that are available to communities in the area due to the increased revenues from the gorilla tourism.
These mountain gorillas are often found in the under growth feeding on the vegetation as they rest and or groom each other. The leader of each of the gorilla family is a silverback which is very protective of its family, if frustrated it will grunt and beat its chest before moving off with the females, offspring and mature males.
In order to enjoy the experience of gorilla trekking, you also need to prepare starting with choice of a tour operator to plan the entire safari, lodges and buy the gorilla permits. The minimum age for trekking gorillas is 15 years. You require purchasing your permit much earlier especially if you want a specific date because only 8 people can trek a gorilla family per day.
With in Uganda, gorilla trekking takes place within Bwindi impenetrable National Park and in Mgahinga National Park. Uganda has got 12 gorilla families that are available for trekking. Tracking gorillas in Bwindi is different from that of Mgahinga since the nature of land scape differs. Bwindi is a rain forest with thick under growth and varying land scape, you will have adventures of both uphill and downhill on your hike before locating the gorillas. Bwindi is divided into different sectors each with a number of gorilla families. Before you book your lodge it is important to know which sector you will track because the location is quite far apart. The sectors are Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga sectors.
Within Mgahinga, the mountain gorillas are found in the mid vegetation on the Virunga volcanoes of Mt Muhabura most especially with in the open areas of the bamboo zone. The gorilla family used to go back and forth to Rwanda and these keep on moving.
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is carried out from Volcanoes National Park. This national park has got great scenery and good sightings of the mountain gorillas for all those seeking to trek these great Apes with in this area. This is also the setting for the famous gorillas in the mist which was a movie about Dian Fossey’s work of conservation of these primates.
There are many gorilla trekking tips that are to be followed in both Uganda and Rwanda , since these countries have got unpredictable climate, carry rain gears, insect repellent, the recommended clothing’s is long trousers and long sleeved sweaters or shirts while in the forest to avoid the insect and plant stings, you must also have sturdy hiking boots, drinking water and snacks, cameras for photography, the porters will be provided but at a cost, you must not be sick, and many more.