Uganda is home to over half of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas, making it the perfect destination for gorilla trekking. Gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that allows you to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. If you are planning a gorilla trekking trip to Uganda, here is a guide to help you prepare and make the most out of your experience.
When to Go
The best time to go gorilla trekking in Uganda is during the dry season, which runs from June to September and from December to February.
During the dry season, the trails are less muddy, making it easier to hike through the dense forest to find the gorillas. However, gorilla trekking can be done year-round, and the rainy season can also have its advantages, such as lower fees, fewer tourists, and more lush vegetation.
Permits and Fees
A gorilla trekking permit is required to trek with the gorillas in Uganda. The permit costs $700 per person and allows you to spend one hour with the gorillas.
The fees go towards the conservation and protection of the gorillas and their habitat. It is recommended to book your permit in advance, as there are only a limited number of permits available each day.
Choosing a Tour Company
There are many tour companies in Uganda that offer gorilla trekking packages. When choosing a tour company, make sure that they are licensed by the Uganda Tourism Board and have experience in gorilla trekking.
A reputable tour company will ensure that you have a knowledgeable guide, comfortable accommodations, and transportation to and from the park.
Preparing for the Trek
Gorilla trekking requires physical fitness, as the hike can be challenging and can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 8 hours, depending on the location of the gorillas. It is recommended to do some physical exercise prior to your trip to prepare for the trek.
You should also wear comfortable hiking shoes, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants to protect against stinging nettles and other vegetation. On a rainy day, some sectors will require you to have a 4WD car. Therefore always remember that a 4WD car is an essential on these trips.
During the Trek
On the day of the trek, you will meet with your guide and be briefed on the dos and don’ts of gorilla trekking. You will then be assigned to a group of up to eight people, and the trek will begin. Your guide will lead you through the dense forest, pointing out various flora and fauna along the way.
Once the gorillas are located, you will spend one hour with them, observing their behavior and taking photos. It is important to keep a distance of at least 7 meters from the gorillas to ensure their safety and to minimize the risk of disease transmission.
Other Wildlife and Activities
Uganda is home to a diverse range of wildlife, and while gorilla trekking is the main attraction, there are other wildlife experiences to be had. Other primates such as chimpanzees, baboons, and colobus monkeys can be found in the parks.
There are also opportunities to go on game drives to see elephants, lions, and other wildlife. Additionally, there are cultural experiences such as visiting local villages and learning about the traditional way of life.
Here is the total sum of the matter. Gorilla trekking is a unique and unforgettable experience that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Uganda is the perfect destination for gorilla trekking, with its dense forests and half of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas.
By following this guide and planning ahead, you can ensure that your gorilla trekking experience is safe, comfortable, and truly memorable.