How is it to ?
Travelling/Touring to see these gentle giants (mountain gorillas) has become an incredible dream for most of the Gorilla trackers/ travelers to Africa. Different people have rapidly written and told stories regarding gorilla tracking being an unforgettable experience which brings you in contact with these gentle giants in their natural homes. And these stories keep morale boosting more and more travelers to come and also do Gorilla Tracking and also causing them wonder how this safari can be from beginning to the end with Africa’s largest Apes that were on the closeness of extinction in 1980.
Wake up Early and attend the Briefing
Gorilla tracking briefing takes place at the Uganda Wildlife Authority(UWA) park offices from 7.45 am and the tracking activity usually starts at 8.30 am. Some gorilla families are much easier to be tracked compared to others; this is determined mostly by the altitude they range, or how long they move during the day. Usually it takes 1 – 3 hrs tracking time and be able to find your gorilla family (when briefing you the family they gave you to track).
Have your Gorilla permit with you?
Carry your Mountain Gorilla Permits with you as you travel plus other related documents for further clarifications. From Uganda(UWA), Rwanda (RDB)-Rwanda Development Board and DRC(ICCN)-Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation, only responsible government organs to give you these permits, these permit prices vary having Rwanda selling so expensively ($1500), Uganda at $600 and DRC with $450.In Uganda this permit will have /indicate the section at which you will track from to show that a tracker booked a family Gorilla in that specific section (Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhiji & Nkuringo).
Tracking the Gorillas/meeting the Gorillas
Having hiked a lengthy distance, you will finally meet these gentle giants, find them relaxed in their families, spend 1 hr with them. All your fatigue, panting and sweating due to the hiking will disappear into excitement and joy when you look into the eyes of a dominant silverback guarding its entire family. Observe all the rules and regulations that were given to you like keep calm, be silent, don’t touch these gentle giants. Distance of 7m must be kept to avoid the spread of the communicable diseases to these Mountain Gorillas. Watch the silverback that is the head of the family, with adult females nursing the young ones while the Juveniles entertaining the family, keeping it live and enjoyable. You can as well stand a distance and take photos as many as you can but non- flash light cameras are the only ones allowed for taking photos.
Hire Porters & Hiking Sticks
The key factors you must look into for an enjoyable and successful trek. Porters help out on relieving you from the burden of carrying luggage instead you are free to enjoy your tracking activity. The walking sticks do help out to ease movement on the steepy slopes where hiking becomes hard. These 2 (Porters and walking sticks) are gotten from the headquarters at a relatively friendly price pointing at the indirect support of the local communities adjacent to the park.
How to dress for the Jungle
Dressing appropriately for the jungle is very paramount for a successful gorilla tracking experience. Wear good light & waterproof hiking boots for easy movement in slippery muddy grounds, Sturdy gardening gloves to grab the bushes for support and the rain jackets for the uncertain forest weather. Also, long socks tacked into trousers, long-sleeved shirts, sweaters. Insect repellents, hat, sunglasses, and waterproof bags, etc. A tracker dressed well is assured of a memorable gorilla tracking experience.
Hiking into the Jungle
Immediately after the briefing you do hiking in search for the Mountain Gorillas. Each group of trackers is headed by an armed ranger and a park guide, It’s quiet hard an activity and rather using great effort hiking via slippery muddy grounds with thorny bushes and cold weather inside the dark forests. Hiking takes 30 minutes -1 hr basing on the way these gentle giants move and how they are still located but with 99% surety to meet them. Still Hiking gives you chance to view other animals like Monkeys, Baboons, etc. and many different birds which enables you have an enjoyable & memorable experience. All trackers are advised to stay in their groups and keenly be right behind/follow their guides/rangers since scattering away from the group can get you lost in the jungle which is so dangerous to one’s life.