Gorilla Trekking | Bwindi impenetrable forest | Uganda | Rwanda
Gorilla trekking is an exhilarating and unique experience offered in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Here’s some information to help you understand and plan for gorilla trekking
What is Gorilla Trekking
Gorilla trekking involves hiking through the forest to locate and observe habituated gorilla groups in their natural habitat. It offers a chance to witness these incredible primates up close and learn about their behavior, social structure, and conservation efforts.
Gorilla trekking requires a permit, which must be obtained in advance. Permits are limited and in high demand, so it’s recommended to secure them well in advance through the Uganda Wildlife Authority or Monumental Expeditions and Safaris. Each permit allows you to spend a limited time (usually one hour) with a specific gorilla group.
Visitors are divided into small groups, typically consisting of a maximum of eight individuals, to trek with a trained guide and trackers. Group allocation is done based on fitness levels and preferences, and efforts are made to match visitors with gorilla groups that suit their abilities.
Gorilla trekking can be physically demanding as it involves hiking through steep and uneven terrain, sometimes in dense vegetation. The duration and difficulty of the trek can vary depending on the location of the gorilla group on that particular day. It’s important to be prepared with comfortable hiking boots, appropriate clothing, and a reasonable level of fitness.
Once allocated to a gorilla group, you set off on a guided trek into the forest. Guides and trackers follow the gorilla group’s previous day’s movements to locate them. The trek can range from a few hours to a full day, depending on the gorilla group’s location. Once found, you will spend a precious hour in their presence, observing and photographing them from a respectful distance.
Rules and Regulations
To ensure the safety of both visitors and gorillas, there are strict rules and regulations to follow during gorilla trekking. These include maintaining a minimum distance of 7 meters (21 feet) from the gorillas, avoiding direct eye contact, not using flash photography, and refraining from eating or drinking in their presence.
Sustainability and Conservation
Gorilla trekking permits contribute to the conservation efforts of protecting the gorillas and their habitat. The revenue generated from permits is used for conservation initiatives, anti-poaching measures, community development projects, and raising awareness about the importance of gorilla conservation.
Gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to engage with these remarkable creatures in their native habitat while also helping to their long-term conservation. During the walk, it is critical to follow the instructions issued by the authorities and to respect the gorillas’ well-being and normal behaviour.