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How physically demanding is gorilla trekking 2024?

How fit do you have to be to track gorillas in the wild? In this series of essays about mountain gorilla trekking, we share insights from over 15 years of arranging trips in Uganda and Rwanda.

One of the most often asked questions we receive is “How physically demanding is gorilla trekking?” Gorilla trekking provides a one-of-a-kind blend of excitement, connection with nature, conservation, and personal growth that appeals to both the young and the young at heart. The minimum age for tracking gorillas is 15, but there is no higher restriction.

Here are a few factors to help you plan effectively:

The physical demands of gorilla trekking vary depending on a number of circumstances, including the geographical area, the gorilla family being visited, the weather, and your physical health. In general, gorilla trekking ranges from moderately to severely physically demanding. However, with the proper equipment and support crew, practically anyone can hike the gorillas.

What’s the terrain like?

The trail passes through deep forests and tough terrain, with many steep hills, uneven footing, heavy foliage, and muddy or slippery surfaces. Navigating such terrain can take a high degree of athleticism, balance, and agility (but don’t worry, you don’t have to pump iron to be fit!)

What altitude are the gorillas?

Mountain gorillas dwell at high altitudes, as their name implies. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda (home to the world’s largest population of mountain gorillas) has elevations ranging from 1,160 to 2,706 metres.

Walking at higher altitudes can occasionally result in shortness of breath and weariness. Dehydration can also be an issue, so bring two liters of drinking water along with your munchies. (You’ll be astonished how thirsty you become!)

How long does the trek take?

Rangers will try their best to connect you with a gorilla family that suits your fitness level and interests. Trekking may range from short, simple climbs of an hour to longer, more challenging excursions of three or more hours – and that’s before you spend an hour with the gorillas. Typically, gorilla trekking takes around half a day (including the trip back to your car).

What weather can we expect?

As you may expect, rain is fairly prevalent in the jungle. Weather conditions might vary from hot and humid to chilly and damp. Adapting to these situations necessitates appropriate attire.

What help can you get?

All mountain gorilla trekking is planned and overseen by trained rangers, who are assisted by porters (and our own driving guides, of course).

Monumental Expeditions and Safaris driver guides have tracked gorillas several times and are well-equipped to advise you on what to carry in your day bag. They will also ensure you have plenty of water and can assist you with organising walking poles, for example.

The wildlife rangers will give you a briefing at the meeting location. Here you may hire a porter (or two). They may be really useful for carrying your goods and assisting you in navigating difficult sections of the route, alleviating some of the physical strain.

For those who want a little more assistance, don’t be bashful; it is even possible to be carried up the mountain on a basic chair-type (or’stretcher’ in local jargon). What began as a community-run emergency service has grown into a secure and comfortable option for elderly or less-able tourists to see the gorillas. This is one of the numerous additional services that our skilled travel advisors may provide.

What Monumental Expeditions and Safaris has to say?

Monumental Expeditions and Safaris has extensive experience accommodating a broad range of fitness levels and demands, so if you’re interested in gorilla trekking but have worries about fitness or any other issue, be assured that we’ve already responded to hundreds of similar inquiries. We can advise your clients on the finest possibilities and help them make an educated decision about whether gorilla trekking is right for them.

 

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