How hard is mountain gorilla trekking?
How hard is mountain gorilla trekking? : Before someone makes up their mind on whether to go gorilla trekking, it is common to ask how hard it is. Mountain gorilla trekking is a fun and adventurous activity that requires a moderate level of fitness as it requires walking long distances for hours looking for the gorillas. It is estimated that the activity takes 6 to 9 hours and this amount of time can be really exhausting if one is not physically fit enough.
Each mountain gorilla trekking park comes with its own difficulties. Bwindi National Park for example has rivers and streams plus it is generally an impenetrable forest. Mgahinga National park comes with a fair share of a higher altitude, mist and bamboo forests.
Trekkers have to also endure insects and the unpredictable rainfall in any of the parks. It is important to note that there are no permanent path signs taken during the trek. This is because it is hard to predict where the gorillas had a goodnight sleep. Altitude sickness may also be a problem to some travelers due to the high altitudes of 2500 to 3000 meters because the higher the altitude, the thinner the air and the greater the demand on the lungs.
It is advisable to start doing exercise way before your trekking trip in order to gain fitness levels to lessen the altitude effects and the general difficulty of the trekking activity by the time of your trip. Most trekkers’ book their trekking permits about 6 months before and this is just enough time to get your fitness levels right. Exercises like stretching which helps to prevent unnecessary injuries, walking and hiking before your gorilla trek will do the magic.
Fitness however should not deter you from a gorilla trekking experience. At the gorilla trekking parks, it is possible to obtain hiking sticks, porters and sedan chairs. The hiking sticks are given free of charge at the beginning of the trek whereas the porters and the sedan chairs come at a cost of about $500. Arrangements can also be made for you to have a shorter and easier trek if you are unfit or elderly. Booking early is paramount if such arrangements are to be made.
Prepare well for your tour in order to have a memorable and less tiring experience. Park a long-sleeved shirt, trouser, insect repellents, hiking boots, hiking stick if you have one, sun glasses and hat for the sun, rain jacket in case of unpredictable rain, a snack in case of a longer trek and water in a water bottle to keep you refreshed and well dehydrated. Booking accommodation near the trekking area also comes in handy. You will be able to save the energy you could have used for walking or driving to the trekking park to do the actual trekking.
You can also opt to go gorilla trekking in the dry season which is way less muddy making the terrain easier to trek. This however means reserving your permit 6 to 12 months prior to the trip because the dry is the peak season (July to September and December to February).
Even with the difficulty gorilla trekking presents, it is a very amazing and a memorable activity that everyone should think of experiencing. A part from seeing the gorillas, you will spot birds, spectacular scenery of the parks: the various wildlife in the forest and the other primates like the red tail monkeys along the way.
When well prepared, gorilla trekking becomes easier and you will realize the effort is worth it. The very landscape that is sometimes difficult maneuver is one of the amazing things of the experience.