The Mountain Gorilla trekking experience
The mountain gorilla trekking experience is one to die for, unforgettable and life changing. People keep saying its only see the endangered mountain gorillas but I assure it’s much more than that, it’s the exploration of the forested mountains where these apes live, having one hour with the apes, facing trekking hurdles that turn out to be laughing moments and meeting new people while you are at.
Well that gives you a glimpse of the experience and here below we describe the experience from acquiring a mountain gorilla trekking permit to acquiring a mountain gorilla trekking certificate.
Your experience will start about three months prior to the trekking experience; you will have to book a mountain gorilla trekking permit from the tourism or wildlife authorities in the country you are planning to trek in. You should know that mountain gorilla trekking happens only in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo; trekking in each country gives a different feel of the trekking experience and permit prices also vary in the different countries so consult with your tour operator like Achieve Global safaris for information that will help you decide on which country you would like to trek in.
Well after booking your permit you will then prepare to take of the trekking experience, there isn’t much to prepare because any one who is fit can take on the on the different mountains. However if you feel you need too, it would be wise for you to have some little physical training to prepare your body for the upcoming challenge.
Then you also have to think about what to pack for the trekking experience; what we normally advise is pack comfort but moderately thick clothing for the trek because of the climb you need to have comfort clothing but also because it’s a forest you need a bit thick clothing that cannot be easily torn by tree stems or branches – long sleeved tops and trousers are usually okay.
For shoes you will need strong hiking shoes so that you take on the climb with getting many mishaps like falling and sliding off the trail among other things. You may also need to carry a hat or cap, rain coat, gloves and other things your feel are important to you. Since its post COVID-19 don’t forget to carry your mask and sanitizer because they are really important and can really determine your admission to the trek. Other things you may want to carry include cameras, note books among other things.
After you packing is done, you will then head to the country of trekking where you will arrive and your tour operator will receive you settle you into your accommodation and help you rest before you take on the trekking experience.
You should know that mountain gorilla trekking starts pretty early so it’s not possible for you to trek the day you arrive in the country; thus plan your itinerary to accommodate that detail.
Your tour operator will make sure you sleep near or within the mountain gorilla park so that you’re able to be up early to join the crew for the trekking experience. You will be up early the next morning have breakfast, pack a trekking snack and water if you need to and then head over to the trekking offices normally the park offices for a mountain gorilla trekking briefing.
The briefing marks the start of the trekking experience and it’s usually used to give you a glimpse of what to expect and also re-echo the dos and don’ts of the mountain trekking experience. The briefing will take about 30mins and when you are done you will be grouped into groups of 8 and then assigned a trekking ranger who will lead you this amazing trek.
You will then set out into the forest and depending on which park you are trekking, you may spend from 4 to 7 hours in the forest with only one hour spent with the mountain gorillas. You will use most of the time to trek the forest experiencing the different aspects of the forested mountain, seeing birds, unique trees and vegetation and several other creatures that make their home in the forest.
When you get to the mountain gorillas the ranger will guide you on what to do and you will use the one hour enjoying the company of the mountain gorillas and the surrounding. A group of 8 trekkers visits one mountain gorilla family, so you will spend your one hour with one mountain gorilla family.
After the one hour the trekking ranger will still guide you on how to leave the mountain gorillas’ presence without causing havoc and then you will trek back to the trekking offices. The slope down the mountain is easier than the climb and you done take as many breaks as you did on the climb up.
At the trekking offices this time you will share your experience, if you have questions or inquires also use the opportunity to share them, you will then been given trekking certificates and dismissed.
You will then reunite with you tour guide from your tour operator and continue with the rest of your trip. That will be your mountain gorilla trekking Safari.