Have you always dreamed of visiting the wild to meet gorillas in their natural habitat? It is fully possible with Gorilla trekking, an outdoor activity wherein you hike through the jungles of Africa to visit mountain gorillas.
Mountain gorillas are an endangered species, but thanks to the tourism revenues raised from all the tourists visiting them, funds were set up for their protection. Your dream of visiting our ape friends can actually help keep them alive.
Gorilla trekking is conducted all year round in Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda. This is one of the highlights for tourists visiting these places. If you want to plan a gorilla trek, here are some of the things you need to do first:
– Pack Lightly but Appropriately
Gorilla trekking in Uganda can be tiresome when you have a lot of stuff with you. That’s why you need only to pack the essential items. Some of the important stuff you should put in your bag are your water bottle, snacks, insect repellants, cameras with no flash, waterproof hiking boots, waterproof daypacks, rain jackets or ponchos, binoculars, long-sleeved shirts, trousers, sweaters, sunglasses, a hat, first aid kit, and many others.
– Wear Comfortable Clothes
You’re going on a trek, so you must wear comfortable clothes. Avoid wearing tight-fitting or flashy clothes that will attract attention. Try to go for long-sleeved shirts or T-shirts, rain jackets, trousers, and boots.
– Secure Your Gorilla Permit Before the Day of the Trek
Hundreds of tourists every month come to Uganda to visit the gorillas. Securing a gorilla permit may take weeks or even months. Due to the high demand for gorilla permits, you should secure one at least six months before you plan your trek, especially if you plan to visit around June to September.
Gorilla permits cost $600 per person for foreign non-residents, $500 for foreign residents, and UGX 250000 for East African residents. You can get one through a trustworthy ground tour operator in Uganda or through a reservation office at the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). In case you want to try the gorilla habituation experience, you need $1500 to secure your permit.
– Exercise Before the Trek
Trekking is a rigorous and tiresome activity. You need to be physically fit before the trek, so you need to train yourself beforehand. It’s also best to visit your doctor to make sure that you are safe to trek in the African wilderness.
Usually, a gorilla trek in Uganda can last 6 hours. You will hike through the dense vegetation and steep slopes in search of these mountain gorillas. Since gorillas live in high elevations, you need to have adequate water and energy snacks. Don’t forget your walking stick to help you while hiking.
You can get a walking stick at the park headquarters. If you did bring heavy luggage, a porter could carry your things for you so you can enjoy your trek. You can hire porters at $10-$20.
Before trekking, you will be briefed on the rules and regulations. You need to listen carefully to these instructions to avoid untoward incidents. Secure your permit, bring adequate food and water, and wear comfortable clothes.
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