GORILLA TREKKING IN AFRICA
Gorilla Trekking in Africa is the most magical wild life encounter according to the people that have seen gorillas. You can reward yourself or your loved one with this experience. Penetrating into Africa’s tropical forests to meet the largest living primates in their natural habitat is the most extraordinary breathtaking experience that you don’t have to miss in a life time. We make planning of Africa Gorilla safari easy, Gorilla trekking is our best animal encounter and it is our passions helping other people meet these giant great apes. We organize the most wholesome and rewarding Gorilla trekking safaris in Africa we cater / advise on all that you can think of when planning a gorilla trekking safari like gorilla trekking permit, accommodation, transportation, safety, Visa and other travel expenses.
Interesting Facts about Gorillas
- Gorillas are gentle giant great apes and they are the largest living primates,
- Gorillas have human like behaviors and emotions like laughter and sadness they give each other nose to nose greeting and gestures as a way of embracing each other.
- Gorillas share 98.3 % genetic code with humans. They are human closed relatives after Chimpanzees and Bonobos.
- Gorillas live in families (troop) of about 6 to 30 individuals with home distance of 4 to 25 square kilometer; each family is headed by a male sliver back. Sliver back schedules the family trips and the resting time like any head of the family and defends his family members
- Gorillas spend about 14 hours feeding and 10 hours resting and playing each day. During resting hours young gorillas young gorillas engage in play, tickling one another as parents watch their play resembles wrestling in humans and make sounds like laughter
- Adult Gorilla can consume 27kg of food a day
- Gorillas are nomadic in nature they construct nests to sleep in at the end of each day ,every morning they move out of their nests and travel to a new location while feeding and they end the day by constructing a new nest using the vegetation around them.
- A gorilla has a life span of 35 to 40 years. At 13 years a male Gorilla starts to gain the sliver tint at his back marking the start of his adult hood and begin separating from the parents to form his own troop. The females become mature at the age of 8 and ready to produce and they transfer to the another troop, female Gorillas give birth once in about 4 to 6 years and they produce 3 or 4 times in their entire life. The first troop a female produces for becomes her permanent family.
- Male Gorillas use female’s odor to determine her productive status
- Mothers are closely bonded to the young ones and the breast feed their babies for the first 3 years of life there after the babies start feeding on vegetarian diet.
- Male gorillas are larger than females a grown up male Gorilla weighs between 150 -230 kg with height of about 6 feet a mature female gorillas on the other hand weighs 90-100kg with the height of about 5 feet.
- Gorillas are distinguished from one another by the shape and wrinkles of their nose and their naming is based on this fact.
- Gorillas have senses similar to those of humans like seeing, hearing, tasting ,touching ,smelling and seeing
- Gorillas rely more on vision than smell however they have a good sense of smell and they can detect odors like human sweat and musk of unknown gorilla or any unusual smell in their environment
- Gorillas are predominantly herbivores and their meals include roots, shoots, fruit, wild celery, tree bark, leaves and pulp which is provided for in the their habitat but sometimes they have been seen eating insects and small animals like lizards and rodents
- Gorillas are Ground dwellers buts sometimes they climb trees to get fruits, berries and leaves that cannot be accessed on the ground
- Gorilla’s hair protects them from insect bites and keeps them warm especially important for the mountain Gorillas that live in Virunga Mountains which tend to be very cold during the night.
- During cold or rainy days Gorillas do not move long distances they stay more close to each other warming themselves.
- Gorillas are considered 3rd most intelligent animals almost close to humans and Dolphins the level of Gorillas intelligence is not known but some Gorillas in captivity have been trained in human language and it has been successful
- Gorillas do not have identifiable language like humans but they are able to communicate to each other it is estimated that they have more than 20 languages and they seem to respond to un common noises that are not part of their usual environment
- Gorillas are shy and humble beings but they can show aggressive behaviors most especially making noise if they feel that they are under threat
- Gorillas do not like being directly stared at for a long time they consider it as assign of aggression.
- Gorillas don’t like touches from each other but mothers often groom the young ones and sometimes groom their silverbacks gorilla glooming involves cleaning of the hair removing dust, leaves, dirt and insects
- The name Gorilla was derived by Carthsginian an explorer who traveled along the west coast of Africa in about 2500 years ago, indigenous people shared the names of the hairy person (Gorilla) then he pronounced the word as Gorilla hence the name Gorilla.
- Due Gorillas big size, Gorillas have a few predators that include big cats like leopards and Odd Crocodile most especially the Cross River Gorillas.
- During resting hours young gorillas young gorillas engage in play, tickling one another as parents watch their play resembles wrestling in humans and make sounds like laughter
Types of African Gorillas
The first documented research about Gorillas was done in 1959 by George Schaller,and he wrote a book called THE YEAR OF THE GORILLA. Describing them as gentle creatures This book dispelled many myths that were attached to Gorillas such as bloody thirsty forest monsters by DU Chaillu in 1860s, Pygmy tribesmen by scientific literature during 1600sand many other ancient explorers and African Tribes that described gorillas as primitive hairy people, Human –like apes and many movies that had described gorillas as un tamed animals
This was followed by Dian Fossey who started her study and research about Gorillas and conserving them in 1963.In 1983 she published a book (Gorillas in the mist) and in 1986 a movie was played based on her book which brought gorilla conservation as world concern.
Gorillas’ classification is mainly based on the region they occupy
Gorillas are classified into 2 species
1.Eastern Gorilla (Gorilla Berengei)
Eastern Gorillas are found in the Jungles of East and central Africa They is less common compared to the western Gorilla. Eastern gorillas are found in Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo
Eastern Gorilla is further divided into two sub species of Eastern Low land Gorilla and Mountain Gorilla these two species have a slight difference in appearance
Mountain gorillas (Gorilla Beringei Beringei) Mountain Gorillas inhabit the high altitude tropical forests of, Rwanda, and Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (around the Virunga volcanoes) they are the rarest gorilla specie and they can only be found in these 3 countries in the whole world not even in the zoo. Mountain Gorillas are the most endangered Gorilla species.
According to the current Virunga mountain Gorilla census of May 2018 conducted in the Mountain Gorilla habitat of Mgahinga National park ,Volcanoes National park and Virunga National park (Virunga Volcanoes) there are 604 mountain Gorillas living in these National parks which brought the total number of mountain Gorillas to 1004 with Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest inhibiting 400 individuals and the census in Bwindi impenetrable forest is under way to establish the exact number currently.
The eastern lowland gorillas (Gorilla Brengei Graueri
Eastern low land gorillas inhibit the tropical forests of Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Their number is estimated to be 5000 individuals. Eastern Low land Gorillas are under threat of becoming extinct with their main threat being loss of habitat due to deforestation and being hunted by humans, part of the Eastern Low land Gorillas’ territory has been taken over due to civil unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the recent years however this part is now safe
2. Western Gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla)
Western Gorillas inhibit the tropical jungles and forests as well as the low land swamps of the western and central Africa. Western Gorillas are the most common and big in number however they are considered to be critically endangered due to less effort in conserving them and much of their habitat has been deforested and taken over by humans.
The two species of the western gorilla are differentiated by their skull and tooth sizes and these include Western low land Gorilla and Cross River Gorilla.
The western lowland gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla)
Western Low land gorillas inhabit the tropical forests of Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, Congo, and Equatorial Guinea and western low land gorilla is the most common species that is found in the zoo and their wild number is estimated to be 100,000 individuals.
The Cross River gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Diedhli)
Cross River Gorillas inhabit a small area between Nigeria and Cameroon across the lowland montanne and rain forests. Cross River Gorillas are critically endangered gorilla specie due to loss of habitat and human hunting with about 280 individuals living in the wild.
There are no Gorillas in most known African Safari Destinations like South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Rwanda and Uganda are the best destinations to see the Gorillas specifically Mountain Gorillas, Rwanda is considered to be the luxury Gorilla safari destination due to good roads, high Gorilla permit fees ($1500) and short distance from Kigali International airport to Volcanoes National park.
Uganda is known to be all inclusive Gorilla safari destination, safe and cost effective due to the hospitable people, stable state politically, fair permit fees ($700 from July 2020 form current price of $600), and other Uganda famous national parks like Murchison falls National park, Kibale National park also known as a primate capital forest,Queen Elizabeth National park and the source of the Nile River Uganda also has more than have number of mountain Gorillas living the whole world
Democratic republic of Congo is good destination because it has two Gorilla types Mountain Gorilla and eastern lowland Gorilla however due to civil unrest and Ebola outbreak in recent years a few people have visited Congo but currently it is safe to see Gorillas in Congo.
How much does a gorilla trekking permit cost.
A Gorilla trekking permit in Uganda for both parks of Bwindi Impenetrable forest and Mgahinga National park in the great Virunga Volcanoes is $600 however the price has been increased to $700 staring 1st July 2020 this price is for foreign Nonresidents.
Then $500 for foreign Residents and this has also been increased to $600 starting 1st July 2020
East African citizens pay 250000 Ugandan shillings
Uganda also has a unique Gorilla experience called Gorilla habituation experience .The permit fees for Gorilla habituation experience is $1500 per person for 4 hours of gorillas viewing .During Gorilla habituation guests take part in getting gorillas get used to humans.
A gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park cost $1500. Rwanda Doubled gorillas trekking permit in 2018 from$700 to $1500
The price for a gorilla permit in Rwanda is applicable to any one including Rwandan citizens
A Gorilla permit in Democratic of Congo costs $400 for one hour of Gorilla viewing both in Virunga National park and eastern low land Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National park.it is the cheapest Gorilla destination.
A gorilla Trekking permit is valid for a single day per person for one hour of Gorilla viewing excluding the time spent in before meeting the gorillas
What is included in the Gorilla Trekking Permit?
Gorilla trekking permit includes park entrance, ranger/guide fees and Gorilla trekking certificate
The price excludes potters fees, tips, and stretcher fees.
How long do I have to book Gorillas trekking Safari
The number of people allowed to visit each gorilla family is limited to a maximum of 8 people per day this is to limit the behavior disturbance of the gorillas and prevention of disease translation .Therefore the permits are limited and competitive
It is recommended that you book a gorilla trekking safari at least from 2years in advance especially for big groups and for high season moths of June, July, august, September sometimes October and then December and January to avoid any inconvenience and missing of the gorilla permit
And at most 3 or 2 months in low season months and for small group of people, however depending on the luck of the day you can send us gorilla permit availability check inquiry any time you feel like meeting these giant apes
What is required to Book a gorilla trekking permit or Gorilla trekking safari
One should be above 15 years of age
Confirmed date of Gorilla trekking .the permit has to be purchased for specific date
Valid passport/Identity card for Foreign Residents and East African Citizens
Visa of the country that you want to track gorillas from
What should I pack when going for Gorilla trekking safari?
- Good Hiking shoes
- Rain gears
- Camera (photo graphs are allowed but without flash light)
- Mosquito repellent
- Gloves Long pants and shits
- Warm clothes especially if visiting in rain months
- Small day backpack
- Sunscreen especially if you are visiting in dry season
- You may need Insect repellent most especially mosquitoes
- You many need a hat to protect your hair or head when moving through the thorns
- A pair of garden gloves to protect you from a thorny vegetation
- You can park a folding walking stick from home but local wooden walking sticks are available at the briefing point.
Gorilla trekking rules
- Gorilla trekking is done strictly at 15 years and above
- Keep a distance of 7 meters from the Gorillas
- Gorilla Viewing time is strictly limited to one hour
- If you have cold, flue or any other contagious disease you asked not to do gorilla trekking
- Maximum number of visitors per gorilla group is limited to a maximum 8 people
- Don’t litter in the park
- Spitting in the park is prohibited
- If you have to cough cover your mouth and turn away from gorillas
- Keep your voice on a low volume during gorilla viewing
- Make slow movements so that you do not frighten the gorillas
- If a gorilla tries to touch you or talk to you don’t be alarmed just stand still don’t stare at gorillas look at the guide and follow his instructions
- Eating, drinking and smoking near gorillas is prohibited
How does a day of Gorilla trekking look like
Finally the gorilla trekking day has come! a bland new day, a day to remember for the life time
You will have early breakfast at around 6:00am it can be earlier or later depending on where you spent your overnight.
Have your packed lunch, passport, camera ready ,possibly is a small back park and have your nature branding clothes on our guide will drive you the park head quarter to be there by 8:00am
Visitors meet at the park headquarter at 8:00am
At 8:00am each guest is allocated a gorilla family group that he/she is going to visit each gorilla family will be allocated a maximum of 8 people depending on the number available visitors that day. Mainly depending on the fitness and for the case of Uganda we can request a certain preferred family like may be the one with babies
Guests are then briefed about dos and don’ts of Gorillas trekking, formation about conservation history, eco/sustainable tourism and Forest biodiversity. Briefing and Gorilla family allocation takes about 30 minutes.
At this point you may hire a porter and a walking stick for about $20 no set price .the porter will help you curry your back pack, provide guidance and support during the trek.
You will then be led by the park guide into the forest in search of Gorillas. The search usually takes 30minutes to 4 hours depending on the movements of gorillas however no matter how long the trek takes the end is result is amazing
At this moment you will be required to be patient as you feel the cool breathe from the jungle, listen to bird songs, view natural trees herbs and plants as you leave your foot prints too.
Guides will lead you while in contact with trackers that went into the forest earlier to help trace the way that Gorillas followed that day, they will follow finger and foot prints of Gorillas, bent scrubs, and remains of plants eaten by Gorillas and soon or later you will meet gorillas. Your guide will hear your guide say ‘they are right here!”
After finding Gorillas you have a moment of observing learning and interacting with them as well as taking photographs this will last for a maximum of one hour
There after the park guides will lead you back to the starting point where you will be rewarded with certificate to certify that you have trekked Gorillas.
Depending on how long you took to find gorillas you will have a rest and take your packed lunch in the forest.