Trekking to visit the rare and majestic gorillas in the awe-inspiring natural beauty of Uganda is a memorable experience. The gorilla population of Uganda and Rwanda is finally starting to stabilise following the decimation of their natural habitat through deforestation. In the past, this has disrupted the homes and food source of these powerful but gentle vegetarians. But efforts to protect their habitat and make use of their tourism appeal is finally having a positive impact.
Reputable gorilla tourism is carefully monitored so that visitors do not disturb the gorilla families. Gorilla tourism has also produced funds for conservation projects, national parks and sanctuaries for wounded or orphaned gorillas. Educational campaigns such as the WWF’s Mountain Gorilla adoption programme have also helped raise awareness. The popularity of gorillas in Rwanda is also marked by events like the recent naming ceremony covered by the BBC.
When To Go
The off-season of gorilla trekking means smaller crowds and lower prices for trekking permits. In the low season (October-November or March-May), you’re more likely to experience rainfall. But the advantage is that gorillas will be more visible when their food source is plentiful. The duration of your trek might be much shorter as a result. Uganda’s dryer months are the high season and span December-February and June-September. During this time, climate may be dryer and the ground more secure underfoot, but there are more likely to be crowds of visitors.
Trekking guides will first check your passport and identification against your permit. They will be knowledgeable and experienced in trekking the gorillas and are likely to have a special understanding of their routines and behaviours. They will be happy to answer your questions and will also brief you on safety. Booking through reputable sites like http://www.steppestravel.co.uk increases your chances of finding reliable, knowledgeable guides with a genuine passion for the gorillas.
A successful trek depends upon being prepared and appropriately dressed. Water-resistant footwear with good support can be essential for negotiating the undergrowth. Wear layers that can be added or removed depending on the temperature. This will protect you from exposure to the sun and also from irritating insect bites. With adequate preparation, all your attention can be devoted to the main aim of the trip: meeting a gorilla family.