What are the mountain gorilla's frequently asked questions?
Gorilla trekking is a breathtaking experience in an African wilderness where tourists hike via the tropical-montane rain forests of the Virunga Massif and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park to view the mountain gorillas. Devine African Safaris offers more detailed gorilla trekking FAQs and answers to enable a peaceful and enjoyable mountain gorilla experience. The mountain gorilla trekking exercise is described by most travelers as the best wildlife encounter in the world. Mountain gorilla tours and mountain gorilla safaris are carried out in Uganda, Rwanda, and the DR Congo; these are the only three countries offering endangered mountain gorilla safaris in the world.
Where are mountain gorillas found in the world?
There are only two separate populations of the endangered mountain gorillas; the first group is found in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in southwest Uganda, and the other mountain gorilla group is protected within three different national parks within the Virunga Mountains that share the borders of the three countries. The three national parks include Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in the DR Congo, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.
How many mountain gorillas are left in the world?
The world’s current global mountain gorilla population is estimated to be approximately 1,063 animals. About half of the world’s mountain gorilla population survives in Bwindi, and the remaining population rests in the Virunga Mountains. Part of the mountain gorilla population is habituated to human-friendly families, which are visited by travelers all year. The mountain gorilla habituation exercise is done to make the wild gorillas get used to the human presence, and it is done regularly to boost tourism and strengthen mountain gorilla conservation.
How much does it cost to trek with mountain gorillas in Africa?
Travelers who are interested in trekking mountain gorillas are required to obtain gorilla trekking permits from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or through a local tour operator in Uganda. The Rwanda Development Board is responsible for permits at Volcanoes National Parks in order to access the mountain gorillas. Each country offers a unique price for the mountain gorilla permit. DR Congo’s gorilla trekking permit is the cheapest at $400 per individual, followed by Uganda's gorilla trekking permit at $700 and Rwanda's gorilla trekking permit at $1,500.
How many people are allowed to trek with a mountain gorilla family?
Each habituated gorilla family is viewed once a day by a group of eight travelers. Visitors are allowed to stay for an hour in the presence of mountain gorillas in order to ensure that gorillas and other animals enjoy their habitat with limited human interference. While in the presence of mountain gorillas, visitors are allowed to take pictures without a flash and from a distance of at least 7 meters from the gorillas. Travelers are advised not to litter the national park, spit, or eat from the gorilla environment in order to avoid spreading human-related disease to the animals since mountain gorillas share 98% of the DNA of human beings.
When is the best time to go gorilla trekking in Africa?
Mountain gorilla trekking is done all year round, but the best gorilla trekking encounters are done in the dry months of June, July, August, September, December, January, and February. The steep and rugged terrain of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and the montane forests of the Virunga Massif, where gorillas are found, can be so difficult to hike during the rainy season due to wet, muddy, and slippery conditions. Mountain gorillas always move freely in their families during dry days, and this makes it easy for travelers to spot them, while in the wet season, mountain gorillas tend to confine themselves to one place.
What should you pack for mountain gorilla trekking?
Mountain gorilla trekking is a tenacious tourism activity in the African wilderness that requires travelers’ relative levels of fitness and the right shoe gear. Here is the most important gear to carry for mountain gorilla trekking: long trousers, a long-sleeved shirt, a raincoat, hiking boots, and a pair of gloves. Gorilla trekkers are also advised to carry a good camera to capture all the breathtaking moments with the mountain gorillas for a lifelong memory.
Travelers should pack drinking water, energy-giving snacks, and walking sticks, which are provided by the accommodation or at the park headquarters. Porters are always available at the park for hire at a small fee ranging from $15 to $20 per person to help trekkers with heavy baggage.
How many mountain gorilla families are available for trekking?
Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park offers the highest number of habituated mountain gorilla families, with more than 16 of them. Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park offers 10, while Virunga National Park in DR Congo offers eight mountain gorilla families. However, gorilla trekkers are only allowed to visit one gorilla family per day to enhance gorilla conservation.
Which country has the best gorilla trekking experience?
Gorilla trekking is remarkable in all three countries due to the similar physical factors within the gorilla environment and their surroundings. However, human factors such as infrastructure, accommodation, security, and cost make it different. Rwanda has the most developed infrastructure leading to their mountain gorilla trekking national park, which includes well-constructed roads and a short drive to the gorilla destination.
Rwanda's accommodation facilities, such as lodges and hotels near the gorilla habitat in Volcanoes National Park, are of a very high end and range from luxury to mid-range to budget lodges. The price of the mountain gorilla permit was $1,500 for Volcanoes National Park. Although this might be high for some travelers, most travelers confess that the gorilla experience in Rwanda is rewarding, satisfying, and worth every penny. Uganda offers a cheaper mountain gorilla permit at $700, but it is a long drive from Entebbe or Kampala to Bwindi. In fact, there is another shorter option from Rwanda’s Kigali to Bwindi than from Kampala for travelers who are interested in trekking mountain gorillas in Uganda.
The Republic of the Congo offers the cheapest gorilla permit of all at $400, but there is insecurity around Virunga National Park due to civil conflicts in the eastern part of the country, which scares away visitors. Travelers that make it to the Virunga usually get to the park from Rwanda through the Gisenyi border or choose to fly in at Goma International Airport from Kigali.
Professionals at Devine African Safaris have all the answers to mountain gorilla trekking questions, ensuring a less stressful, enjoyable, and lifetime experience with endangered African mountain gorillas in the wilderness.