GORILLA TREKKING EXPERIENCE IN UGANDA, RWANDA AND DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO EASILY
Before embarking on any Gorilla safari in any countries about (Uganda, Rwanda or DR Congo), endeavor to make adequate preparation. This is because Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gorillas are found up in the mountainous forests and tourists need to hassle in trying to meet them in their natural environment. Uganda Gorilla trekking tour is done in Bwindi Impenetrable forest characterized by thorns, biting insects, reptiles. The trek through the forest needs to move up hills and down the valleys while crossing rivers and bypassing waterfalls and so on.
Bwindi being impenetrable forest makes visibility difficult especially when the sun is not shining heavily. Worse of all, gorilla trekkers can be caught by rain in the forest – this is because forested areas in Uganda receive unpredictable rainfall.
To avoid any danger to trekkers or harming mountain Gorillas, visitors attend a briefing from the park officials (Wardens and Rangers) about how to behave during the trek in search of gorillas and when with the gorillas. The briefing is done by senior ranger guides who escort tourists throughout the trek.
Visitors on gorilla trekking are accompanied by armed ranger guides to ensure security through the forest. Some animals in the forest can turn hostile to the tourists but can be rescued by the armed guys.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park currently has about 14 gorilla families which include Bikingi group, Nshongi, Nkuringo, Bushabo, Bitukura, Mishaya, Oruzogo group, Mubare group, Habinyanja, Businjye, Kahunje, Kyaguriro, Rushegura.
Mgahinga National park is another home of mountain Gorillas in Uganda but with one Gorilla group known as Nyakagezi which is mobile and can be absent for some time – it crosses the border to Democratic Republic of Congo or Rwanda. Before booking the Nyakagezi group, try to find updates about this group through the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) or your travel agents/tour operators.
Trekking the Nyakagezi group in the Mgahinga forest is also a hassle because it requires climbing mountains like Gahinga and other steep slopes. High level of fitness is needed here but the successful trekkers have rewarded the view of Golden monkeys, unique tree species, beautiful butterflies, the distant view of the Virunga ranges of Congo including Nyiragongo active Volcano.
On the other hand, Rwanda gorilla trekking tours are less strenuous due to the fact that Volcanoes National Park is dominated by the bamboo forests which are not as thick as the tropical forests in Uganda. Having over Gorilla groups, Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park can be found even in an hour’s walk from the base. Therefore, we always advise weak, aged, and visitors having health problems to take their gorilla treks in Rwanda due to its ease. Furthermore, the easiness is also determined by the fact that some gorilla groups are far and others a close. The gorilla families in Rwanda include Hirwa, Susa, group 13, Uganda, umubano, Sabyinyo, Karisimbi, Amahoro, Kwitonda, and Bwengye.
Around Parc National des Volcans, we find many accommodation options catering for different tourists. The most popular gorilla trekking lodges in Rwanda are; Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View, Virunga Lodge managed by Volcanoes Safaris, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge and Kinigi Guest House among others.
Volcanoes national park Rwanda rewards the visitors the view of Virunga rangers up close – this is the best destination for photographing. On gorilla trek, expect to view Virunga Volcanoes like Karisimbi, Karisoke/ Visoke, Sabyinyo among others. The bamboo forest also protects other attractions like golden monkeys, birds, tree species, and butterflies among others.
Democratic Republic of Congo is a home for both mountain and Low land Gorillas. Gorilla trek in Congo is so adventurous but due to unpredictable political climate there, some times tourism activities are halted for a given period until the situation normalizes. Mountain gorillas in Democratic Republic of Congo are found in Virunga National Park, while low land gorillas are found in Kahuzi Biega National Park. Time permitting, never miss Nyiragongo mountain hiking, an active volcano and requires 2 days and 1 night at the top/summit to see the red top.
BENEFITS OF GORILLA TREKKING IN UGANDA, RWANDA, AND CONGO
Gorilla tracking enables trekkers to gain physical fitness since they move up hills and down the valleys while searching for the Gorillas. They stretch and gain physical energy as they walk through the forests.
Trekkers gain unique experience which is memorable in life- meeting Gorillas in their natural habitat is indeed a lifetime event that every man should attend before death. Imagine seating amidst the primates having some similar characters with human beings – Gorillas do use materials like stones, sticks, among others during their routine work.
Gorilla trekking experiences its self is a source of knowledge, one hour spent with mountain Gorillas enable trekkers to learn the behaviors of Gorillas. In the process of searching for the gentle giants, rangers keep on teaching you about other attractions found on the way- they are always available to answer any of your questions.
Moving through African forests enables tourist breath in fresh or unpolluted air – the natural sounds made by the forests is also amazing.
The Journey to the homes of mountain Gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo enable the tourist to view the traditional setting of African homes.
Socialization amongst trekkers creates friendship. A maximum of eight people trek each Gorilla group – this was made to avoid overstressing Mountain Gorillas and uniting visitors originating from a different locality.
Finally, gorilla trekking activity generates employment opportunities to local people surrounding the gorilla parks, for example, local people are employed as park wardens, Rangers, Porters, Hoteliers, and drivers among others. Additionally, the local community benefits in a way that, through gorilla tourism, is market for their local products such as art and crafts sold to tourists as well as agricultural products like fruits, vegetables, and food sold to hotels/lodges used by tourists. The fact that the local community benefit from gorilla tourism in their area, this is important to protect the endangered species of mountain gorillas because the local community recognizes its importance to their livelihood.