Gorilla Trekking Guide to Africa- Go Gorilla Trekking Safaris
Gorilla Trekking safari in Africa can reward you with the great experience of visiting the mountain gorillas, Eastern Lowland gorillas and Western Gorillas in East & Central Africa countries .
Gorillas are the largest primates in the World and can only be found in Africa that why all gorilla trekking are done in Either Uganda, Rwanda, Congo and other central african countries . Go gorilla trekking in Democratic republic of congo will reward with the great experience of watching the eastern lowland gorillas that are only found in Kahuzi biega National Park and Maiko National Park plus the mountain gorilla trekking in the great virunga Massif that is shared by Rwanda and Uganda .
While Planning an adventure to visit the african gorillas , travelers are always faced with alot of questions regarding the gorilla trekking tour to Either Rwanda, Uganda or Congo which is the most feared destination in the entire world as being unstable but according to my adventure experience i have been able to visit all the three Destination and even the maiko national Park in the central part of Congo. I don’t refute the travel warnings but it shouldn’t stop you to adventure if your a truly an adventurous travelers. From my travelers experience in East Africa and Central Africa in Democratic republic i compose the following questions and answers to guide you planning the Gorilla Trekking adventure in Africa.
When is the best time to go to visit these countries?
If its gorilla trekking either the mountain gorillas or eastern lowland gorillas its possible to this type of safari in congo only however the mountain gorillas can be visited in Rwanda or Uganda not sparing Democratic republic of congo.
Mountain Gorilla Destinations in East Africa and Central Africa are all near the equator and the climate doesn’t chance much but only time changes as time zones are different. All are near the equator,The short lighter rains are from October to November, whilst the rainy season tends to be from March to April. That said, you are spending time in mountain rain forests, so you can expect rain at any time. Unlike wildlife viewing elsewhere in Africa, the rains do not affect the movement of the gorillas and you can trek at any time of the year. Gorilla Trekking can be tougher during the longer rains and trekking much muddier. For those keen on photography however, just after the rains (January/February or May/June) is a beautiful time to travel as the air is clear, the skies are blue and the countryside is at its most fertile.
How fit do I have to be to Go Gorilla trekking?
This is the question we get asked the most and whilst fitness is a very subjective thing, anyone can enjoy gorilla trekking, providing they prepare for it. By its very nature, gorilla trekking will be challenging as you will be walking through mountain rain forests, with thick vegetation, on steep muddy paths but more hard in Rwanda and Uganda compared to Congo Gorilla trekking even if its Eastern lowland gorilla watching or Mountain Gorilla Trekking.
Therefore, the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy it.It is important to bear in mind, however, that as this is a mountain rain forest, it’s not too humid and in fact will be quite cool and damp, although you will warm up during the trek. The porters are also brilliant and you will be given the opportunity to hire them when you arrive at the park HQ on the morning of your actual trek. They will be there to help steady you as you walk and can help with camera bags. They are great company and well worth the small payment.
What should I take when I go gorilla trekking?
Gorilla Trekking safari activity includes a lot of walking through the steep slopes and lowland ventures in any of the selected national park either for lowland gorillas or mountain gorilla trekking tours. finding out what to wear is of great importance before the adventure starts.
Strong legs, a small rucksack in which you can put your camera, a jacket and comfortable, sturdy boots or shoes.Given that it will start off cold early in the morning, you need lots of light layers that you can take off and put on easily. As you trek, you will warm up, shedding layers as you go, but when you reach the gorillas and stop for the hour, it can turn cold very quickly, particularly if you are in shadow or shade.
Light layers and fleeces are good, walking trousers are good, but anything that you are comfortable in, that dries quickly is best.
Be prepared for your clothes to get very mucky, possibly quite wet and probably ripped or torn as you may be scrabbling in some pretty heavy duty undergrowth. Strangely, you might want to consider taking gardening gloves as you will be pulling at thorny vegetation and nettles as you climb so this protects you against cuts and scratches.Of course take a fully charged camera and spare memory cards. For those with different lenses, a good zoom of around 300-400 mm should be fine but you will need a steady hand or tripod if you are serious. The ground is very uneven and you may be balancing on a slope to see the gorillas.
How long are the gorilla treks?
The gorilla treks vary enormously and there is a difference between the watching of the eastern lowland gorillas and the mountain gorillas in the mountainous but this is determined by the season and the type of the food that the gorillas are feeding at in a given time . Some groups are very close and can be reached in around an hour, whilst others are on the far side of the parks and can take all day. That said, as the gorillas obviously move around, they are in a different place each day, so it is impossible to predict how long it will take you to reach them. They can also move as you trek towards them, even when you are there, so you need to be prepared. If you are doing more than one trek, the rangers will try and ensure you see a mixture of groups to get a range of experiences.
On the morning of your trek, which usually means a 6am start, you will be allocated a group (you can opt for an easy, medium or hard trek) and your ranger will then go through the dos and don’ts of gorilla trekking. It is important you adhere to their guidance and do not get too close to the gorillas (they are very susceptible to catching human colds).Then it’s time to head out to the park. Some groups can be accessed directly with a short walk to the start of the trail, but others might require a drive to the start of the trail further away.
What advice would you give for photography?
The photographic opportunities are incredible and these countries are almost designed to drain your camera batteries and eat up memory cards. The gorillas are of course the main focus for much of the trip so you should be prepared for a dark environment, with the gorillas themselves a dark subject matter, often in shadow, although this can vary and they are sometimes out in the open. This means you will need a high ISO or a tripod or small monopod which can be quite useful if serious about photography. Also, whilst the rain forests are not humid (they are cooler mountain rain forests), there will still be a great deal of moisture around so it is a good idea to take some small silica gel packets to put into your camera bag and a small, dry cloth as lenses can mist up quickly, usually at the most inopportune moment. It is essential to have a good zoom lens, with a minimum of 300mm.
Aside from the gorillas, the scenery is as exciting – and possibly easier to photograph, with dramatic skylines and volcanoes, along with endless rolling hills and lakes. A wide angle lens may be worth considering to capture this.
Please note: As with much of Africa, do not photograph military or government personnel, bridge or buildings.