15 Packing list for Congo Gorilla Trekking Safari

Among the top most asked FAQ about gorilla trekking include where is the best places to trek gorillas in the world? Among the top most destination for gorilla trekking is done in Rwanda, Uganda, DRC and Republic of Congo. When planning on talking a tour we always think about what to pack. But when you don’t know much about the destination and the activity you are going to be doing, you will not know some of things to take with you. Well, I got you covered with the packaging list for a gorilla trekking safari in a destination.

Top 15 Packing list for Gorilla trekking in Africa

  1. Hiking Boots
    Gorilla trekking as an activity involves moving on foot through some thick forests as you look for the amazing gentle giant apes. Because of the nature of the forest plus the altitude, you need light weight hiking boots for this activity. The trails involve hiking with some sloping and the trail gets slippery at times. The trek takes between 4-6 hours depending on the location of the gorillas that day. Though you will need to watch your steps all the way, a good pair of hiking boots will make your movement much easier.
  2. Garden Gloves
    As you trek the gorillas, there will be a lot of sliding more so when it rained the previous night. It can even rain on you as you trek this makes movement more challenging because when you slide, you somehow need to get hold of some plants, and trees for support. These gloves will help to protect your hands against germs and other things that might scratch or bruise your hands.
  3. Rain Jacket
    Mountain gorillas live in the tropical rain forests of the great Virunga region and also in the forests of Bwindi. In this type of vegetation, rain is received throughout the year. Many clients prefer traveling in drier months of June, July, August and beginning of September and try to avoid rainy seasons of March, April and May. But you can’t tell when it is going to rain, don’t forget to carry your rain jacket when going for the trek.
  4. Long Sleeved Shirts or blouse and trousersThis is important during the actual gorilla trek. Avoid short sleeved shirts or sleeveless tops (for women).The jungle has a lot of insects, stinging nettles, and plants with thorns. At times you will leave the usual trail and then find a new trail where you will try creating a way through the thick forest (with the help of the guides of course) more so in Bwindi Impenetrable national park.  The long sleeved shirts will protect your arms from the effect of those plants. Long sleeved shirts are also important to keep you warm because it is always chilly in the morning. Please ensure that you tack in your trousers in your hiking boots to avoid insects such as safari ants entering your trousers. Jeans and Khaki trousers can do this better.
  5. Energy giving snacks and water

    Gorilla trekking can take from 1-8 hours and that’s why a certain level of fitness is required. To add on that, you advise that you carry some energy giving snacks as supplements. Some of the good accommodation facilities offer packed lunch and water for their clients who are going to trek gorillas. Before departing from your lodge, don’t forget to carry your lunch because you can’t tell when you will get back.

  6. Cameras and extra batteries

    Photography is an important component of your safari and thus make sure that you have your camera ready, charge your batteries very well and if necessary, carry extra batteries as you will need to take as many photographs in the one hour you will have with the gorillas. Please make sure that you switch off your flash while taking gorilla photographs.

  7. Hat and Sun Glasses

    If it is hot, please carry a hat to protect you from the strong sunrays. You may also need to carry some sunglasses too. These are extra optional.

  8. Pair of Binoculars

    The tropical forests where mountain gorillas live are also home to other wildlife some of which include; chimpanzees, forest buffalos and elephants, and other primates like chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys among others as well as various bird species. As you trek the gorillas, you will expect to spot some of these wildlife. A good pair of binoculars will make it easier to spot those at a distance.

  9. Porters for your gorilla trek

    This is an extra optional item and we advise all our clients to take a porter for their gorilla trekking. As earlier noted, gorilla trekking can be strenuous and thus you will need someone to give you a push or a pull on the way to the gorillas. These porters go for a fee but it is worth it. Remember that these porters are actually school going students either in their vacation or have been chased out of school due to school fees. By paying some money to have a porter with you, you will have contributed to community development indirectly.

  10. Cotton socks

    A pair of long enough cotton socks is handy for your gorilla trek. These socks prevent the safari ants from entering into your trousers. Before the gorilla trek, the ranger will ask you to tuck your trousers into the socks.

  11. Sunglasses and a hat

    Sunglasses with neck trap and hats with a brim are important to protect you from the effect of the scorching sunshine. Similarly, sun cream is also an important element in your packing list.

  12. Sandals

    A pair of sandals are necessary for relaxing in the evening or when doing some activities like community walks or going to the nearby markets.

  13. Swim suitNot all lodges in these destinations have swimming pools. For those who are interested in swimming after gorilla trekking, it would be wise to pack a suit. With this you will have to make sure that the lodge or hotel you book has a swimming pool.
  14. Sweater

    You will definitely need this in the mornings and evenings. The coldness you will experience in Bwindi, Mgahinga or Volcanoes National Parks will make you look for your sweater or any cloth like a scarf to keep you warm. This is indescribable during the rainy seasons where even the blanket and bedcover may not be enough.

  15. A pair of shorts

    These are important when you are relaxing within your lodge, or participating in other activities around where you are like nature walks, community visits, boat cruise, shopping and others.

     

Comparing Gorilla Tracking In Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.

The price for a Rwandan mountain gorilla trekking permit went up from 50 USD to 1500 USD each person.  Uganda the permit cost 600 USD and Congo mountain/low land gorillas cost 400 USD each.

There are only three countries where these magnificent and highly endangered great apes still survive Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo and it is most expensive to see them in Rwanda. None live in captivity in zoos; a number mountain gorillas inhabit the Virunga Massif ecosystem shared by Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, the DRC’s Virunga National Park, and Uganda’s Mgahinga National Park. Another live on a separate mountain in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

The gorilla trekking system is similar in all three countries, which cooperate in their conservation efforts and devote those high fees, in principle, to monitoring and protecting the species made famous by Dian Fossey’s memoir, Gorillas in the Mist, and movies like King Kong.

To avoid harassing the shy animals, just eight travelers per day (accompanied by park rangers and trackers) are permitted to hike in search of each gorilla family habituated to human observers.

Because gorillas are followed on a daily basis, a sighting in all the locations is virtually guaranteed. You need to be fit, because your path may take you up muddy, steep mountain slopes for several hours. Sometimes gorillas feed on lower slopes, or even raid farmer’s fields outside park boundaries; you might encounter them. Once gorillas are located, travelers are limited to one hour of observation and photography, and they must try to keep at least a distance from each animal and the primates.

Because foliage can be dense, clear views are not always possible. Gorilla mothers and babies might be high up a tree feeding or playing. Like human dads trying to escape the kids and grab some shut eye, the huge, charismatic silverbacks that everyone wants to photograph inconveniently like to nap inside dense thickets. Although it’s a crapshoot in what kind of vegetation and in what lighting conditions you will find gorillas on a given day, Rwanda offers the best prospects for unobstructed photographs because the upper slopes of Volcanoes Park have open meadows and stands of bamboo forest where leafy vegetation is not so thick.

Rwanda’s park, two hours by car and on good roads from the capital Kigali, is also the closest to an international airport. The Bwindi and Mgahinga can also easily be accessed from Rwanda its approx. 4-5 hours drive. Another alternative is landing at Entebbe Uganda, but that is a bit a long journey unless when the itinerary is long you first visit other parks. The Virunga National Park can be reached by a half-day road trip from Kigali, but you might encounter delays at the border securing a DRC tourist visa.

In terms of accommodation, each country offers great places to stay. Rwanda’s Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Uganda’s Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge and DRC’s Mikeno lodge. The Virunga Park headquarters that offers luxury accommodation to visitors. Entrance fees will contribute to the mountain gorillas’ survival.

Rwanda Increases the Costs of the Mountain Gorilla Permit

Kigali, RWANDA| RDB| 6 May 2017 – The Rwanda Development Board has announced an increase in the price of Gorilla Permits from US$ 750 to US $1,500 for all visitors effective immediately. A new exclusive package for tourists who wish to book an entire family of gorillas was also introduced at US$ 15,000, and will receive exclusive personalized tour guide services.

The price increase will not affect tourists who had already purchased their tickets at the time of this announcement.

Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Executive Officer at Rwanda Development Board said: “Gorilla trekking is a highly unique experience. We have raised the price of permits in order to ensure sustainability of conservation initiatives and enhance visitors’ experience. We also want to make sure that the communities living near the park area receive a bigger share of tourism revenues to fund development projects and empower them economically.”

Tourists who visit other national parks (Nyungwe and Akagera) for a minimum of three days, in addition to gorilla trekking will receive a discount of 30%. Similarly, conference tourists, who stay pre or post conference dates to see gorillas will be eligible for a 15% discount.

In line with Rwanda’s high-end tourism strategy, the price increase aims to strengthen conservation efforts and contribute more to the development of communities living around the Volcanoes National Park.

Along with the new tariff, the tourism revenue sharing rate for communities adjacent to the park, will also increase from 5% to 10%, which will quadruple the absolute revenues received by communities. Over the last 12 years, more than 400 community projects have been completed including hospitals, schools, business development centers and water supply systems to facilitate access to clean water. These projects directly benefit the people living around the parks.

New, high-end lodges are opening in Musanze and plans are underway to improve visitors’ experience at Kinigi, including renovation of the information center to equip it with modern offices and tourism services such as conservation education, children’s learning space as well as digital facilities.

Mountain gorillas are an endangered species with only around 880 remaining in the world. Of those in in the Virunga Massif, Rwanda accounts for 62% of the gorilla population. Stringent conservation measures have significantly contributed to a rise in gorilla numbers. There are currently 20 families habituated for tourism and research in Rwanda, up from just 9 families in 2010.