Gorilla trekking is the most thought of activity back at the mind of the traveler while planning a Ugandan safari. It is important to note that, it is a rewarding life time experience. Mountain gorillas are threatened species only found in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. They live up in the tropical rain forest where visitors always have to trek following their trail until they finally find a settled gorilla family going about their day playing, feeding and resting. The experience alone of trekking is quite a thrill especially during the rain season amidst slippery grounds. For the first time traveler planning a gorilla safari you need to note the following;
Book a gorilla permit
The moment you think of a gorilla safari, securing a gorilla permit should come in handy. A gorilla permit is your guarantee for this life experience. You can as well secure a gorilla permit directly contacting the rightful authorities like Uganda wild life authority, Rwanda development board or use a trusted tour operator. The cost of a gorilla permit in Uganda is at 600$ and 1500$ in Rwanda. It is also advisable to book your gorilla permit in 3 months advance to avoid last minute inconveniences as only 8 people are permitted daily per gorilla family. Remember you can also take on a one of a kind gorilla habituation experience at only 1500$ only in Bwindi forest national park.
Gorilla trekking is an all year daily activity however it is associated with high and low season especially during the rainy season and dry season. Rainy season is usually in the month of march, may oct and November, the rest of the months are dry season, therefore you need to choose well not ruin your experience. Also, to note during high season accommodation facilities get occupied easily and may be a hustle securing one. During wet seasons gorillas tend not to move further so you can trek for a shorter time.
After securing a permit and sure of travel, you probably wondering what else you need on your list and these include yellow fever immunization card, visa card and all other necessary travel documents. You are also reminded to pack light clothing, good hiking boots, rain jackets, insect repellant, garden gloves to mention but a few.
While with the mountain gorillas you will be asked to observe the rules and regulations like stay back 7 meters away from the gorillas, avoid flash photography. You will be allowed to spend one hour with the gorillas while observing them.
Note: only persons above 15 years of age will be allowed to track mountain gorillas.
How to get there
Bwindi forest national park is located in south western Uganda about 8 hours drive from the city center Kampala, if you an adventurous person, this is right for you because you will have several stop overs for example at the equator for photography and Lake Mburo National Park before proceeding to Bwindi.
There are also charter flight from Kampala to Kihihi or Kisoro about 2 hours using Aero link.
Alternatively, you can as well arrive from Kigali and transfer to Bwindi which is a 3-hour drive crossing through Kabale-Katuna border.