Practical Information for Gorilla Trekking in All Destinations.
On the Tracking day, you’ll set off very early in the morning to track to the apes from the edge of the forest. Your driver/guide will take you from your lodge to the park headquarters. Most of the guides speak excellent English and are very good. They will be taking you to a specific group of ‘habituated’ mountain gorillas. You will be escorted by the park guide, armed rangers for protection and porters for hire at 15 USD.
You’ll be divided into parties of 8 and after a briefing on safety and gorilla trekking etiquette; you’ll be driven to the start of the trail to reach your mountain gorilla group. Your guide will then lead you along generally clear paths up into the forest, in radio communication with the trackers that stay with the group so that they can be located. The hike is tiring and can be steep in parts, taking from 30 minutes to hours.
A large silverback male gorilla can weigh up to 200kg, or three times the weight of the average man, but the apprehension usually vanishes when you see the group. Often the gorillas will be spread around a small area of dense vegetation. They’ll continue with their feeding and interactions, nonchalant about their visitors, though watching you with interest. Occasionally one, often a playful youngster, will approach you with curiosity sometimes coming so close.
You have to follow the guide’s instructions while in the forest, most especially in front of gorillas. When you are near the group, you have to leave some where the hiking sticks, not to scare the animal. After encountering the group, you spend 1 hour with them, enjoying their ways, feeding and interacting ways.
After gorilla tracking, you will be given certificates of the group you have tracked at the park headquarter which you can take at home and show your friends and relatives.
What to wear while trekking gorillas
When going to track expect to be hit by rain and traverse muddy paths, therefore carry a raincoat.
Bring layered clothes to keep you warm, wear long trousers to protect your legs from insect bites and long sleeved tops/ t-shirts.
Have a water-proof back pack to carry your camera, snacks plus drinking water. For a small price, you can hire porters to carry your backpack and assist you on the sheer slopes.