Today we encounter with the critically endangered mountain gorillas. The mountain gorillas are part of the world’s population of just 1000 individuals, and the gorillas we trek today belong to 12 habituated family groups. Gorilla trekking usually starts early as you will need to travel to the park headquarters in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda for a short entertainment and briefing at 7:00am on the rules to be observed during your gorilla trekking tours in Africa.
You will then be allocated a gorilla family to trek and experienced ranger guides will accompany you on your trekking safari. The safari walk is well catered for in the nature trails inside the park. Trekking the primates makes the excursion more fun and memorable.
The think vegetation and slippery mud in the forest can be hazardous. You should wear strong hiking boots, thick long jeans, long sleeved tops and gloves to protect your skin against insects, tsetse flies, stinging nettles, which cause blisters. You should be prepared for the rain at any time since Volcanoes National Park is rain forest, so you should have waterproofs ready and a jacket cover for your camera. The trekking can take anything from 2 to 8 hours depending on the group that is trekking, the general location of the gorilla family, the terrain, weather and few other factors.
As you hike through the Bwindi Forest, follow the instructions of your guide. As you climb the steep slopes of the volcanoes, and through the forest, you will need to pull yourself up steep paths by grasping onto plant roots, branches, bushes among others. A walking stick could come in hand. You will get thirsty, so be sure to carry enough water. The trek through the forest can be tiring but the encounter with the gorillas is worth all effort.
After the short or long or short trek, you will be relieved and happy to find the gorillas. The trackers will clear the brush away so you can get a clear view of these magnificent creatures. It is truly an amazing experience. Once you find them, you are advised to stay calm, quiet and avoid sudden movements. Avoid eye contact with the gorillas; it can irritate them into thinking you’re up for a fight. If you look a gorilla in the eyes, he can charge at you but stay still and lower your head as a sign of submission. This will show that you don’t want to fight.
You will watch and observe the gorillas feeding, grooming, playing or just sitting calm. You can have your cameras ready to snap off as you take memorable pictures and videos of them. After the 1 hour experience with the gorillas, it will be time to head back to the park headquarters for your gorilla trekking certificates