Did you know that the closest primates next to your brother, sister, father, and mother happens to be living up in the mountains? They are the Mountain Gorillas who share 98% of humans DNA. Unfortunately, they are critically endangered, their population is less than 1,000. Thankfully, as we cut trees, burn the forest, hunt wildlife, and mine every corner of the mountain as we think there is, there are brave individuals trying to preserve these gorillas, guarding them and sparing their very own lives.
Last year, I was lucky enough to meet these Mountain Gorillas up-close as I did the Mountain Gorilla Tracking in Uganda and what thrilled me, even more, is that I met the amazing Mountain Rangers who dedicate their time, effort, and their lives for these beautiful creatures. Going on one of the best Gorilla safaris in the world was certainly one of the happiest and craziest days of my life– it was tiring, exhilarating, heart pumping, and definitely one for the books. Gazing at their glass brown eyes is surreal and did I mention one of them even tapped me on my stomach? Here’s how you can do it too!
WHERE TO TRACK MOUNTAIN GORILLAS
Mountain Gorillas can only be found in the mountains of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda but the good thing is, there’s a tour company called Gorilla Trek Africa who organizes Gorilla Tracking in all these countries, wherever you may be.
P.S. No, this tour is something you cannot do alone. Aside from being very difficult, you won’t even be able to cross past the diligent Mountain Rangers!
WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE GORILLA TREK AFRICA LTD. FOR YOUR MOUNTAIN GORILLA TRACKING EXPERIENCE
- They have flexible tours- Whether you have 2 or 24 days to spare for your tour, they would gladly arrange an experience you’ll never forget. You’ll embark on a journey on a 4×4, stare at the Mountain Gorillas’ watery brown eyes, hike across lush forests, see animals that you’ve only seen in books, and most of all, meet the brave Mountain Rangers whose mission is to protect the lives of these animals.
- They have over 10 years of experience- They have been doing this for over 10 years and being in this industry for that long, that says a lot about their team. Wouldn’t it be nice to entrust this once-in-a-lifetime-experience to a knowledgeable team?
- They have local guides with vast experience- Not only do they recruit local guides, but they also have a team with proven experience in dealing with mammals and birds. Their guides are also people who know the tourist attractions in their local area.
- Their local guides are well-trained in all aspects. They are well-trained in tracking gorillas, identifying different species of plants and animals, and most of all, safety training is an integral part of their job as a tour guide. Things could go out of control and having a guide with safety training is very important.
- There are no hidden fees!!- One of the most common complaints from people who did the Mountain Gorilla Tracking with other agencies is that there were a lot of hidden charges. With Gorilla Trek Africa, all the meals, entry fees, accommodation, cruises are included in the total price as per the itinerary.
- You can customize your own tour- Sure, they have a proposed itinerary but you can always customize it the way you want. If you’d love a lazy day in between and just enjoy the hotel’s amenities, then so be it!
- You can plan your trip with a knowledgeable Customer Service Representative 24/7- No matter what time of the day it is that this tour sparked up your excitement, you’d have someone to talk to and plan things with. Just head on to Gorilla Trek Africa’s Website and click Chat Now. Expect a reply in a matter of seconds!
OTHER ACTIVITIES YOU COULD DO WITH GORILLA TREK AFRICA LTD.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, Gorilla Trek Africa operates in Uganda, Rwanda and Eastern DR Congo but their services also go further to Kenya, Tanzania, and even Burundi! Being in one of these countries, I’m sure Mountain Gorilla Tracking is not all there is– this is why they also offer Wildlife Viewing, Western Lowland Gorilla Tours in Congo, Cultural Trips and Natures Walks, Primates Trekking including Chimpanzee, Golden Monkeys, Angola Colobus Monkeys, etc., White Water Rafting Adventures, Mountain Hiking Trips, Adventure Trips, Bird Watching Tours, Hot Air Balloon Safaris, Volcano Climbing, and a whole lot more.
HERE’S WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MOUNTAIN GORILLA TRACKING
1) You need to book months ahead- There are only 80 Gorilla Permits available each day and that means only 80 people could go to the park every day. This is the reason why booking months ahead will be best for you. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to miss this opportunity!
2) Gorilla Permit Fee varies in each country- This is something you should take into consideration. The permit for Uganda is 600 USD, Rwanda at 1,500 USD, and 450 USD in DR Congo. There’s a huge difference, I know, but each trek in every country is unique. This fee would cover the Park Entrance Fee and the money to support the Mountain Rangers.
3) Booking on a rainy season could get you a discount on these permits- The months of June to September and then December to February will bring you to an unforgettable climb but the rainy season promises an exceptional journey (not to mention a discount on the Gorilla Permit Fee).
4) You have to dress appropriately- This wouldn’t be a walk in the park so expect the worst– you’d slip, you’d fall, you’d touch thorny bushes, you’d get bitten by insects, and whatnot. Having said that, you really have to dress well. Use proper hiking boots, hand gloves, long sleeves, trekking pants, sunglasses, and hats. A rain jacket and a light jacket will also come in handy for the unpredictable weather.
5) You’re 99.9% sure to meet a gorilla- Having local guides who have been with the Mountain Gorillas for 15 years, they sure know how and where to track them. Before a scheduled group, a group of rangers hikes up early in the morning to track them with their fresh poop!
6) Kids below 15 years old aren’t allowed to do this- I know this trip could be a memorable family escapade but I suggest to live your kids below 15 years old. In under no circumstance can they be allowed inside the park. Mountain Gorillas are relatively shy but once they feel scared or threatened, they will attack and protect their own. Can you just imagine what will happen if a child screams around them??
7) You have to stay 7 meters away from the gorillas- While they may look like your long lost brother and you’re dying to give them a tight hug, that’s not possible. They are very fragile and are susceptible to human-borne diseases like cough and colds. Remember, there are less than 1,000 of them now and you wouldn’t want any of them to get sick. You wouldn’t want to trigger them too!
That’s it for this post, everyone! This trip could be expensive but let me tell you, again and again, you are worth it!
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