Gorilla trekking offers a unique opportunity to observe and spend time with gorillas in their natural habitat. These gorillas, located in the Virunga Mountains and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, have been habituated to the presence of humans through ongoing research and monitoring. This allows for an extraordinary and intimate wildlife experience as you witness these magnificent creatures up close. Unlike a visit to a zoo, gorilla trekking provides a more personal and immersive encounter, characterized by closeness, quietude, and intimacy.
Due to the limited number of highly endangered gorillas and the need to protect their well-being, certain rules and regulations are in place. These include limiting the exposure of gorillas to humans to prevent disease transmission, minimize stress and behavioral disturbances, and maintain their undisturbed environment. As a result, a limited number of permits are available for each day’s trek, and it is crucial to book well in advance to secure a permit.
In addition to mountain gorilla trekking, there is also the opportunity to visit the western lowland gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These gorillas, the smallest subspecies, exhibit unique characteristics such as pronounced sexual dimorphism and the development of silver-colored hair on older males.
To ensure a safe and respectful experience, certain gorilla trekking rules are strictly enforced. These include refraining from littering, coughing or sneezing in the direction of gorillas, no eating or drinking near them, avoiding spitting, not pointing at them, and refraining from touching them. Visitors are encouraged to speak in whispers, move unthreateningly, and maintain a minimum distance of 7 meters from the gorillas. Flash photography is prohibited to prevent disturbance, and it is important to follow the guidance of your experienced guide throughout the trek.
It is essential to come prepared for the gorilla trekking experience. Wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts, tucking trousers into thick socks, and having sturdy hiking boots or walking shoes are recommended. Carrying a hat, warm clothing, a camera without flash, sufficient drinking water, and a basic first aid kit is also advisable. Given the frequent rain in the area, waterproof clothing or a light raincoat can be beneficial. Consider bringing leather gloves to protect against stinging nettles found in the park.
Gorilla trekking is an awe-inspiring and privileged encounter with these incredible creatures. By adhering to the rules and being prepared, you can fully immerse yourself in this exceptional wildlife experience while ensuring the well-being and conservation of these endangered gorillas.