Of the most popular wildlife viewing experiences in the world, encountering the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat in Uganda and Rwanda is the best adventure i have ever experienced!
Though i took my first gorilla safari in Rwanda in 2010, the memories of observing the mountain gorillas in their natural wild is still fresh within my head. A gorilla trek is great way to meet our distant, hairy relatives who share with us 99% of our DNA. When I first took a glance at the endangered mountain gorillas I felt like i was in a strange land! I took their photos in awe and i cant exactly tell the feeling of watching these amazing creatures! I cant imagine standing a mere feet from these powerful animals, the strongest of the ape family. What is surprising is the mountain gorillas are very calm, peaceful and care less about your existence as long as you don’t threaten them.
Where to See the Mountain Gorillas
Did you know that there are only a few mountain gorillas in the wild? There are about 880 individuals living in three countries in the world; Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Unlike the lowland gorillas, there is no mountain gorilla in captivity! I think this is one of the reasons as to why gorilla trekking is an amazing wildlife experience that top the list of the best adventures you can ever take in the wild.
There are four parks where one can see the mountain gorillas;
- The Volcanoes National Park in northern Rwanda,
- Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga national park in Uganda,
- Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Gorilla Trekking Experience
If you have ever visited the gorillas in the zoo, a gorilla safari in Africa is totally a different experience. You will watch the gorillas in the natural wild and there are no glasses, no bars, no rumbling safari car engine, no squinting through binoculars but you will be just a meters away facing the giants face to face! You will be just humans and gorillas meeting in the forest.
Planning a Gorilla Trek
Anyone intending to take a gorilla safari in Africa should consider planning early enough on a trip! Planning ahead for a trip is required given that there are always a few gorilla permits available for those who are to take the challenge. There are several tour operators and travel agents who offer fully inclusive trips to the gorillas. For those planning to travel independently, you will need to arrange booking your gorilla permits in time as well as booking your transportation and accommodation. Please note that public transportation is not available in some rural areas.
Please remember that gorilla trekking requires more active participation than traditional safaris and there fore a considerable degree of fitness is required for hikers.