Gorilla Tracking Safaris
Perhaps you’ve already been lucky enough to go on a traditional safari to see the Big Five and other beautiful African mammals and predators and you would like to encounter a different kind of wildlife, or perhaps you have simply decided that seeing the magnificent mountain gorillas in their natural habitat would be one of the most exhilarating things you could do. In either case, you are at the right place, as East Cape Tours can arrange a safe and thrilling adventure for you into the land of gorillas!
Gorilla Tracking Overview
Over the past few years gorilla tracking, or trekking, has become an immensely popular activity, and one that is high on the to-do list of avid travellers. Unless you’ve been amongst the gorillas yourself, it’s almost impossible to understand how awesome the experience is, but we will try and give you some idea of what you can expect. We hope that you will decide to embark on this epic journey with us, as we are confident that it will be a deeply moving and life-changing experience for you to come into contact with these beautiful, yet endangered creatures that are so similar to ourselves.
Gorilla tracking is done on foot, in Uganda and Rwanda, as well as in a few other places in central Africa, and participants should therefore be reasonably fit to walk for some distance through the rainforests. In general, in Uganda, the gorillas are often only found further into the forest, and move in groups of between ten and twenty gorillas. Their group will usually have at least one silverback (an alpha male). Trekking in Uganda is fairly challenging due to the longer distance that needs to be covered in order to find the gorillas, but it is wonderful to see so much of the forest if you can manage it. In Rwanda, families of gorillas are quite often nearer to park’s entrance and shorter walks are often required in order to see them. They are usually in groups of between nine and thirty-nine gorillas. Of course, no one can guarantee where the families will be at the time of your visit.
When you have found a group of gorillas in the forest you will stop and be able to admire them from between 7 and 10 metres away and quietly watch their activities. Amazingly enough, they often come quite close to visitors, perhaps curious as to our intentions, and this is such a profound experience. Before you leave for the forest, you will be briefed on how to deal with situations like this one, and you will always have a trained expert with you to ensure your safety. In addition, the gorillas that you will see are habituated. This means that they have spent two to three years becoming familiar with people around them before they were allowed to be visited by tourists.
On most tours you will spend up to an hour or longer watching the gorillas. You will see them forage, watch them groom each other and perhaps even see some little ones in action, playing and tumbling about. The great silverback patriarch will most likely keep a close eye on you, but shouldn’t be any trouble if you stick to the rules explained by your guide. Take note how their gestures and the way they express their emotions is so familiar to us as human beings, and try to imbed in your memory this profound and humbling experience.
These mountain gorillas are so similar to humans in their genetic make-up that they are also susceptible to human diseases; however, they do not have an immune system like we do. This means that something as inconsequential to us as the common cold can be deadly to a gorilla. Especially since the number of mountain gorillas in the world is only at a little over 800, people who are sick are not allowed to go out and see the gorillas. In some places you may be required to wear a face-mask to further ensure the gorillas’ protection.
To organise a gorilla trekking adventure in Rwanda or Uganda can be quite tricky. There are permits involved, only a certain number of people may see the gorillas on any given day and the prices for accommodation and the whole gorilla experience can vary considerably. This is due to the differences in the services and facilities available. In order to get reasonable prices and accommodation that will best suit your needs, it is best to speak to one of our travel consultants. It will be one of the most amazing experiences of your life, provided that it is well organised.
Gorilla Tracking Highlights
- Experiencing the magnificent rainforests in Uganda and Rwanda.
- The thrill of walking within the large mountain gorillas’ natural habitat.
- Encountering a family of gorillas often as close as only 7 metres away.
- Getting an up-close few of the enormous silverback (alpha male) of the gorilla group.
- Watching a gorilla family as they go about foraging, grooming and playing.
- The profound experience of having personally connected with an animal species that is so closely related to human beings.
- Taking note of how similar gorillas are to us, and becoming aware of their intense capability for emotion.
- Having the company of experienced guides for additional information and safety.
- Enjoying great meals and the beautiful surroundings at your lodge or camp.
If you can imagine yourself trekking through a lush, rainforest jungle in search of these large, yet gentle and rare giants of the area, waiting in anticipation to be thrilled at any moment with an encounter of a gorilla family, then this unique opportunity is for you! Call us today and let us know how we can help you get there.