Planning a gorilla trekking safari for the first time may be a bit of a problem as you are not sure how best to plan for it. which things are involved and how long it can take. Century gorilla Safari has you covered in our comprehensive guide on how to plan you gorilla safari in Africa for the first time. Here is the list of what we are going to talk about;
Plan your safari a head of time (in advance): Planning your gorilla safari should be like 6 months a head of time. This is so because of the limited gorilla trekking permits per day. But for those who choose to do last-last minute gorilla safaris, here are able to make exceptions for them. This to give a chance to everyone who has long for a long time to have this once in a life time experience. More on the last-minute gorilla safaris see here.
Decide on which country you would want to do your gorilla trekking: Mountain gorilla safaris are done in 3 countries that is Rwanda, Uganda and D.R.Congo. making up your mind on which country to do gorilla trekking in helps us in reserving for you the gorilla permit in the right place. Please note that gorilla trekking permits in each country are priced differently. More on gorilla trekking permits in each country see our article on gorilla permits in Africa.
Decide on your gorilla safari dates: Making up your mind about your travel dates helps us plan all the necessary areas in regards to your travel. These include the car you will be using, the accommodation / lodge where you will be staying, the tour guide who will be taking you for gorilla safaris as well as reservation of the gorilla permits for you. Also note that its necessary also to mention how many other people that you will be traveling with so that we can cost your safari accordingly because we do not do surprise visits.
Contact us for your gorilla trekking permit and dates: As we had mentioned early in this artcle, gorilla permits are less because each gorilla family / gorilla group gets a maximum of 8 tourists per day and they are only a handful of gorilla groups both in Uganda and Rwanda here we operate. So it is advisable that when you book your gorilla permit, it’s wise to confirm by sending the gorilla trekking permit money. please note that the gorilla permit payments are not for tour operators. Tour operators only receive them on behave of the government. See more on this here.
Accommodation type and transport: Confirming your gorilla safari with us would additionally require the accommodation type that you would love to us when you are on your safari. Century gorilla safaris hand picked a list of lodges among the best and grouped them under the following categories; Luxury , Mid-range and Budget. Likewise the transportation mean are groups accordingly. These are the key factor in determining whether you are doing a luxury gorilla safaris, Mid-range or budget gorilla safari.
Other activities you would like to do besides gorilla trekking: Finally, communicating your gorilla safari dates (That is the starting and the end dates) helps us to advice on the routes and also other activities that can be added on your gorilla safari. These range from wildlife game drives in other national parks to cultural tours.
Take a deep breath and Relax: Change your Expectations.
Whenever people set out to Africa land, they are likely to have so many expectations gathered through countless reviews of people who either had a wonderful gorilla Safari trip, or a very bad service experience depending on their own expectations, or political stories of more than 5 years or 10 years ago that you still might think is the current state of the country.
When on your gorilla Safari focus on things that are under your control. All the information and reviews you gathered were only to help you make the decision on where to go for the gorilla safari and choosing the right gorilla safari tour operator. Now that you have all those already in place, progress to something more important, emptying yourself to receive everything that comes with open hands so that you do not miss out the best of your gorilla safari trip for any reason.
Gorilla trekking safaris are always a scheduled tours; Hence any slight alteration in your gorilla safari itinerary might affect how the trekking turns out. These include; Waking up late, car break down, food poisoning anything out of the ordinary might affect your gorilla safari trip. But be of good cheer, our professional tour guide always makes sure that you do your gorilla trekking activity as this is their number one priority on your gorilla trekking safari.
Having said that, you should not worry about the things that are out of your control for we have you covered at all time rather focus on those which are in your control. Even thought most people have problems with jet lag, you should go to bed early enough so that you can wake up early enough. Best of all request for a morning coffee on your wake up call. If possible set an alarm that wakes you up 30 – 40 minutes before your actual departure time.
In case you have diet issues, it is highly advisable to communicate them a head of time and also if you often get food poisoning and you want to try out new meals always carry your medication else try to stay away from anything new on your gorilla safari. We also advice to take a glass of red wine after your meal so that it can stabilize anything that might want to start stomach upsets.
Additionally, you can opt to stick to fruits and a few energy giving snacks till you are done with your gorilla trekking safari. It is a nasty experience to go gorilla trekking only to keep in need of a washroom every now and again.
Mountain Gorilla Safari Packing List
Gorilla safaris in Africa are now days, East Africa’s must do activity. One of the common mistake travelers make is coming on a gorilla trekking safari with inappropriately packing list. Some come with sandals, shorts which are not the right clothes for such an activity.
The landscape of Bwindi Impenetrable (Uganda) is slightly different from that of Mgahinga (Uganda) and Volcanoes National Parks(Rwanda) but they are all located at higher elevations hence this makes them rainy, humid and cold especially in the nights.Truth is that while trekking you are not hiking on comfortable tracks, but sometimes there are no trails at all or you hike following very small trails.
Therefore as you plan your Gorilla safaris in either Uganda or Rwanda, this draws you to wear the right clothing to protect you from coldness, thorn pricks, nettles or insect bites such as flies and soldier ants.
“Pack right-Wear Right clothing”. Below are our recommendations on “What to wear for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda”.
Long Sleeved Shirts – Long Trousers (Recommended)
You need to wear a long sleeved shirt and Long trousers (can be either Khaki zip-up trousers or jeans) in fact if you can get waterproof trousers wear those. Both long trousers and long sleeved shirts protect you from branches, nettles, thorns or anything else that can prick/scratch you.
Cotton undergarments are recommended, also theladies should ensure that they wear comfortable bras since the hike can be tough.
Some visitors ignore this advice and wear shorts and t-shirts, truth is by the end of the day the exposed skin has scratches, therefore ensure you follow this advice.Waterproof Hiking Sturdy Boots
The hiking trails can be slippery especially when it rains therefore a pair of waterproof hiking boots is required. The shoes should be comfortable for you, in fact Rangers and Trekkers usually wear rubber boots or gumboots. Therefore you can’ see any one wearing white snickers, sandals or any inappropriate footwear.
Hiking boots will give you good stability, balance, traction and support to your ankles, with these also wear good and thick socks. It is important to tuck your trousers into your socks, this sounds and may look unfashionable but it will protect you against fire ants.
This seems a joke, but it is right. These strong gardening gloves are going to be used in gorilla trekking not in gardening. They will help you support your selves on branches or vines, the gloves also give you protection against nettles such that you don’t get scratched.
You can put them off when you meet the Gorillas in order to take good photos.
Gorillasare trekked in the rainforest and usually in the morning hours, therefore rain might fall at any time whether it’s a dry season or not, and therefore rain jacket should come handy.
A poncho can also be worn, most trackers, rangers and porters wear it. If you are carrying one, carry a light one which you can easily fold and kip in your bag pack until you need it the next time.
All you need is a good wide-brimmed hat on an expensive Tilley Hat, the hat protects your head and neck from rain or the sun. Onemight choose to wear a baseball cap but t will not protect your neck form the scotching sun after the mist in the mountains has disappeared.
Alternatively, if you don’t come with the hat from home, you could buy one form any local craft markets in the country where you will be trekking gorillas from.
By the end of the trek you will be glad that you wore your hat.
During the trek you come across different insects therefore wears a lot of insect repellent will protect you, also you can apply a sunblock cream on your exposed body parts.
For trackers who are on a Gorilla Habituation Experience, which takes a full days are advised to bring the repellent in their back pack.
Someone might wonder, a sweater in Africa? Yes, and it is important that you carry one or a cardigan to be worn in the early mornings and cool nights. It really gets so cold at night. In Mgahinga Gorilla Park or Volcanoes National Park, the temperature is at10°C/50°F and in Bwindi Impenetrable it’s at11°C/52°F and some times it’s lower than this.
Therefore, this is why the luxury lodges here have fireplaces in cottages or rooms and other lodges give visitors hot water bottles for comfort throughout the cold night.