Gorilla trekking is becoming increasingly popular as a tourist activity.
Global soft adventure travelers are beginning to add gorilla safaris to their "Bucket List" or "Before I Die" lists as a must do. With only fewer than 700 mountain gorillas remain in existence, you don’t want to wait too long.
The gorilla is the largest primate, weighing as much as 600 lbs or 275 kg.
The peak season runs from June to September and then again from mid December to the end of February.
Travel can be slower in the rainy season but the views are often better. Gorilla tracking can be muddier, but not unpassable. In the mountainous areas it is much colder than on the plains and the rainfall is greater.
Just don't be too rigid on this and you should go when it is most convenient, as the rain which is often for short periods, is part of the great experience.
Gorilla trekkers range from 15 (minimum age) to 80 years old who are in good physical condition, and are generally people with an interest in having a unique experience unlike any other. They can be simply vacation travelers, photographers, students, and culturalists.
An attractive feature of gorilla safaris is the limited group size usually not more than 8 travelers to a group.
A one day gorilla trek can take anywhere from one to seven hours, and are led by experienced and knowledgeable guides and security guards. It is advised that you book with a reputable tour operator out of Rwanda or Uganda.
The range of accommodations can run from budget to luxury tent camping with in-tent bathrooms and hot water, and fine dining.
The mountain gorillas can be found along the volcanoes of the Virunga Range along the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and The Congo (DRC), and in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in southwest Uganda.
The most strenuous part of the trek to the gorillas usually takes between two and three hours, but can be as quick as 30 minutes and as long as seven to eight hours. The group, usually no more than eight, moves at a pace to geared to the level of all the hikers in the group. The make-up of groups is generally done with consideration given to physical ability.
Yellow fever is required and anti malarial drugs are recommended. The risk from Cholera is low is very low to adults, and the benefit of a vaccination is questionable.
The recommended trekking gear is long trousers and shirts when in the forest to avoid nettle stings. Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots are essential, and rain gear and a sweater or sweatshirt is recommended.
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