The Gorilla Trekking Guidelines are for you planning on trekking Mountain Gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda or the D.R – Congo. The following briefing information would apply equally well in any of the 3 countries where you may trek Mountain Gorilla’s. Much of the extract has been taken from the printed leaflet by the Uganda Wildlife Authority ‘Gorilla Rules’ with additional information added!
Lets kick this off with the easiest most neglected tip – before departing for your Gorilla Trek – Always wash your hands before you head out to the gorillas.
The rainy season is from March till May and October till November. Light rain season falls in November and December. Dry seasons are from December to February and June to August. The best time, the best months of the year would be December to late February and from June to September.
Uganda is suitable for travel any time of the year. Uganda is sunny most of the year with temperatures rarely rising above 29 degrees (84 degrees Fahrenheit). The average annual temperature is about 26 degrees Celsius (78° Fahrenheit). For a gorilla Safari you need to be fairly fit, equipped for the humid, muddy conditions of a rainforest hike, and healthy. You will not be permitted to go gorilla trekking if you have a cold or similar illness because gorillas are susceptible to many human diseases. The region’s mid-December to February and June to September dry seasons are the best time to go gorilla trekking but you can still expect a tough day on foot: it’s sometimes humid, wet and muddy with steep slopes and tangled vegetation. Nevertheless, the chances of finding a gorilla family are often around 95%.
Once a habituated gorilla family has been located by your guides, you can settle down for an hour to observe them as they feed and groom while their babies tumble about the undergrowth – all under the watchful gaze of the great silverback male. Sitting only a few meters from a gorilla and looking into its soft brown eyes is a spine-tingling experience not easily forgotten.
The mountain gorillas (Gorilla Gorilla Berengie), the world’s most endangered ape, is found only in small portions of protected Afro-montane forests in northwest Rwanda, southwest Uganda and eastern DRC. The mountain gorillas are one of many species unique to these forests. The forests are also home to many wonderful birds, primates, large mammals, reptiles, insects and plants and also ensure continued water and medical plant resources for the local communities.
The mountain gorillas are divided into two populations and current figures estimate the total population to be about 600 individuals. One population is found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP), in S.W. Uganda, covering about 330km2, and the ecologically homogenous (salem flora and fauna), covering three contiguous National Parks in three countries.; Mgahinga GorillaNational Park in Uganda, Volcano National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, covering an approximate total area of 300km2.
The threats to the remaining gorilla population and its habitat are many. One of these threats is the possibility of disease transmission form humans to gorillasand vice versa. In order to address the issue of potential disease transmission to the gorillas and to mitigate behavioral disturbances to this fragile population, the gorilla rules have been developed.
By following these rules and through the purchase of the permit, You too are contributing to the conservation of the mountain gorilla. Uganda Wildlife Authority uses the funds generated from the sale of this permit for the management of the National Parks. A percentage of the funds raised from Park entrance fees are also donated to local communities living adjacent to the parks to contribute to their development and improve natural resource management in the region.