Mountain Gorilla Safari Advice
No other wildlife encounter in Africa matches the astounding experience of spending time face-to-face with wild gorillas. Gorilla Trekking takes place in a handful of far flung locations, adding a layer of exotic adventure to a mountain gorilla safari that is hard to match on any other itinerary. The fact that mountain gorillas as a species are on the brink of extinction and treks are a highly restricted activity, encountering wild gorillas is considered a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience.
We’re proud to support gorilla trekking tourism that contributes directly to protecting rainforest habitats and conserving both mountain gorillas. Thanks to income derived directly from tourism, the mountain gorilla population has stabilised, (approximately 880 in numbers worldwide) which gives us hope for the future of gorilla tourism.
How to Go Mountain Gorilla Trekking: While chimp trekking is still in its infancy, gorilla trekking is a tightly regulated activity and we strongly recommend using the experience and planning expertise of one of our Africa Safari Experts. Gorilla Permits are not only expensive but extremely limited and difficult to secure. Immediate payment is necessary as permits are not provisionally held. Logistics can be a challenge, and you’ll need advice on matching an experience with your expectations.
What to Expect on a Gorilla Trek: For a mountain gorilla safari trek you need to be fairly fit, equipped for the humid, muddy conditions of a rainforest hike, and in good health – mountain gorillas are susceptible to human illnesses but don’t have our immunities, which means a common cold can be deadly to a whole family of gorillas and you won’t be permitted to trek if you are unwell. Even in the dry season, the rainforest is a challenging environment: it's humid, wet and muddy with some steep slopes, plenty of insects and thick vegetation. It is absolutely worth the effort to spend time with gorillas in the wild, but be prepared to exert yourself on the gorilla trek.
Your professional guide and gorilla tracker lead you into the forest’s secret paths, looking for a habituated gorilla family. Once found, you’ll approach the gorillas quietly and settle down to observe them from between 7 and 10m (22 to 32 ft) away. You’ll spend between 40 minutes and an hour with the gorillas, watching the adults forage and groom each other while the babies tumble and play. You’ll be under the watchful gaze of the great silverback patriarch, whose soft brown eyes constantly sweep over his family protectively. Witnessing gorillas express typically human gestures and emotions is a truly profound experience and one of the reasons that gorilla trekking is such a life changing encounter.