Gorilla trekking is the big question on the internet that gives half-baked information regarding the gorilla trekking experience in Africa.
Steady Safaris Limited has endeavoured to answer questions pertaining to gorilla tracking travel arrangements, especially for Uganda. We are a Ugandan tour operator located in Masoli off Gayaza road, Kasangati town council, Wakiso district in Uganda.
Many have written based on their gorilla trekking experience I also thought I should voice my experience based on facts. Below are the questions and answers surrounding gorilla trekking and the wider information.
The activity in which people or travellers take part in the gorilla trekking activity will walk through dense tropical rainforest trails that were made by gorillas. The activity is guided by rangers who do this every day of the year.
Where to go?
There are four subspecies of gorillas the cross river gorilla, the eastern lowland, the western low land and mountain gorillas. The western lowland gorilla is one of two subspecies of the western gorilla that lives in montane, primary and secondary forest and lowland swampland in central Africa in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
The eastern lowland
Also known as Grauer’s gorilla—it is the largest of the four gorilla subspecies. From other gorillas by its stocky body, large hands and short muzzle. Despite their size, eastern lowland gorillas subsist mainly on fruit and other herbaceous materials, just like other gorilla subspecies.
The Mountain gorilla
The world’s smallest population of mountain gorillas—a subspecies of the eastern gorilla—is split in two, and scientists have debated whether they may be two separate subspecies.
A bit more than half live in the Virunga Mountains, a range of extinct volcanoes that border the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.
The western lowland
It is the most numerous and widespread of all gorilla subspecies. Populations can be found in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea, as well as in large areas in Gabon and the Republic of Congo.
The exact number of western lowland gorillas is not known because they inhabit some of the densest and most remote rainforests in Africa. Significant populations still exist, including in swamps and the remote swampy forests of the Republic of Congo.
Because the gorillas are wary of humans and inhabit rugged territory, scientists have been unable to count many of these gorillas directly. Instead, researchers have used indirect signs, such as nest counts and estimated range sizes, to determine that there are only about 200 to 300 of these gorillas left in the wild.
Cost of gorilla trekking
Rwanda comes in with the highest rate at $1,500 per gorilla permit. And Uganda at $700 per permit. The democratic republic of Congo and the rest of central and West Africa at $400. This is for a single-day permit for gorilla trekking cost per person involved in the activity.
The activity of gorilla trekking can only be done in Africa throughout the entire world. So travellers who would like to think of gorilla trekking are required only to consider Africa for the activity. In any other part of the world, you will only see gorillas in the zoo.
Rwanda gorilla excursions
Mountain gorillas are the world’s most endangered ape, threatened by humans and habitat loss, yet the gorillas of Rwanda are one of the world’s greatest conservation success stories.
They are the only primate species on Earth with increasing numbers, and Rwanda has built a thriving industry around gorilla encounters.
The gorillas are fiercely protected by rangers and police. 10% of the revenue from gorilla trekking permits is used for conservation and community development. So your Rwanda gorilla trek will directly contribute to the protection of these beautiful creatures and the surrounding communities.
Witnessing the gorillas in their natural habitat is an incredible privilege and one of the most extraordinary wildlife encounters you’ll ever experience.
Gorilla trekking & covid-19
Gorilla watching has always had one golden rule: don’t go if you feel ill. The DNA of gorillas is so close to ours that they can catch our illnesses. And instead of getting the sniffles, gorillas can get knocked for six by human-borne respiratory infections. Diseases that jump between humans and animals (or zoonotic infections) have caused fatal outbreaks in wild mountain gorilla families in the past.
Covid-19 transmission from humans to gorillas was just a theory. Now we know for sure: eight gorillas in San Diego Zoo Safari Park tested positive for Covid-19 in January 2021.
Experts like the Gorilla Doctors, who work in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have expanded their usual testing to watch out for signs of coronavirus. It is perhaps possible while gorilla trekking to infect gorillas with Covid.
While it’s too soon to say how wild gorillas will react to the virus, there’s a concern for the vulnerable animals who, until recently, encountered tourists almost daily.
Where to go?
Uganda and Rwanda offer the safest gorilla trekking experiences in the whole of Africa. However, If it were up to me to suggest to your where to go gorilla trekking, I would without a doubt recommend Uganda.
Each family will be allowed eight visitors to see it, making it a possibility for trackers to see gorillas. When it comes to price, you cannot compare it to Rwanda, where it costs twice the price of Uganda.
Democratic Republic of Congo
The level of insecurity in DRC makes a lot of tour operators shy away from gorilla trekking Congo. However, DRC would be the best destination for all gorilla trekking if it were a safe destination. Very bold travellers and seasoned tour operators offer trips to DRC. Steady Safaris Limited is among the companies that offer gorilla trekking in DRC.