What to expect on my gorilla trekking experience.
Trekking the mountain gorilla's in Uganda is an exclusive experience. Perhaps you are doubting whether to buy these expensive trekking permits? Perhaps you want a better understanding of what to expect and whether this activity is something for you? Or you are thrilled that Roadtrip Uganda secured your gorilla trekking permits, and you want to arrive well prepared.
In this Travel Guide you find everything you need know about Gorilla Trekking in Uganda. For practical information about gorilla trekking locations in Uganda, the costs of a permit and how to obtain those - refer to the gorilla & chimp trekking guide in the practical info section of this website.
Whats the day of gorilla trekking like?
You have to arrive at the trekking location at 07:45 AM. Depending on where you sleep and your trekking location, it can still be an hours's drive, off-road. So most probably you wake up when its still dark, have an early morning breakfast and drive to your location in the morning twilight.
The guide from the Uganda Wildlife Association will give an introduction. Every group consists of maximum 8 tourists and some UWA rangers. You can opt for a porter to take your bag. Don't feel obliged to ask. These are local men and women who can earn some income by carrying your things.
The trekking starts at 8.30AM. Depending on where the gorillas were the previous day, the tracking can take 2 to 6 hours. Once the rangers have found the gorilla's, you can spend 1 hour with the gorilla family. The time with the gorilla's is capped, so they don't get used to too much human interaction, and are left without any human presence for 23 hours a day.
Walk at your own pace. The 1 hour watching starts when the whole group is together, so don’t feel hurried by fellow trekkers who want to reach there quickly.
After the gorilla sighting, you’ll go back to the starting point where you parked your Roadtrip rental car. A tip for the rangers and porters is highly appreciated.
Some practical tips for your gorilla trekking day:
- Wear long sleeved clothes to protect yourself from scratches and insect bites as you are walking through thick bush.
- Go on good walking/hiking shoes that are comfortable for handling slippery slopes.
- Gloves can be great addition as you need to grab a lot of twigs and trees.
- To put in your bag: waterproof jacket / poncho, insect repellant, sunscreen, enough water ( 2L) and food for during your tracking
- Has it rained? Grab a walking stick at the beginning of the tracking
- Picture close-ups are very appealing, try a close-up of a hand, feet or face.
- Take some time to watch the gorillas without taking pictures. Put your camera away and simple realise where you and enjoy!!
How fit do I need to be for gorilla trekking?
How strenuous the hike is, depends on the whether conditions ( has it rained/ is it raining) and how far away the gorilla's are. Although the hike could potentially take 6 hours, this is really rare, and it most of the times takes around 2 -3 hours. Roadtrip Uganda thinks your fitness level should not prevent you from a mountain gorilla trek. A moderate level of fitness ( walking) is enough. People from various ages up to mid seventies do the hike. A porter can assist, and the use of a local walking stick is an excellent aid. The right clothing and boots with traction will make the Gorilla Trek an easier/ better experience.
Want to read more?
Want to read more about gorilla trekking in Uganda? Roadtripper and life long traveller Patriija wrote about here gorilla trekking experience, here.