It is agreeable that undertaking a gorilla safari to Uganda is a rewarding and heart-warming experience, which appears in bucket lists of most travellers to Africa. The eminence of gorilla safaris in the African Continent has for several years been evidenced by the thousands of visitors who make way into Uganda to have the up-close encounter with the Giant Apes in their natural environment. While making preparations of e gorilla safari to Uganda, it is important to have a clue of what to expect from the time you arrive the gorilla destination, before, during and after the trekking process among others.
A gorilla safari to Uganda is undertaken in two Gorilla National Parks-Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in the south-west of the country and therefore it is possible to visit the two places without so much strain and time wasting. In the whole course of the trip, several events (good and bad) happen and therefore it is important to always be prepared for smooth flow of your journey and in the end have unforgettable experiences.
On the actual trekking day
There are a number of things to expect on the actual trekking day of the gorilla safari to Uganda but one thing for sure is that it is one of the most unforgettable days of your lifetime. Part of the most thrilling moments of this day is just pondering on where and when you will find the Giant Apes. The Mountain gorillas as their name suggests live in mountainous areas, usually ranging between 2500 and 4000 meters above sea level with thick vegetation and steep slopes as well as rugged terrains thus expect challenging and generally tiring treks. To avoid running out of breath, visitors are advised to walk as their own pace in addition to having enough drinking water to keep hydrated throughout the trek.
An early breakfast starts-off the day and this is usually provided at the Lodge, together with lunch box and this is followed by briefing at the Park headquarters from 7:00 to 8:00am. Even while trekking, visitors are constantly reminded on the guidelines as a way of protecting visitors and mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Also get the opportunity to hire a porter before entering into the jungles. Depending on the location of the allocated gorilla group, trekking takes half an hour to four hours before the Giant Apes are finally found but expect a memorable experience. Rangers/guides leading your group will be in constant radio contact with trackers for information regarding the location of the mountain gorillas, depending on the nests of previous night.
While spending the allotted one hour, get a chance to be thrilled by the physical appearance of these creatures or watch them go about their activities such as playing, copulating, suckling babies, resting, grooming and munching on vegetation. The way back to the starting point (Park Headquarters) is usually shorter and less hectic but you will be awarded a Gorilla Trekking certificate at the end of the trek. Don’t also forget to tip guides/rangers and porters (normally ranges from $10 to $20 per person).
Packing list for Gorilla safari to Uganda
For any successful gorilla safari to Uganda, a packing list is crucial for your comfort while walking through the dense vegetation, steep slopes and sometimes muddy/slippery trails. Therefore, make sure that you have sturdy hiking boots, gardening gloves, long-sleeved shirts, insect repellants, long safari pants, energy giving snacks, wide brim hats, first aid kit, rain jacket, toiletries, sunglasses, your travel documents, sunscreen, valid gorilla permit, re-usable water bottle, cotton socks, warm sweater, to mention but a few.
When is the best time to undertake a gorilla safari to Uganda?
Gorilla safaris to Uganda are wonderfully amazing and rewarding all year round, although each of the two seasons (wet and dry) offers its own opportunities and challenges as well as special enticement. For this reason, there is really no best time to undertake gorilla safaris to Uganda. The most important thing to keep in mind is that gorilla treks are guaranteed regardless of season because even in the rainy season, rains do happen all day.
The rainy/wet season is when rains are heavy, vegetation is lusher and denser making treks more difficult as hiking trails become muddy and slippery but expect wonderful photographic opportunities. In the dry season, there are reduced rains that result into sparser vegetation and drier hiking trails that offer less challenging treks. For this reason, this is also the peak season for gorilla safaris to Uganda.
Booking your gorilla safari to Uganda
You can book your gorilla safari to Uganda in two ways. The first option is directly contacting service providers-Uganda Wildlife Authority for gorilla permits, Rental Car Companies for ground transportation and accommodation facilities (where you will be spending nights and eating during the gorilla safari to Uganda). The second option is leaving the entire booking process for the Tour Operator (booking for gorilla permits, transport and places of lodging), but you will be required to pay extra (in terms of commission).