Mountain Gorilla Trekking Experience Tips
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A visit to trek mountain gorillas is always part of almost every itinerary of every traveler heading to East Africa, I mean how can you miss out on that world’s wild greatest treasure? Although gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda & Congo requires more active participation compared to other traditional safaris, it is worth it because it is the greatest safari experience you can ever discover from the jungles of East Africa. For those already preparing to take on this magnificent challenge, here are some of the key tips that will make your gorilla trekking experience more fantastic and unforgettable.
Dress for Success
If you are dreaming of having a fantastic gorilla trek experience through the jungles of East Africa, then forget about wearing your usual skinny jeans, tennis shoes or your well-heeled adventurers. All travelers coming to see mountain gorillas in the jungle must dress appropriate ready for muddy trails and the unpredictable ever-changing weather of the rainforests where these awesome mountain gorillas are found. We recommend you to wear layers on top composed of a quick-drying shirt, a fleece layer since it tends to cool down as you stop with the group you are following. The third is the rain layer since rainstorms can happen at any time in the forest, it can be a waterproof jacket but even a cheap poncho can also work. Long pants made of original fabrics are good for the bottom due to the potential cold weather and the thorny bushes that are found in the jungle. Travelers are also warned against wearing shorts and armless tops which expose them to bushes, insects and of course the cold forest weather. In the peak of the rainy season in April and May, you can also bring waterproof pants to wear on top of regular pants and they are not necessary during the off-peak seasons.
A successful gorilla safari entails a walk through ankle-deep mud and knee-deep mud at some points, which may even threaten to pull the boots off your feet. Travelers are therefore advised to wear gators over your boots up to the knee which ensures ease movements through the jungle. Wearing the knee-high rubber wellies with treads on the bottom while trekking guarantees you to stay dry up to knees and your boots can be quickly cleaned and dried out for the next day. Smart-wool socks underneath can accompany these shoes.
Carry Enough Food, Snacks & Drinking Water
Once you set off for your gorilla trekking journey, don’t expect to find any place to buy food or water, therefore, it is good for you to pack at least a liter of water or more and some snacks to keep you rolling. Since some treks last well into the afternoon, you can as well come with some energy bars and fruit to keep you going. Although Volcanoes Safaris lodges provide packed lunch for trekkers it’s always nice to pack your favorite snacks from home especially when you are a picky eater.
Communicate Your Trekking Interests
Although it is not possible to book permits to a specific gorilla group, it is very essential to let your tour operator know your fitness status so that they work with the guides to assign you to a gorilla group that suits your ability. Gorilla groups are scattered throughout the parks with some ranging far afield while others stay close to park boundaries and some even go outside the park. All groups always move to look for food and therefore there is no guarantee that one group will be easier to reach than the other. Luckily you may be able to request to trek specific groups on certain days when fewer tourists are trekking than usual. Groups with baby groups among them tend to be closer and they are popular with tourists. There s a lot of flexibility among the groups and it is not easy to pick the best groups to track because of their size and composition change from year to the other.
Setup your Camera
It is very important to note that flash photography is not allowed since it disturbs the gorillas and this calls upon you to visit your camera manual to ensure that you know how to disable the automatic flash and automatic focus light functions. To avoid having dark photographs of gorillas in the low forest light due to underexposure, you should always try to shoot at ISO 1250 or higher while in the forest. Regardless of the kind of the camera you are intending to go with, always ensure that you keep it in a waterproof bag to protect it from getting wet.
In conclusion, gorilla trekking is the best wildlife encounter every traveler should not miss. Book your gorilla safari to Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo; enjoy an encounter with these critically endangered species in their natural habitat.
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