Frequently Asked Questions about Gorilla Trekking in Uganda & Rwanda
Frequently Asked Questions about Gorilla Trekking in Uganda & Rwanda, What is gorilla trekking? Gorilla trekking is a tourism activity that involves hiking or walking in the forest to find and observe endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
Where can I go gorilla trekking?
Gorilla trekking can be done in Uganda and Rwanda. In Uganda, the gorillas can be found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. While in Rwanda, they can be found in Volcanoes National Park.
When is the best time to go gorilla trekking?
The best time to go gorilla trekking is during the dry season, which is from June to September and December to February. However, gorilla trekking can still be done in other months. Although the experience may be affected by the weather which is quite challenging.
How much does gorilla trekking cost?
The cost of gorilla trekking varies depending on the country and the park you choose. In Uganda, a gorilla permit costs $700, while in Rwanda, it costs $1,500. Thus these permits are usually booked in advance through the respective park authorities or a tour operator.
How fit do I need to be for gorilla trekking?
Gorilla trekking requires a moderate level of fitness as it involves hiking through rough terrain and steep slopes. It is important to consult with your doctor before going for gorilla trekking if you have any health issues.
How long does gorilla trekking take?
Gorilla trekking can take anywhere from 1 to 8 hours, depending on the location of the gorillas and the terrain. It is important to be prepared for a full day hike.
How close can I get to the gorillas?
Visitors are allowed to get as close as 7 meters (23 feet) to the gorillas. But it is important to maintain a safe distance to avoid disturbing the animals.
What should I bring for gorilla trekking?
Some important items to bring for gorilla trekking include sturdy hiking boots. Long pants and long-sleeved shirts, a waterproof jacket, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent. A camera with extra batteries, and plenty of water.
Are there any rules or guidelines for gorilla trekking?
Yes, there are rules and guidelines that must be followed during gorilla trekking to ensure the safety of both the visitors and the gorillas. These rules include maintaining a safe distance from the gorillas, avoiding direct eye contact, and avoiding flash photography.
How many gorillas are left in the world?
As of 2021, it is estimated that there are about 1,063 mountain gorillas left in the world. With almost half of them living in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
Uganda or Rwanda, which is the best country for gorilla trekking?
Both Uganda and Rwanda offer incredible experiences for gorilla trekking, and the best country for gorilla trekking ultimately depends on personal preferences. Here are some factors to consider:
Cost: Gorilla permits are more expensive in Rwanda ($1,500) compared to Uganda ($700). Making Uganda a more affordable option for gorilla trekking.
Accessibility: The gorilla parks in Uganda are more spread out and may require longer travel times. While the parks in Rwanda are relatively close to the capital city of Kigali, making it easier to access the gorilla parks.
Trekking difficulty: The terrain and hiking difficulty in both countries can be challenging. But Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park has shorter and less strenuous hikes compared to Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
Wildlife experience: While both countries offer the opportunity to see gorillas in their natural habitat. Uganda offers a more diverse wildlife experience. With the chance to see chimpanzees, lions, elephants, and other primates.
Ultimately, both countries offer a unique and unforgettable experience with mountain gorillas. And the decision comes down to personal preference and priorities.
Mountain Gorilla Facts
Here are some interesting facts about Mountain Gorillas:
Mountain gorillas are a subspecies of the eastern gorilla and are found in two locations: the Virunga Mountains on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda, and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
- They are one of the largest primates in the world, with males weighing up to 400 pounds and standing over 5 feet tall when upright
- Mountain gorillas have long, thick hair that helps protect them from the cold temperatures in their mountainous habitat.
- They are herbivores and mainly feed on bamboo shoots, leaves, and fruit. Adult males can consume up to 66 pounds of food per day.
- Mountain gorillas live in groups led by a dominant male called a silverback, named after the silver hair on his back. The group also includes females and their offspring.
- The silver back is responsible for protecting the group from predators and other male gorillas who may try to take over the group.
- Mountain gorillas are highly intelligent and have been observed using tools in the wild, such as using sticks to gauge the depth of water before crossing a stream.
- The population of mountain gorillas has been severely impacted by habitat loss, poaching, and human conflict. However, conservation efforts have helped increase their population in recent years.
- The total population of mountain gorillas is estimated to be around 1,000 individuals.
- Mountain gorillas are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and conservation efforts such as anti-poaching patrols, habitat restoration, and community education are crucial to their survival.
What is the habitat of mountain gorillas?
Mountain gorillas are found in two isolated areas, the Virunga Mountains and the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Both of which are located in East Africa.
The Virunga Mountains are a range of volcanoes that span the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. This region is characterized by steep, mountainous terrain. With elevations ranging from 7,500 to 14,800 feet above sea level. The vegetation in the Virunga Mountains is dense and lush. And includes bamboo forests, montane rain-forests, and alpine meadows.
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is located in southwestern Uganda and covers an area of approximately 128 square miles. It is characterized by steep slopes, deep valleys, and high-altitude swamps. Meanwhile, the forest is dense and has a high canopy, with several distinct vegetation zones. For instance lowland forest, montane forest, and bamboo forest.
Both of these habitats provide the mountain gorillas with the food, shelter, and resources they need to survive. The gorillas mainly feed on vegetation. Such as bamboo shoots, leaves, and fruit, which are abundant in these regions. The dense vegetation also provides the gorillas with shelter and protection from predators. While the high altitude and cooler temperatures help to regulate their body temperature.
What is the Average lifespan of mountain Gorillas?
The average lifespan of mountain gorillas in the wild is approximately 35 to 40 years, although some individuals have been known to live longer. In captivity, mountain gorillas have been known to live up to 50 years.
Several factors can affect the lifespan of mountain gorillas, including disease, predation, and human activities such as poaching and habitat destruction. However, conservation efforts, such as anti-poaching patrols and habitat restoration. Have helped to increase the lifespan of mountain gorillas in recent years.
Female mountain gorillas typically give birth for the first time around the age of 10, and they give birth to a single offspring every four to six years. The mother is the primary caregiver for the infant. And she will care for the infant until it is weaned at around three years of age. After weaning, the young gorilla will continue to stay with its mother for several more years and will gradually become more independent.
What is the gestation period of mountain gorillas?
The gestation period of mountain gorillas is approximately 8.5 months, which is similar to that of humans. Female mountain gorillas typically give birth to a single offspring every four to six years, and the newborn weighs around 3-4 pounds at birth.
After birth, the mother will hold the infant close to her chest, and the baby will cling to her fur. The mother will care for the infant, nursing it for about 3 to 4 years, and providing it with protection and guidance as it grows.
However, during this period, the mother will also gradually introduce the infant to the rest of the group, allowing other gorillas to interact with the baby and help care for it. The close bond between mother and offspring is an essential part of mountain gorilla social structure and helps ensure the survival of the species.
What are the Dangers or threat to Mountain gorilla?
Mountain gorillas face several threats, many of which are caused by human activities. Some of the major threats to mountain gorillas include:
- Habitat loss and degradation: The destruction of their forest habitat for agriculture, logging, and other human activities is one of the biggest threats to mountain gorillas.
- Poaching: Mountain gorillas are hunted for their meat, which is considered a delicacy, and for their body parts, which are used in traditional medicine.
- Human-wildlife conflict: As human populations expand into gorilla habitat, there is an increased likelihood of conflict, which can result in gorillas being injured or killed.
- Disease: Gorillas are susceptible to many of the same diseases as humans, and can be infected by viruses and other pathogens carried by humans who visit the parks.
- Climate change: Changes in temperature and rainfall patterns can affect the availability of food and water for gorillas, which can impact their health and survival.
Efforts are being made to protect mountain gorillas from these threats. Conservation organizations, governments, and local communities are working together to establish protected areas, anti-poaching patrols, and community education programs to reduce the impact of human activities on gorilla habitat. However, more work needs to be done to ensure the long-term survival of this endangered species.