In the quest to capture the perfect Instagram photo, many people travel to exotic locales to test their luck and see if their special someone is as captivated by nature as they are. For some travelers, gorilla trekking in Africa is a must-do. The animals of the continent have become well-known for their friendly nature and willingness to cuddle. This makes them an excellent photo subject, especially when taken from a distance. Gorillas share 98 percent of their DNA with humans and are often referred to as our closest relatives. But just because we’re related doesn’t mean we should do things the same way. While gorillas are gentle creatures who will often allow people to pass directly through their habitat, there are several risks that come with taking part in gorilla trekking.
To make sure your trip to Africa is filled with memorable memories instead of scary moments, check out these tips for doing gorilla trekking in Africa:
Watch out for wildlife endangerment.
Wildlife in the wild can be incredibly unpredictable and male gorilla habitat in the Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo is severely endangered by poaching. Boasting one of the most diverse primate populations in the entire world, the Kivu region is home to mountain gorillas, slave-labor-era mountain gorillas, and a few endangered mountain forest species. It’s essential to be careful when around wildlife, and not just in the wild. In highly populated areas like Kinshasa, park rangers are often the only wildlife professionals on the ground. Visitors to the sites where these animals live should remember to be careful around wild animals as well.
Always travel with a guide.
Guides are a critical part of any trip to an exotic location. They can help you navigate the signs and etiquette of various cultures, as well as assist with photography and wildlife spotting. As you’re planning your gorilla trek, you should consider hiring a local guide from a recommended tour agency like gorilla safaris. They can assist you with local knowledge and help you identify local wildlife. It’s important to remember that wildlife encounters are often more nerve-wracking for the guide than for the visitors. If possible, go with a guide who has much more experience in Gorilla Trekking. This will provide you with more experience and a better understanding of the risks and rewards of the experience.
Pay your guides to do a better job.
Be sure to pay a guide reasonably to get a better guide service. When it comes to gorillas, a portion of the guide fee goes to the national park where the trek is conducted. But depending on the park and the circumstances, guides may be pressured into doing extra work to earn a higher hourly rate. If you’re not sure whether your guide is being honest with you, ask.
Don’t go it alone.
As you plan your trip, consider bringing along a friend or family member who is at least as knowledgeable about wildlife as you are. If you’re concerned about not being able to do everything by yourself, or about being too exposed without a companion, consider bringing along a friend. There are plenty of hostels and hotels that can provide a safe and stable environment for two people. Also, agencies like Rwanda Gorilla can help partner you with someone or a team.
Have some backup plans.
If things get too hectic, or if you get sick of gorillas, plan for an escape. Trekking through national parks is strenuous and requires carrying your own food and water, as well as your own supplies of climbing, trekking, and mountaineering gear. If you end up getting too exhausted or sick to continue, you could face an incredibly difficult time finding a doctor or medical facility who would be willing to treat you in your home country. Make sure you have some ideas of how to get yourself back on your feet in case things start to look bad. Also, do a proper medical test to make sure you are fit for such a journey.
Gorilla trekking gear is essential.
You’re going to spend the majority of your trip in pretty casual clothing, so you don’t need to go to the extremes. A good rule of thumb is to wear comfortable clothes that you can wear while hiking, trekking, or climbing. As you’re planning your trip, consider adding pieces to your wardrobe that you might need for gorilla trekking. This will help you look presentable at all times and will also make you feel prepared when you’re actually on the trail.
Gorilla trekking risks.
While most people will have a blast on their gorilla trek, there are risks that come with it. Natural hazards like flood, fire, and mudflow can scupper your plans. During the rainy season, which is usually in the middle of the year, flood and fire risks are even higher. And if you don’t have the right equipment, or if something goes wrong, you could end up stranded in the middle of nowhere and hungry and thirsty. Make sure you have the right gear for the job and know how to use it. If you get stuck, or if something goes wrong, don’t try to struggle against the animals. They’re too strong for you and will easily overpower you. Simply follow the animals and their paths back to the river or water source, and you’ll be fine.
What Time Is the Best Time to Go Gorilla Trekking?
During the wet season (June through September and December through February), the gorillas are less likely to come into contact with humans. However, the best time to go gorilla trekking is during the dry season (December through February). You can still get permits for gorilla tour during these months, but you will probably need to book them in advance. During these months, there are usually plenty of people in the forests, so expect the queue to be long.
If you’re considering going to Africa to do gorilla trekking, you’re in good company. Gorilla safari holidays are one of the most spectacular up close and personal wildlife experiences: encountering our distant cousins in mist-draped forests. Volcanoes (Rwanda) and Bwindi (Uganda) are the two main national parks for gorilla tracking but be sure to secure your permit months in advance.
The animals of this continent are some of the most fascinating on the planet. Their personalities and ways are very similar to those of humans, and they often allow people to interact with them. But don’t forget, you must do your due diligence and follow proper procedures when it comes to gorilla trekking. There are risks involved, and you must be aware of them so that you can effectively plan for them. Ready to start planning your trip to Africa? Get started today by booking your trip to Africa at Gorilla Trek Africa. And remember, the more you know about doing gorilla trekking, the better your chances of having a safe, enjoyable experience. Take the time to get to know the animals, and you’ll be rewarded with photos that you and your friends will love to post on social media!