Gorilla Watching ToursAugust 1, 2023
See Gorillas in AfricaAugust 1, 2023
Gorilla watching, also known as gorilla trekking or gorilla tracking, is a thrilling and rewarding wildlife experience that involves observing endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. This activity is typically conducted in certain parts of East and Central Africa, where mountain gorillas can be found.
Key destinations for gorilla watching are:
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda: Located in the Virunga Mountains, this park is home to several habituated gorilla groups and is one of the most popular places for gorilla trekking.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda: Situated in southwestern Uganda, Bwindi is renowned for its dense and ancient rainforest, which provides a habitat for several gorilla families.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Uganda: Also situated in the Virunga Mountains, this park offers another opportunity to see mountain gorillas in Uganda.
Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo: This park is part of the Virunga Massif and provides a unique chance to witness gorillas in the wild. However, due to security concerns in some parts of the country, it’s essential to check for the latest travel advisories before planning a visit.
Gorilla watching is strictly regulated and requires a permit, as the authorities limit the number of daily visitors to minimize stress on the gorillas and their habitat. Permits can be quite expensive, but the proceeds are used for conservation efforts, protection of the gorillas, and supporting local communities.
A typical gorilla watching experience involves hiking through dense forests, led by experienced guides and trackers. The trekking duration can vary depending on the location of the gorilla group you’re assigned to and the gorilla’s movements. Once the gorillas are located, visitors are allowed a short amount of time (usually around one hour) to observe and photograph them from a safe distance.
It’s important to follow specific guidelines during the trek to ensure the safety and well-being of the gorillas and their environment. These guidelines typically include maintaining a distance from the gorillas, refraining from direct eye contact, avoiding flash photography, and not littering.
Gorilla watching not only offers a rare encounter with one of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom but also contributes to the conservation of these magnificent creatures and the protection of their habitats. As it involves walking in rough and sometimes challenging terrain, it’s recommended that participants be physically fit and prepared for the trekking adventure.