The African continent is abundantly rich in safari destinations for those whose quest it is to spend precious time in the company of the great apes during a gorilla trekking experience.
These country windows into the homes of the continent’s primates are fiercely protected by dedicated rangers who often sacrifice their lives performing their duties.
Sharing 99% of the DNA of homo sapiens, gorillas are the closest living relatives to humans. They are the largest primates, and two species (with four subspecies) call the tropical forests and mountains of Central and West Africa home—the Western gorilla (Western lowland, Cross River) and the Eastern gorilla (Eastern Lowland, Mountain).
Encounters of this nature are, however, not for the fainthearted, but the soul-quenching reward is worth more than any of the sweat and tears visitors may shed in their search for these captivating creatures. Through a careful and scientific approach, these wild things have been habituated to human presence in their natural habitat.
Image by Luke Wait Photography
Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
The lush landscape of Rwanda is a favourite destination of visitors seeking a once in a lifetime gorilla trekking experience. Twelve family groups of mountain gorillas, numbering over 400 individuals and including a handful of the famed silverbacks, are carving out an existence in the Virunga Mountains in the Volcanoes National Park.
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Uganda is another wildlife haven where a safari experience of this kind is at the top of most visitors’ bucket list. Just the name of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park alone paints a picture of the potential of unique and thrilling encounters to be had in the presence of close on 400 mountain gorillas.
Gorilla Trekking in the DRC
The Democratic Republic of the Congo rounds out the top three destinations in Africa when it comes to gorilla trekking. The incredible biodiversity of the Virunga National Park, from open savannah plains to densely forested areas, makes for a fertile environment where the mountain gorilla thrives. Encounters with these majestic animals are sure to leave a lasting impression.
Quick Tips for Gorilla Trekking
Safari-goers who wish to embark on a gorilla trekking adventure should budget well in advance as this safari experience comes with a hefty price tag. Gorilla trekking costs include travelling to the preferred destination, accommodation, mandatory permits for all treks, and payments for porters and guides.
Those looking to traverse the dense forests in search of the great apes of Africa should boast a certain level of fitness, as well as a healthy mind. The trek can be long and arduous, so safari-goers should be prepared. Pack appropriate clothing for strenuous hiking, including durable shoes, waterproof trousers, a raincoat, and a hat.