Choosing a gorilla family group to trek – Do I get to choose which gorilla family to track?
Choosing a gorilla family group to trek – Gorilla trekkers always ask which is the easiest Gorilla family to trek is, so that they enjoy their life time Gorilla tracking experience. Rwanda a Gorilla permit price is USD1500 per person per trek and Uganda a Gorilla permit price is at USD700 per person per trek but tourists want to enjoy the experience of Gorilla tracking by looking for the easiest Gorilla family to trek.
Each Gorilla trekking day, a traveler is allocated to one Gorilla family in a group of eight people. The management of respective Gorilla National Parks does the allocation of Gorilla families considering different factors. Much as a traveler can choose which Gorilla family he/she wishes to trek, the park management is fully responsible to allocate these Gorilla families accordingly hence can accept or change the traveler’s choice.
In Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, habituated mountain Gorilla families are split in four sectors of Buhoma in the North, Ruhija in the East, Rushaga and Nkuringo in the South, which together make up this impenetrable forest. Gorilla family allocation is done every morning during the pre- trekking briefing about the dos and the don’ts while in the forest.
Why a Mountain Gorilla group to trek allocated on the actual day of trekking?
On the day of Gorilla tracking that trekkers are allocated Gorilla families to trek. The unpredictable movements of the mountain Gorillas from one place to another make it difficult to allocate them before. At the end of each day, groups of trackers/park rangers hike into the jungle to follow up where different Gorilla families will sleep and then go very early to check on them, and communicate to the park headquarters about the whereabouts of mountain Gorillas families that morning. It’s after this communication that park management decode who to trek which Gorilla family depending on the physical fitness, location of the Gorilla family. The following are the factors you should consider before choosing a Gorilla family to trek.
Location of Mountain Gorillas
One has to know the location of the Gorilla family you want to trek. Some travelers read Gorilla families on the Internet but mistake those of Rwanda and Uganda. You should first of all understand which Gorilla families live in Uganda or Rwanda. If you choose to trek in Uganda, understand which Gorilla families live in which sector such as Buhoma in the North, Ruhija in the East, Rushaga and Nkuringo in the South of Bwindi forest.
The location of your accommodations
Choosing a Gorilla family group to trek near your hotel/lodge of your accommodation is very helpful. This saves you the hustle of waking up early hence shortening the transfer distance from the lodge to the Gorilla trekking trail-head. Travelers who are trekking Gorillas in Bwindi Forest National Park are reminded to book Gorilla permits depending on the location of their lodges. Fortunately, each sector has luxury, mid-range and budget accommodation facilities to serve travelers with excellent food and sleeping services. Much as you can sleep in one sector and trek in the other, it’s very hectic and this always happens because of the availability of Gorilla permits at the time of booking. The long hours of driving from region to another make traveler tired before trekking hence worst experience. Travelers are therefore reminded to choose Gorilla families close to their lodges to ease transfers to and from.
A certain level of physical fitness is required while allocating you a Gorilla family to trek. Travelers are urged to disclose their physical fitness to their guide/park rangers so that they can get a Gorilla family they can hike. Mountain Gorilla hikes are rated as short, medium and tough depending on the ease or toughness of finding them. Some Gorilla groups live near and are easy to find in the shortest time possible while others live in higher altitude areas hence difficult to trek. Travelers who are physically unfit are given short Gorilla treks while the physically fit given Gorilla families in a far distance though there is no guarantee since these Gorillas keep changing locations at all times. The travelers failure to disclose his/her physical abilities to the guide may lead to failure to reach where mountain Gorillas area. Similarly seniors are also given simple Gorilla families, which are easily found unlike the young ones who have to hike to areas of higher altitudes since they are claimed to be physically fit and energetic.
Availability of Gorilla permit
Consider the availability of Gorilla permits for a Gorilla family you intend to trek. A Gorilla permit is a pass which allows you to see mountain Gorillas and spend time with them in their natural habitat. Each Gorilla family has eight 8 permits available every day for eight clients. Once all permits are booked, you cannot trek that Gorilla family. Travelers are therefore reminded to ask about Gorilla permit availability and choose a Gorilla family depending on the availability of Gorilla permits. The cost of Gorilla permits varies in each country costing USD1500 in Rwanda and USD700 in Uganda.
Gorilla trekking is a best wildlife experience in the wild. Choosing a Gorilla family group to trek of your choice rewards you with a best Gorilla tracking experience. Book a Gorilla safari to Uganda and Rwanda with Great Adventure Safaris, meet the Mountain Gorillas face to face and enjoy this remarkable adventure that happens once in a lifetime.