What To Expect During The Gorilla Trekking Safari: This is what you should expect on the trekking day after settling all the details with your tour operator or agent, getting your gorilla permit ready, and packing all the essential items, such as gloves, trekking boots, long-sleeved clothing, rain jackets, snacks, and a packed lunch (if needed).
When you go to the park headquarters for an early morning pre-tracking meeting with park officials, make sure you have your passport with you. To ensure that you are the authorized owner of the permit, a cross-check of your gorilla permits with your passports will be performed. Since no one can predict how long it will take you to see these gorillas, you are supposed to have your packed lunch ready at this point.
A cup of tea or coffee is offered as you enjoy the entertainment of the local traditional dancers, setting the tone for an exciting and hard day. A ranger guide then provides you with advice on how to behave on this trip. Following a briefing on safety procedures and the day’s events, you will be divided into groups of no more than eight individuals, with one gorilla family assigned to each group for the duration of the journey. Since there are ten gorilla families in Rwanda, eight-Individuals parties are the only ones permitted to track on any given day.
The guests’ age and level of fitness have a major role in the group assignments. For instance, gorilla families that are considered “easy to find” will be assigned to those who are over 45 years old and less fit, as they tend to stay close to the trailheads. Even so, individuals who have particular interests in a given group can let their guides know so that they can work with the rangers to negotiate on the group’s behalf before the groups are assigned, giving them the opportunity to be assigned as well.
Since they are wild creatures in their natural environment, what is thought to be easy to find may not always be so because the animals may stray far in their quest for food. This means that finding them need not always be simple or close by. The entire experience is made more intriguing and unpredictable by the fact that even the ones that are assigned to the physically fit and active tourists—who are usually thought to be difficult to track—may be easily followed on a given day.
Two scouts with AK-47s, one walking in front of the party and the other behind, make up each gorilla tracking group in addition to the lead guide. Scouts with guns are sent into the jungle to guard against ferocious gorillas or wild elephants. The scouts are trained to shoot first to frighten the animals away, but they only use this unusual technique after every other alternative, such as running away from such hazardous animals, has been exhausted. We are not aware of any instance in which these creatures have assaulted tourists, forcing the scouts to use force, even though they frequently advise hiding or staying motionless until the animals go. But the National Park’s approach is to play it safe rather than sorry.
In order to locate your particular gorilla family and determine their possible route, your group will also be accompanied by two trackers who were dispatched early in the morning (before your arrival in the park). The guide decides how best to approach the gorilla family based on the information provided by trackers, which follow the gorilla’s activities.
Please try to inform your guide if you are unsure of your level of fitness so he can assist you in hiring a porter at the park entrance. A porter can be hired for $15 to $20, depending on the weight of the load.
TREKKING TO FIND THE GORILLAS
It is reported that there are significant differences in the duration of your gorilla safari in Africa and the time you will spend with your gorilla family. Finding your gorilla family could take five or seven hours, or it could take as little as thirty minutes.
There are no obvious hiking pathways in the lush, damp, and somewhat light forest. There are many hills and steep volcano slopes in the area, and you will need to use anything like shrubs, twigs, and plant roots to help yourself up the high grades. Take the guide’s advice on the best course of action and shape. Inform your guide if you need a break. To quench your thirst and boost your energy, it’s also a good idea to pack some energy-boosting snacks and bottled mineral water.
ACTUAL ENCOUNTER WITH THE GORILLAS
time runs out the moment your crew locates the gorilla family. To prevent upsetting the gorillas, it is recommended that you remain silent, move gently, and refrain from making abrupt movements. Rather, take a seat and try to avoid staring the gorillas in the eyes, as this could agitate them and give the impression that you want to fight them.
It’s okay to stare a gorilla in the eye, but if he starts to charge at you, maintain your composure and avert your gaze to convey that you are submissive and do not desire a fight. Please remember to turn off the flash lights and sounds when taking pictures. Set up your cameras and get ready to capture as many moments as possible.
The gorillas could be roaming about in the trees, resting on the ground, or playing in the branches above. Seek out the ideal angle for taking pictures and become familiar with all of their behaviors. If they are moving, keep a recommended distance of no less than seven meters and follow them. The most crucial thing is to stay close to your guide and always heed his directions.
In order to provide you with a better, up-close view of the gorillas, the trackers frequently use their machetes to cut through the undergrowth. Considering their enormous size, it is amazing how serene and graceful these animals are. When you witness the mature male silverbacks getting up and displaying their dominance over the area, you will be in complete awe.