Unique, Personalized, and Unforgettable Interactions
While many nature lovers have enjoyed at least one African safari, very few can say they’ve enjoyed the company of gorillas during their travels.
Here’s why you should make this incredible activity an essential adventure in life and add it to the top of your bucket list.
1. Gorilla Trekking is the Only Way to See Mountain Gorillas
All the world’s mountain gorillas live in two isolated groups deep in the forests of the Virunga Volcanoes in Uganda and in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. These high-altitude bamboo and montane forests are their ideal habitat, and they don’t thrive anywhere else.
That means you can only see mountain gorillas in their home environment. They can’t survive in zoos.
2. Gorillas Are Interesting Creatures
Mountain gorillas are closely related to humans and have a DNA makeup that’s around 98% the same as ours.
It’s fascinating and almost surreal to witness the similarities between these large primates and our own species.
Their facial expressions are uncannily like ours; they cuddle up at night to keep warm and express themselves via a range of over 16 different vocalizations.
Like us, they live in family groups and express affection for their infants by carrying them around, playing with them, and hugging them.
In many other ways, it’s also interesting to observe the differences between our two species.
Gorillas are much bigger, heavier, and more powerful than we are. They can eat constantly for a quarter of the day, consuming mostly plants with a sprinkling of larvae, snails, and ants.
Gorilla families comprise a dominant male, and several females with their young and can live for up to 40 years.
3. You Could be Running Out of Time
We all know that mountain gorillas are incredibly rare, but did you know there are only just over 1 000 wild gorillas left on Earth.
Habitat destruction due to farming and conflict with humans are the major causes of declining gorilla populations.
Locals who live in the area need to enter gorilla habitats to find water and firewood which places the gorillas at risk of contracting human illnesses. Many of these same locals also rely on bushmeat for survival and set traps and snares for their quarry, which can cause accidental injury to the gorillas.
In turn, the gorillas can’t resist the temptation of an easy meal comprising cultivated maize and bananas, which causes conflict with their human neighbours.
These factors combined pose a significant threat to gorillas in the wild and conservationists are having a hard time keeping the existing populations safe and healthy. Despite the successes achieved by dedicated gorilla custodians, no one can exclude the possibility of extinction for these magnificent beasts.
In some cases, poorly managed gorilla tours can also pose a threat to declining gorilla populations, so it’s vital to ensure you work with a reputable and licensed safari operator when you book your tour.
4. Gorilla Trekking Supports Conservation
The close genetic relationship between gorillas and humans makes them highly susceptible to human-borne diseases. As such, gorilla-viewing tourism while a potential solution to multiple problems does pose risks to their health, and gorilla trekking is strictly monitored and regulated.
Many of the rules surrounding these outings are like those implemented during the COVID pandemic.
Trekkers must wear masks, never approach within ten metres of the gorillas, and may not participate in a gorilla expedition if they show any signs of illness.
All these regulations are reiterated and enforced before and during your gorilla tour. A sizable portion of the money received from gorilla trekking licenses and tours goes toward conservation efforts to protect these species for generations to come.
Tourism also encourages a positive attitude toward the gorillas among local people, as many of them earn an income from gorilla trekking.
Without the input from gorilla trekking, conservationists would experience even greater difficulty in preserving these critically endangered animals.
5. An Authentic, Elite Experience
Gorilla trekking is strictly controlled with limited licenses or visas issued every year, so it’s not something you can arrange on a whim. This makes gorilla trekking a rare privilege that you can enjoy free from crowds of tourists and allows tour operators to offer personalized service to their guests.
Seeing wild animals in their natural habitat is an authentic experience and the best way to gain a true understanding and appreciation of any species.
Discover Joy on Your African Travels
Gorilla trekking offers unique, customized safari encounters for true nature lovers. The thrill of hiking through scenic forests filled with birds and small creatures is an unforgettable experience and a top contender for any traveller’s bucket list.
If you’d like to explore more ways to maximize your African adventures, browse our travel guide and blog for insights into the best places to get your travel fix across the continent.
Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.