There are currently a number of habituated gorilla families living in both Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and each family can be visited by a maximum of 8 visitors per day.
Every morning, all persons going on the trek are transferred to the Park HQs where they are mixed and divided into groups of 8 and assigned a gorilla family to track and a guide to lead them.
Prior to meeting and briefing guests at around 0700 hrs, the national park trackers will usually have an idea of where the gorillas might have been the previous night and will lead guests there. The probability of seeing the gorillas once you start the trek is virtually guaranteed, it just may take some time.
The gorillas live at a high altitude and the actual process of tracking involves walking long distances through thick vegetation, up steep, wet and muddy terrain. This means it could prove difficult for some people, however if you pace yourself and walk slowly no able-bodied person should really be deterred from making the trip.
As you approach the gorillas the guides will have you 'talk' to the gorillas with soothing belches to let them know that people are about and mean them no harm. The guides inform trackers of the appropriate behaviour, particularly in regard to the silverback male gorilla. Viewing time is limited to a maximum of one hour which usually involves slipping and scrambling on the slopes to get a good position to photograph the various family members or to keep up with playful juveniles. Looking deep into the expressive brown eyes of a gorilla is surely the most exciting and poignant wildlife encounter that Africa has to offer.
Trekking takes anything from 2 to upwards of 4 hours. Trekkers are usually back at the base hotel by around lunch time, but this is not guaranteed.
Gorilla permits are currently US$1,500 per person in Rwanda and US$700 in Uganda (subject to change).
A number of Mahlatini staff have been privileged enough to experience gorilla trekking in both Uganda and Rwanda. We would be more than happy to share our thrilling experiences with you and create a special gorilla trekking holiday that you will treasure.
Note: It is important to understand that gorilla tracking permits are limited in number. A maximum number of tickets are sold per day on a first come first served basis and they sell fast. At the time of booking we would request an advance payment to purchase/guarantee permits and these are non-refundable and non-transferrable. Unfortunately, children under the age of 15 years are not allowed on gorilla treks.
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