Gorilla Trekking

Feb 15, 2024

What Is Gorilla Trekking?

Gorilla trekking involves hiking in the dense, tropical rainforests of Africa to witness gorillas in their natural habitat. Treks can range from a few hours to a half day.

What Format Does Gorilla Trekking Take?
The majority of gorilla treks are one day – out and back. You will stay in your accommodation the night before so that you can rise early on the day of your trek and kick off with a briefing around 7.30am.

Briefings cover the plan for the day, safety and how to act when around the gorillas, so there is no need to prepare in advance.

Typically, each group of visitors will be allocated a different route, allowing a maximum of eight people plus their guides. The guides are professionals with a history of tracking so as to maximise the chances of seeing the primates. Though there are no guarantees with animals in the wild, virtually everyone gets to experience what they came for.

Where do the mountain gorillas live

Mountain gorillas are found in the mountainous regions of central Africa. They inhabit dense forests at high elevations. There are two separate populations of mountain gorillas, each residing in different locations:

Virunga Massif:

This population is shared by three adjacent national parks: Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park:

Located in southwestern Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to another population of mountain gorillas.

What to expect on your trek

The hike through the forest is challenging, but it’s within reach for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. You will get muddy though. And sweaty. Beneath the forest canopy the humidity is very high, and it’s a good idea to bring a canteen of fresh water to hydrate as you go.

What to pack for your gorilla trek

Boots – Essential. A good quality pair of hiking boots. Don’t risk it with a cheap pair of sneakers.

Gloves – During the trek you might be grabbing trees, branches and vines, and your hands can get a bit scratched and generally beaten up if you’re not careful. Pack a tough old pair of gardening gloves. 

A light rain jacket – Bwindi and Virunga are both tropical rainforests, and there’s a good chance of rain almost year-round. Pack a light-weight poncho or rain jacket that you can roll up in your bag and bring out if necessary.

Energy snacks – Energy snacks like nuts, dried fruit, chocolate or power bars are a great idea. Just remember to take any rubbish with you as you go.

Water – Bring a reusable canteen (preferably with a purifying filter built in) or a pack of filtration tablets. You’ll need to drink a lot during the trek.

Long pants and shirts – It’s best not to expose too much skin during the jungle trek, and remember to tuck your trousers into your socks.

How long do you spend with the Gorillas

The time it takes to find a gorilla family varies but once you reach them you will get exactly an hour to observe these gentle giants go about their daily lives. You can take photos without flash and your guide will provide information about various rituals and interactions.