The Best Times to go Gorilla Trekking
Published: 6 November 2023
Gorilla trekking is an adventure like no other, offering a rare opportunity to witness the magnificent Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat. This experience is a dream for wildlife enthusiasts, adventure seekers and budding Jane Goodalls. In this travel blog, we will explore the magic of gorilla trekking, including the best seasons to visit, what to pack, and what to wear for an unforgettable encounter with these majestic beasts.
Gorilla Trekking: A Journey to the Heart of the Rainforest
Gorilla trekking takes place in the dense rainforests of East and Central Africa, mainly in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These regions are home to the critically endangered Mountain Gorillas, and extensive collective efforts by NGOs and governments to conserve their habitats have made it possible for a limited number of tourists to visit them each day.
The Best Times to Go:
Dry Season (June to September and December to February):These months are considered the best time for gorilla trekking. The dry season offers more accessible hiking trails and relatively mild weather. The gorillas are also more likely to be at lower altitudes, making them easier to locate.
Wet Season (March to May and October to November): While the wet season can be more challenging due to muddy and slippery trails, it has its advantages. The rainforest is lush and vibrant, and the gorillas may be higher up in the mountains, providing a unique experience for more adventurous travelers who don’t mind getting a bit bogged down in mud.
What to Pack:
Sturdy Hiking Boots: Good-quality, waterproof hiking boots with ankle support are essential for navigating the uneven and often muddy terrain. Be sure to wear them in before your trip!
Rain Gear: A lightweight, packable rain jacket or poncho is a must for unexpected rain showers during the trek.
Layered Clothing: Wear moisture-wicking base layers, a long-sleeved shirt, and lightweight pants. Layers allow you to adapt to changing weather conditions and provide protection from thorny vegetation.
Neutral-colored Clothing: Wear earth-toned, non-bright colors to blend in with the forest and avoid startling the gorillas.
Gloves: Durable gardening gloves will protect your hands from stinging nettles, thorns and branches.
Daypack: A small, comfortable daypack is essential for carrying water, snacks, lightweight rain jacket, and your camera equipment.
Insect Repellent: A good quality, DEET-based insect repellent to protect against biting insects in the rainforest.
Sun Protection: Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat to shield you from the sun, especially on the hike back. You’ll also be surprised at how strong the UVs can be on overcast days!
Camera Equipment: A good-quality camera with a telephoto lens is vital to capture the gorillas - although, we’ve even received incredible footage from cellphones which you can view here. Ensure your cameras or phones are in a waterproof bag or case to protect it from the rain and humidity.
Water and Snacks: Stay hydrated with a reusable water bottle and carry energy-boosting snacks and electrolytes to put into your water for the trek.
Personal Items: Don't forget essentials like your passport, visas, trekking permit (although, we take care of this), yellow fever certificates and any required medications.
Gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that connects you with nature in a profound way. The opportunity to observe these gentle giants up close is a privilege and also promotes their further conservation. Following these guidelines for what to pack and wear will help ensure your trek is comfortable and safe.
Regardless of the season you choose, you're in for an awe-inspiring adventure that you'll remember for a lifetime. So, prepare, respect the gorillas and their habitat, and embark on a journey to the heart of the rainforest.
Have questions or would like to know more about specifics when it comes to Rwanda, Uganda or the Democratic Republic of Congo and what else there is to do before and after your gorilla trek? Contact Kirsty Gordon for an obligation-free chat where she can advise you best! Simply pop her an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or reach out via Whatsapp to set up a time that works for you both where she can talk you through specifics and answer any questions you might have about traveling to any of these countries. All of these nations are so much more than ‘just’ a gorilla trek stop - they offer truly immersive and less crowded safaris than their fellow East African neighbors.