Lets look at the daily lifestyle of mountain gorillas from the time they wake up, to end the day when they retire to their nests. Just like human beings with whom the critically endangered mountain gorillas share, DNA, the endangered species program for their entire day. The day of mountain gorillas start as early as 6:00am when the gentle giants set off from their nests for an early morning feeding before they rest in the late morning. The silverback that heads the family determines the activities for the day and the direction to take as they look for fresh foods. Mountain gorillas begin to feed as early as 6:00am unlike in cold weather (rainy season) when gorillas stay longer in their nests. The reason for early feeding is to catch up with fresh vegetation after which the gentle giants go rest for at around midday. This is the time for socialization with the family. The adult females attend to the young ones, breast-feeding, feeding and taking care of the young ones in all ways. The juveniles play around while the silverback looks out for any external intruder. All family members move at once since they do not return to that very place at the end of the day.
Early trackers go to find which direction mountain gorillas has taken so as to give directions to travelers whop come after them. At around midday, a gorilla fail rests.
What do gorillas eat?
You may be wondering what mountain gorillas eat. The gentle giants are herbivorous and entirely feed on vegetation. This comprise of roots, leaves, fruits, shoots, flowers and tree backs. A mature gorilla eats over 50 kilograms of vegetation, which keeps them strong all day to manage their continuous movements.
Just like a human home, mountain gorillas are social and close to each other. Each family is led by a dominant silverback that defends the females and young ones from external attacks as well as determining the movements of the entire family. For the adult females, they act like mothers in human homes taking care of the young ones while juveniles and baby gorillas play together in form of wrestle, hit and bite each other when they are happy. Gorilla tourism is an enjoyable experience that each traveler should not miss in his/her travel lifetime. The trekking experience in each location is unique in its own kind but an encounter with these endangered species in their natural habitat is a best wildlife encounter in the world.
How to book a gorilla safari
Having known how interesting and enjoyable a stay with mountain gorillas can be, lets now talk a bout how one can book a gorilla safari to any of the gorilla destinations (Uganda, Rwanda and Congo). Gorilla trekking is an adventurous yet highly demanded activity that attract millions of travelers from all parts of the world. The high number of travelers to see mountain gorillas therefore calls for advance planning and preparation to avoid any disappointment at the last hour. Each traveler must have a valid gorilla permit without which no one is allowed to trek the endangered mountain gorillas. To secure these permits therefore, travelers are required to book as early as six months prior the trekking date. Booking can be done direct with responsible government bodies, which are Uganda Wildlife authority in Uganda, Rwanda Development Board in Rwanda and the management of Virunga national park. Alternatively, travelers can book through any trusted tour operator who offers related gorilla safari packages at affordable prices. On confirming the tour, travelers are required to pay 30% of the total cost as a booking fee and this assures them, availability of permits on the trekking date. Though the trekking experience is similar but unique in each country, the cost of a gorilla permits differ in each country. Rwanda offers the moat expensive gorilla permit costing 1500usd for a single permit for all travelers irrespective of one’s nationality, Uganda charges 600usd for foreign non residents, 500usd for foreign residents and 250,000ush for east African residents.
On the day of trekking
On the actual day of trekking, all travelers transfer from wherever they spent the night and gather at the nearby park headquarters for briefing, here they are told the do’s and do not’s while with the gorillas, allocated to different gorilla families and given the hiking sticks. Porters are also hired and these help in carrying baggage and supporting travelers in the hiking process. At 8:00am, the briefing is done and travelers along with their porters and armed rangers setoff into the jungle to meet the gorillas. The direction to take is given by the early morni9ng trackers who trace where mountain gorillas spent the previous night. The hiking time may be as short as 30 minutes to several hours depending on the location and sped of movements for the gorillas but travelers are 99.9% assured of meeting and staying with mountain gorillas.
On reaching these gentle giants, travelers have an hour of taking as many photographs as possible while closely observing and enjoying the human like characters of mountain gorillas.
Travelers are physically fit find less trouble in gorilla trekking with no difficulty in hiking while those who unfit face it rough. For this matter the aged travelers and those who are physically unfit are given families in low altitudes areas hence easy to trek. Travelers are therefore reminded to make enough exercises to ensure they are fit to hike the jungle.
Whereas travelers are assured of a memorable encounter with mountain gorillas, dressing right is very essential for every peaceful and enjoyable gorilla tour. The appropriate dressing code include hiking boots for easy walking through muddy and slippery grounds, hand gloves to protect from being hurt by the stinging nettles, sun glasses and hut to protect from direct sun and long pants tacked into stockings to protect the legs from any hurt. Also, warm sweaters and jackets are helpful in the unpredictable forest weather conditions where rain showers are expected to fall any time regardless of the season.
Conclusively, mountain gorillas are the most amazing animals to meet and interact with. Book a gorilla safari to Rwanda, Uganda and Congo rewarding you with a memorable gorilla trekking experience.