5 tips to make the most of your gorilla trek in Virunga national park
Are you looking for the top 5 tips to make the most of your gorilla trek in Virunga national park? Well, gorilla trekking is one of the top-selling safari activities not only in DR Congo but also in Uganda and Rwanda. Therefore, in order to make travelers have a very successful primate encounter trip, we bring you the 5 tips to make your gorilla trek in Virunga national park memorable with important information needed before, during, and after tracking gorillas.
Encountering mountain gorillas in Virunga national park of DR Congo is a life-changing adventure experience in Africa. Just imagine meeting eye to eye with the giant silverback guiding and protecting all his family members; reflecting the important roles played by a father at home.
Besides Virunga national park, there are other destinations to see the mountain gorillas in Africa such as Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda as well as Volcanoes national park in Rwanda.
The following are the top 5 tips to make the most of your gorilla trek in Virunga national park DR Congo;
Before Gorilla Trekking in Virunga.
Yes, in most cases planning to book a gorilla safari starts from home but the real adventure kicks off while at Virunga national park. However, travelers are advised to carry the following items to make their gorilla trip very successful;
- Long-sleeved shirts or blouses.
- Waterproof hiking boots. Any other boots can attempt the trek but are not recommended.
- Sweater or Jacket. This is highly recommended
- Scarp but not a must
- Insect repellents i.e. mosquito repellants
- Energy giving snacks are highly recommended
- Energy giving drinks are also recommended
- Long pants are recommended but not a must; it’s your trip!
- First aid kit is highly recommended for cases of scratches
- Gloves such as garden gloves but some people do not carry them at all
On the gorilla trekking day, you are advised to dress appropriately, carry your gorilla permit, passport, drinking water, snack, packed lunch, walking stick, and head to the Virunga national park headquarters at Bukima for the briefing from park officials. This is also the right time to hire a local porter to help you carry your luggage and move comfortably in the search for mountain gorillas.
In order to protect the mountain gorillas and the ecosystem of Virunga national park, you recommend that all trackers respect all the gorilla trekking rules and regulations.
Keep It Real & cooperate with others
Trackers are put in a group of eight, therefore ensure that you move with a team in search for the endangered mountain gorillas in the deep forest jungles of Virunga national park. Yes, at times the group members may be chosen based on the physical fitness of the available trackers of the day, language, age, and any other demographic factors however, you are always advised to be friendly and keep connected with the park rangers and other trackers for matters of safety in the forest.
Please note that Virunga national park is a home to several wildlife species besides gorillas and no one can predict what to meet on the way as you look for your allocated gorilla family. On a lucky day, you may accidentally meet chimpanzees, golden monkeys, forest elephants, and eastern lowland gorillas among others. Therefore, always lower your voices before, with, and after meeting the gorillas because wild animals move away whenever they hear human voices. This is observed, it will make your trek easy and exciting.
Safety while in the forest
Visitors shouldn’t worry about any harm or danger while tracking gorillas in Virunga national park because each gorilla tracking group consists of main park rangers and other armed scouts that is to say one in front and others behind the group protect tourists from any forest harm especially the angry forest habitats and wild gorillas. Yes, no cases have been reported in Virunga national park where any wild animal harmed tourists but the daily protection of visitors during gorilla tracking safaris still continues.
Finding the mountain gorillas in Virunga
While many gorilla trekking tourists wonder when and how they will find the endangered mountain gorillas of Virunga national park, well, a group of tracker rangers is always sent out in the forest early morning before your trail kicks off in search for the allocated gorilla family to keep track of where they are heading so as to make it easy for visitors to find them quickly and easily. And this confirms the saying that gorilla tracking in Virunga national park takes between 1-6 hours depending on where they built their nest a night before the trek.
Meeting the mountain gorillas in Virunga national park
Once your group finds the allocated gorilla family, you will be allowed to spend a full hour with the gorillas. Therefore, use this time to take several photos and observe their behavior before retiring from the forest. We recommend you to remain quiet, sit down and avoid sudden movements. You can look at gorillas but avoid direct eye contact because they may charge thinking that you are planning to confront them. However, if you happen to look into their eyes and you notice a change in their character, calm down, don’t run but stand firm on the ground and lower your eyes as an indication that you have no bad intentions towards the family. Please respect the rangers and work with them for a successful gorilla trekking tour in Virunga national park DR Congo.
Looking deep into the expressive brown eyes of mountain gorillas is surely the most exciting and poignant wildlife encounter that Virunga national park has to offer, we, therefore, advise you to book your gorilla safari with a trusted local agency like Africa Adventure vacations to organize your lifetime trip to Africa.