Even with about a total number of 1004 Mountain gorillas left in the wild, there is no doubt that Africa gorilla safaris are the most trending Africa safari activity. As of today, it is the most trending Africa safari tour activity that in most cases doesn’t miss on a Uganda, Rwanda Congo safari tourists’ itinerary. Mountain gorillas were only destined to live in three destinations in Africa; Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. These mountain gorillas live in high steep mountain tropical forests of up to 4,500m above sea level hence acquiring their name.
With this altitude, if you are planning to go for a Congo gorilla safari in Virunga National Park, then there’s a need to be physically fit and be ready for the cool environment. There is no difference even when you choose to go for a gorilla trekking tour in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, or for a gorilla tour in Uganda‘s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Africa gorilla safari packages include short gorilla safaris and Long gorilla safaris in Uganda, Rwanda & Congo depending on the time you have for your holiday.
- A Rwanda gorilla tour permits it costs $1500
- A Uganda gorilla trekking safari permit costs $700
- A Congo gorilla tour permit costs only $400 making it the cheapest gorilla permit around.
Many travellers wonder whether Congo safaris are safe! Yes, they are safe despite its history of having conflicts in some parts. Therefore, a visit to Virunga National Park Congo will give you one of the best rewarding Africa gorilla trekking safari experiences at a cheap cost compared to any other gorilla destination. Virunga National Park is one of the most biodiverse regions on the continent and home to the elusive Mountain Gorillas making it the prime Congo gorilla trekking safari destination. It is the popular Congo gorilla safari for both short gorilla safari Congo and long Congo gorilla tours in search of the rare Mountain Gorillas. The park is the only home to Mountain Gorillas in Congo and has over 8 habituated gorilla families namely;
- Rugendo Gorilla Family
- Munyaga Gorilla Family
- Mapuwa Gorilla Family
- Lulengo Gorilla Family
- Kabirizi Gorilla Family
- Bageni Gorilla Family
- Nyakamwe Gorilla Family
- Humba Gorilla Family.
Every morning a total of 8 tourists go on a Congo gorilla trekking safari in search of a single Mountain Gorilla family. Unlike Congo’s Virunga with 8 gorilla families, Rwanda has 11 habituated gorilla families open for Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris.
- Amahoro Gorilla Family
- Umubano Gorilla Family
- Susa A Gorilla Family
- Susa B (Karisimbi) gorilla family
- Sabyinyo Gorilla Family
- Kwitonda Gorilla Family
- Ugenda Gorilla Family
- Bwenge Gorilla Family
- Agashya Gorilla Family
- Hirwa Gorilla Family.
- Titus Gorilla Family
Uganda beats them all because it is home to half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda has over 18 habituated gorilla families open for gorillas tours Uganda and these are well distributed in its four regions; Ruhija, Buhoma, Nkuringo and Rushaga while Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda has only 1 habituated gorilla family namely;
- Rushegura gorilla family
- Habinyanja gorilla family
- Mubare gorilla family
- Katwe gorilla family
- Bitukura gorilla family
- Kyaguliro gorilla family
- Mukiza gorilla family
- Oruzogo gorilla family
- Nshongi gorilla family
- Busingye gorilla family
- Kahungye gorilla family
- Mishaya gorilla family
- Rwigi gorilla family
- Mucunguzi gorilla family
- Bweza gorilla family
- Bikyingi gorilla family (for habituation)
- Nkuringo gorilla family
- Bushaho gorilla family
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
- Nyakagezi gorilla family
Mountain Gorillas are the only great apes increasing in number and moving from the critically endangered list to endangered. This success is all from great conservation efforts from Uganda, Rwanda and Congo conservation bodies. For decades, many conservationists have dedicated their lives to the conservation of Mountain Gorillas a success story that has seen an increase in Rwanda gorilla safaris, Congo gorilla trekking safaris and gorilla safaris Uganda. Organizations like the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund protect and study endangered gorillas every day, something very critical in preventing Mountain Gorilla extinction rising from habitat loss and other threats they face and may face in the future. Mountain Gorillas tracked during Rwanda safaris, Congo tours and Uganda tour are not the only species that gain from the conservation but many more millions of species.
Why is it important to conserve Mountain Gorillas within their natural habitats?
Mountain Gorillas are endangered species with a lot of threats yet sought after African safari wild species. Conserving them helps them multiply in number and increase the number of Uganda safari, gorilla safari Rwanda and Congo gorilla safari tourists which help with the development of the specific countries. Many people are involved in the gorilla trekking tourism with thousands employed in the country to help thousands of travellers have a glimpse of these elusive gentle giants.
Conservation should really be everyone’s concern because it helps not only the gorillas to survive but many wild species and still helps many people support their day to day livelihoods.
In East Africa, not only are Mountain Gorillas conserved but then many organizations are doing conservation efforts to see wildlife continue to thrive in the jungle and increase on Rwanda wildlife safari, wildlife safari in Uganda, Kenya safari and Tanzania safari tourists. One of the most conserved Kenya tour destinations in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve that extends to Tanzania wildlife safari destination of Serengeti National Park. This is the best place to sight millions of wildebeest.
Mountain gorillas are so important, why?
Gorillas, like all wild animals, play an important role in their environment. Without these large-scale grazers eating lots of vegetation, the natural balance in the food chain would be disrupted. This could negatively affect other wildlife in the area, and ultimately the people who depend on that environment for food, water and other resources. The main threat to gorillas is people and the associated increasing pressure on the gorilla’s habitat. With so few individuals in the wild, the mountain gorilla is listed as critically endangered. The good news is, their numbers have recently been rising. It’s not too late for us to protect our mighty mountain cousins.
Reasons for the strict Congo gorilla trekking safari rules
Gorillas are susceptible to human diseases and therefore protecting them from contracting diseases means conserving them.
There many numbers of tourists who trek gorillas every single day and therefore regulating their actions in the forest helps to conserve the gorilla habitat and the gorillas themselves.
Gorilla trekking safari rules in Virunga National Park Gorilla
Prior to gorilla trekking in Congo, each tourist must book a gorilla trekking permit that costs about USD400-. Permit booking is best done by a local tour operator in Congo for all prior bookings since they can be out of stock on your trek day yet you can’t trek without a permit. Ensure to have a trekking stick, this is given to you as you head for the trek to help with movements within the jungle. Always wash your hands before you move out to the gorillas, to reduce risk of any kind of disease spread.
Do not make noise within the jungle; try to lower your voices. However, asking your guide questions is allowed but at a low tone.
Carry your camera but remember flash photography is not allowed, so take a recommendable camera for capturing these amazing memories Congo wildlife safari memories.
Maintain a 7m distance away from the gorillas at all times. The more you keep a distance, further you give them space the more they become free and comfortable with your presence. Always remember to stay in tight groups during the whole trekking process.
Don’t smoke, drink or eat in the forest. Eating or drinking increases the risk of food/drink droplets falling, which could intensify the chances of spreading diseases. Sometimes the gorillas can charge and become furious towards visitors. In this case, follow the ranger’s example (crouch down slowly and do not be tempted to run as this may aggravate the situation).
Do not try to touch the gorillas, because however much they have been habituated to behave normally in the presence of humans they remain wild animals and should be treated as so.
The maximum time you can spend with the gorillas is one hour. However, if the gorillas become upset or frightened, the ranger guide may end the trek early.
After the trek and meeting the gorillas, keep your voices down until you are 200 meters away from the gorillas even with the excitement.
We would all love to go gorilla trekking again and again and see our children go there too, so let’s be responsible for our treks. The mountain gorillas in Congo are found within the Virunga massif adjacent to it is Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, these are located on the same massif. These gorilla trekking rules as applicable in Congo can also be applicable during a Uganda gorilla trekking safari and a gorilla safari Rwanda trip with a few modifications that are informed to you before the trek.
Congo gorilla trekking tours are the key tourist activities in Congo alongside hiking Mount Nyiragongo. Gorilla trekking is an extremely sensitive activity, and for anyone to indulge in it, they should adhere to the recommended rules and regulations.
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