Gorilla Trekking Vs Gorilla Tracking – Difference between Mountain Gorilla Trekking and Tracking
Gorilla trekking vs gorilla tracking: Most tourists on gorilla safari holiday find it hard differentiating between gorilla trekking and gorilla tracking. However, the 2 words are usually used concurrently to denote the same thing although they are slightly different from each other in some aspects. Gorilla trekking and gorilla tracking are two significant terms used especially when it comes to mountain gorilla safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Southwestern Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Northwestern Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Difference between gorilla trekking vs gorilla tracking
Many occasions, trekkers tend to confuse gorilla trekking and gorilla tracking. Firstly, gorilla trekking entirely involves a group of visitors on gorilla safari hiking through the dense vegetation and steep slopes in search for a gorilla family group. A group of trekkers comprising of 8 people are usually guided by an experienced park ranger guide in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park or the Virunga National Park.
On gorilla trekking safari, the park ranger guide takes responsibility to lead you to a gorilla group and also identify other wildlife, bird species, plant species, trees and several others which makes visitor experience memorable.
The guide will always be in touch with other gorilla trackers also known as advanced team so ease the process of finding mountain gorillas. Given the fact that these apes spend most their time on montane areas, visitors on gorilla safari have to hike to see them thus the term gorilla trekking.
Gorilla tracking on the other hand denotes can be used to denote gorilla trekking and in real sense, it is about searching to find a habituated gorilla family. The trackers/advanced team will use different signs and methods to identify mountain gorillas prior gorilla trekking is conducted. Before a group of trekkers set off, the trackers/rangers will hit the jungles to ascertain the location of gorillas. Normally, on a search for mountain gorillas, trackers/guides use natural means to track these apes rather than Global Positioning System. On finding these humble creatures, the trackers shall communicate to the park official and what follows is gorilla trekking.
Gorilla trekking and gorilla tracking can also be differentiated as follows; gorilla tracking is carried out by park rangers using various methods to locate mountain gorillas and on finding them, gorilla trekking follows. It should be noted that the process of tracking doesn’t exclude trekking because still trekkers and rangers have to trek to find these apes in the wild.
Where to go for gorilla trekking or gorilla tracking
Tourists on safari in Africa can engage in gorilla trekking vs gorilla tracking in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Gorilla safaris in Uganda are conducted only in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which are set in Southwestern Uganda. Trekkers on Uganda gorilla trekking safari can reach these 2 magical gorilla parks about 8-9 hours’ drive beginning from Kampala capital city and 3-4 hours’ drive from Kigali capital city of Rwanda.
Currently, about 21 gorilla family groups have been habituated and can be trekked by tourists on Uganda gorilla trekking safari tour. 20 groups are available in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and 1 in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. In Bwindi still, Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo are the 4 major gorilla tracking regions where treks to see mountain gorillas usually start from with briefing on guidelines for gorilla trekking. Uganda issues out its gorilla trekking permits at US Dollars 700 for foreign non-residents, US Dollars 600 for foreign residents and 250000 shillings. Ensure you have booked your permit early at least 3-4 months before the actual date of tracking or trekking mountain gorillas.
In Rwanda, gorilla trekking safaris are done only in Volcanoes National Park. This is by far an outstanding gorilla safari destination in the dubbed land of a thousand hills. The habituated gorilla families to trek on Rwanda gorilla safari include Susa A, Karisimbi (Susa B), Hirwa, Bwenge, Kwitonda, Umubano, Amahoro, Agashya, Sabyinyo and Ugenda. Gorilla trekking permits in Rwanda cost US Dollars 1500 per person and you can reserve for one through our reservation team or reservation team at Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
Mountain gorillas in the DRC can be trekked by visitors on Congo gorilla safari in the Virunga National Park in anyone of the 8 groups and they include Lulengo, Mapuwa, Bageni group, Munyaga group, Nyakamwe, Kabirizi family, Rugendo group and Humba gorilla group. Briefing on gorilla trekking rules and regulations are always done early in the morning at the park headquarters where you will also be allocated to a habituated gorilla family group to track in a group of 8 trekkers plus a park ranger guide to accompany you. Every gorilla permit in DR Congo costs US Dollars 450.
Best time to go for gorilla trekking/gorilla tracking
The dry season is recommended as the best time to go for gorilla trekking or gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Virunga National Park and Volcanoes National Park. This is despite the fact that gorilla treks can be carried out at any time of the year. The dry months of the year normally occurs in June, July, August, September and December, January, February. During this period, the gorilla parks experience low amount of rainfall and the trails are kept relatively drier making it simpler to search for mountain gorillas.
However, treks to view mountain gorillas can also be done during the rainy or wet season. This is also significant for visitors interested in bird watching in Uganda or Rwanda. The wet or rainy season occurs in March, April, May and October, November.
What to pack on gorilla trekking vs gorilla tracking
Packing appropriately is by far the best way to have the most enjoyable gorilla trekking/gorilla tracking experience in Uganda, Rwanda or in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Your packing list should then begin with items such as waterproof hiking boots/shoes, daypack, insect repellent, gorilla permit, valid passport, valid visa, camera with no flashlight, long sleeved shirt, trouser, sun hat, sun glasses and many more.
Gorilla trekking/gorilla tracking rules and regulations
- Gorilla trekking/gorilla tracking is carried out by a maximum of 8 visitors.
- Only 1 hour is always given to visitors on gorilla safari tour to spend with a group of mountain gorillas.
- If you are sick or ill, you may not be allowed to go track mountain gorillas.
- Flashlight cameras are prohibited when taking pictures of gorillas.
- Always maintain a distance of 7 meters from gorillas.
- Always keep your voices low while trekking or tracking mountain gorillas.
- Leave the gorilla habitat as clean or in a better state than you got it.
- Gorilla permit is a must-have to track or trek mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda or DRC.