Every one has of course heard about the Mountain gorillas. Yes, the Mountain Gorilla is no longer a mythical species today. ‘King Kong’ the movie must have either have introduced you to the gentle apes found in East and Central Africa.
FACTS ABOUT MOUNTAIN GORILLAS
The population of the mountain gorillas is rapidly declining and they are considered to be endangered Species that is jealously protected around the World. In fact there are less than 700 surviving gorillas in Africa. More than half of them reside in Uganda- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, to be specific. In Rwanda the population of the gorillas is clustered in and around Volcanoes National Park in north western Rwanda and the rest in Democratic Republic of Congo and Central Africa Republic.
The fur of the mountain gorilla, often thicker and longer than that of other gorilla species, enables them to live in colder temperatures. Gorillas can be identified by nose prints unique to each individual. Males, at a mean weight of 195 kg (430 lb) and upright standing height of 150 cm (59 in) usually weigh twice as much as the females, at a mean of 100 kg (220 lb) and a height of 130 cm (51 in). This subspecies is on average the second largest species of primate; only the Eastern Lowland Gorilla, the other subspecies of Eastern Gorilla, is larger.
Adult males are called silverbacks because a saddle of gray or silver-colored hair develops on their backs with age. The hair on their backs is shorter than on most other body parts, and their arm hair is especially long. The dominant silverback generally determines the movements of the group, leading it to appropriate feeding sites throughout the year. He also mediates conflicts within the group and protects it from external threats..
Gorilla Trekking in Africa
Tracking gorillas is not a mere adventure…it is one of those incredible activities you must do before you die! However you need to be prepared for hours of arduous climbing and enormous patience to find these primates that roam around the forests during the night!
Rwanda as well as Uganda Safaris is known for various wildlife safaris but the Gorilla Safaris are the best holiday package these countries can offer. It is up to you which one to choose. Both of them have many lucrative offers and it may be a herculean task for a tourist to choose one from the other.
A maximum number of 6 visitors may visit a group of habituated gorillas in a day. This minimizes behavioral disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases.
Identifying the spoors and trails of the gorillas from their previous night spots and then track them is not an easy task. The guides will take you to where they found the gorillas the day before. From there you will follow the gorilla’s trail to find them. Look out for the gorilla’s nesting sites along the way
Gorilla trekking tips
Pack your lunch boxes, rain coat, wear boots and then set off to the forest with your armed ranger guide. The trek experience can proceed for more than 2 hours but it is worthwhile when you meet a family that you been tracking for a long time.
There is so much to enjoy on this adventure; gorilla trails, unique forest vegetation, birds and other animals, all this, your ranger guide will gladly point it out and explain.
The age limit for gorilla safaris in Uganda and Rwanda is 15 years old and it is important to be fairly fit you are walking up and down hills at quite an altitude.
You’ll need ranger or porter to carry your large luggage on the trek except the camera and water bottle. A walking stick is also useful. It is bound to be wet, so do take a rain coat, umbrellas are useful to protect your camera when trying to take photos of gorillas in the rain or mist! Good hiking boots and long trousers would be sensible.
Finding the gorillas is quite an anxious feeling, you have only 1 hour to enjoy the amazing creatures as they feed and grumble with their little ones. Take pictures of them as your tour guide identifies for you this particular family, its name and usual behavior. The tracking sometimes lasts several hours (normally 2-7 hour) thus the need to pack your lunch for the adventure.
Gorilla trekking permits are a must if you intend to go mountain gorilla tracking. These trekking are highly demanded an must be booked 2-3 months prior to the set gorilla safari date.
The price for Uganda and Rwanda Gorilla safaris range between $400-$600 per person.Except a hike in the price of gorilla permits in Rwanda, to $750, tracking mountain gorillas in the Congo, which costs only $400 a day during the peak summer season.
The most important thing about these prices is that you are not only paying for the adventure ahead but you are giving a hand in conservation of the Gorilla habitats and other duties related to preserve the pride of Africa for more generations to come.