How to Prepare for a Gorilla Trekking Safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Gorilla trekking in the Bwindi forest is quite an exciting activity that offers an unforgettable experience. And it’s because of that it’s the most revered activity in Uganda by tourists as many visit the country to see how these marvelous creatures that birthed the King Kong character live in their natural habitat. So if you’re also planning a trip to Uganda to track these apes, here are the six things you need to do to prepare for it and ensure that you enjoy the safari:
1. Get fit
You must be fit before trying this activity otherwise it will wipe out within no time. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi is a strenuous activity that requires physical and mental strength since you may have to walk long distances looking for the gorillas on steep terrains through a dense rainforest while it’s raining.
Because much as at times the gorillas might be near and you don’t have to track them for long, your luck might not hold up on that particular day you decide to go gorilla tracking. Besides, why should you leave things up to chance when you can do something about your fitness levels? So if you’re unfit, you need to hit the gym or hire a personal trainer to help you get in shape to enjoy this exciting activity.
2. Go see your doctor
Not only to get the necessary WHO-recommended vaccines for Yellow fever, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, etc. (if you haven’t already gotten them) but also to get one for flu. Because if you happen to get flu shortly before the safari, you’ll not be allowed to trek the gorillas as you can spread it to the gorillas since they’re susceptible to human diseases. And how disappointing for you to have to forego the activity until you are fine. Besides, your doctor will also be able to examine you and determine whether you’re fit or not to trek gorillas in the thick, hilly forest of Bwindi. Since failing to overcome the distance required to see the gorillas is one thing, getting ill or collapsing because of being unfit is another unwanted circumstance.
3. Determine the sector to trek in gorillas
With Bwindi Impenetrable national park having four sectors from which you can go gorilla trekking, you can choose your favorite depending on your interests. For those who prefer staying in luxurious lodges, Buhoma is the right sector for you as it has a number of them, and if you want to easily find the gorillas, then the Rushaga sector will suit you best. Whereas, for those who wish to enjoy birding on top of seeing the gorillas, the Ruhija will work for you. Lastly, the Nkurigo sector is best for those who want to track the most exciting, but toughest gorillas to find in a breathtaking area.
4. Book the permits way in advance
These permits sell fast like Disneyland tickets and to book one, you need to do so in advance. Like at least 6 months before your travel date. Unless you want to visit during the wet season when tourists are fewer, but with the way tourists are catching on to the fact that all year round is good to trek gorillas because whether it’s dry or wet season, it will rain in this forest, you’ll still be at a loss. The beauty about booking in advance is that you’ll not only get the permit but also get the opportunity to choose which sector you want to track the gorillas in. As well as book the most suitable lodge for you instead of making do with whatever option is available.
5. Book with a reputable tour company
It’s not all about the package price. Keep in mind that a tour company can make or break your experience. So go online and check the reviews on TripAdvisor to get a worthy tour company to book your safari with. Or rather, ask loved ones who have tracked gorillas in Uganda before to recommend the companies they used. Because with gorilla trekking known to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you wouldn’t want a tour company to sour this experience with subpar services.
6. Get travel insurance
Though you may end up not using it, it’s always best to have it than not because you can never know when an accident might occur even if you follow all the safety precautions in place. In fact, your guides and rangers will read to you all the necessary safety guidelines before you go on the gorilla trekking trip as well as respect them too. Besides that, you may have the misfortune of instead falling sick while on the safari and urgently need insurance.
7. Pack the right clothes
This is pretty important because although it’s usually cold in the Bwindi forest, it doesn’t mean that’s the case with the rest of the country. Uganda has a tropical climate, which means it gets quite hot in some parts of the country that you’ll have to pass through to reach the forest. And the same applies if you pass through Rwanda since the forest is just 3 hours from Kigali International Airport by road as compared to the 9 hours from Entebbe Airport in Uganda. Therefore, you need to prepare for all kinds of weather conditions – wet and dry, cold and hot as well as for the insects in the forest, especially the mosquitoes.
What to pack?
- Insect repellent
- Lip balm
- Wet wipes
- Travel adapter
- Waterproof hiking boots
- Short-sleeved shirts/blouses
- Heavy material trousers/jeans
- Long-sleeved blouse/shirt to protect you from tree scratches
8. Come with petty cash
It will come in handy when you need to hire a porter to carry your bag and provide necessary assistance while trekking. This a much-needed service because the backpack can get extremely heavy as you move up and down the hilly terrain of the Bwindi. Moreover, with Uganda still being a cash economy, there are some things you’ll need to buy with it.
Track Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable national forest
With that, you’re now ready to come and go gorilla trekking in the Bwindi forest. And you can contact us to create a custom package for you.