The thrill of being in direct contact with gorillas is unparalleled by any other wildlife experience in Africa. Trekking is only available in a select few remote locales, giving these safaris an air of exotic excursion that is difficult to come by elsewhere. Since gorillas as a species are critically endangered and treks are a strictly regulated activity, meeting wild gorillas is often regarded as a once-in-a-lifetime vacation opportunity.
The number of mountain gorillas has stabilized in recent years thanks to the money brought in by tourists, and this bodes well for the future of western lowland gorillas now that tourism has begun in the Congolese jungle, where they live.
Trekking mountain gorillas in Rwanda is a must, and Volcanoes National Park is a top destination. It's Rwanda's most convenient park because it's only a two-hour drive away from Kigali, Rwanda's capital city.
Rwanda is home to the Virunga Mountains, and it was here that Dian Fossey first began her research on the endangered mountain gorilla. Over 400 of the world's critically endangered wild gorillas call this place home. Aside from the golden monkey, visitors can also expect to view over 200 other types of birds and animals.
Located in Uganda's southwestern part, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park draws more visitors than any other site in the country. It is near the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are about 400 mountain gorillas, 120 other animal species, including other primate species, and 350 different bird species. In the wild, elephant sightings are a matter of luck.
The northern part of Congo is home to Odzala-Kokoua National Park, which is situated in the middle of the world's second-largest tropical rainforest. Gorillas, elephants, and over 400 bird species may be found here.
Gorillas are sensitive to human ailments but lack immunity; an ordinary cold may kill a group of gorillas, so you won't be allowed to trek if you're sick. You must also be reasonably healthy and dressed appropriately for the damp conditions of a jungle trip. The rainforest is difficult to navigate even in the summer months due to its high humidity, steep slopes, dense foliage, damp and muddy conditions, and huge amounts of insects. Spending quality time with gorillas is a life-changing experience, but you should be physically prepared for the journey.
An expert guide and tracker will take you deep into the forest's hidden trails in search of a family of accustomed gorillas. After finding the gorillas, you will sneak up on them and silently study them from a distance of 7 to 10 meters. You'll spend 40-60 minutes with the gorillas, seeing the adults foraging and grooming one another and the infants tumbling and playing. You'll be subjected to the giant silverback patriarch's careful eye, who is extremely protective over his family. A reason why gorilla trekking is such a life-altering event is that visitors get to see wild gorillas displaying human-like sentiments and movements.
You'll wear a mask in the Congo to prevent spreading disease to the gorillas, and you can get a fly net to shield yourself from the sweat bees, which are completely harmless (and stingless), but nevertheless persistent. When visiting the mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda, visitors are only allowed to bring a camera and must leave any other things, such as bottled water, with their porters. If you want to take photos indoors, you can't use a flash, and you should get a camera that doesn't produce a lot of noise while it operates.
The Mahale Mountains and Gombe Stream in Tanzania, as well as the wooded areas of Uganda's Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls national parks and Kibale Forest, are among the best places to go chimpanzee trekking.
Trekking chimpanzees is very unlike hiking with gorillas. Chimpanzees are less suspicious of humans and simpler to spot, and they tend to inhabit easier hiking terrain than gorillas. Gorilla trekking is only comparable to what can be experienced with the habituated chimp groups in Kibale Forest.
Chimpanzees possess an inherent majesty that sets them apart from other animals. Jane Goodall, who has spent her whole life researching and preserving monkeys, says so.
Gombe National Park and Mahale Mountain National Park are two of Tanzania's secured national parks where chimps may be observed. The interesting, almost human-like behavior of these primates may will leave you bewildered. In addition to possessing the largest chimpanzee community, Mahale is unique in that lions and chimps live there in harmony.
Gombe National Park, in contrast, is well-known thanks to primatologist Jane Goodall and her research on the park's critically endangered chimpanzee population. With its dense woods, this area is a home to chimpanzees as well as numerous other species, including other primate species
The Nyungwe Forest Nature Reserve preserves one of the greatest bands of montane rainforest in eastern Africa, and its location on a ridge between the Congo River and the Nile makes it very rich in species.
More than a hundred and fifty plant species, including two hundred and fifty types of orchid, eighty-five species of mammals, three hundred and ten species of birds, and a habituated troop of chimpanzees call this place home. The suspended canopy walkway, which is 200 meters long and 40 meters high, provides a spectacular vantage point over the forest below and is another popular attraction in this national park.
There is no larger park in Uganda than Queen Elizabeth National Park. The chimpanzees are the main draw, but there are also 90 different kinds of mammals there, 10 of which are different primate species. In addition, the park is one of the greatest places in East Africa to go birdwatching, with over 600 different kinds of bird species.
Chimps, baboons, colobus monkeys, and red-tailed monkeys may all be seen at the reserve's "Valley of Apes," located in the eastern half of the preserve. Tree-climbing lions are a famous attraction in the park's southern region.