The length of the hike to see mountain gorillas is one of the concerns for most travelers planning gorilla trekking safaris. Upcoming travelers have frequently asked how long it talks o reach the endangered mountain gorillas. Well, there is no perfect answer to this question. The time to spend before meeting gorillas is unpredictable and can change based on different unavoidable factors. However, whether it takes short or long, travelers are 99.9% guaranteed a chance to meet gorillas. Unlike in rare cases, travelers never fail to see the famous endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. How long is a gorilla trek is different from how long to send with gorillas but rather, one leads to the other. The time to spend trekking gorillas can be as shot as 30 minutes or a full day depending on the following factors:
The gorilla family and location
Mountain gorillas live in families found in different locations. Some gorilla families live in areas of low altitude, easy to reach while others live in high altitudinal areas difficult to reach. The time to spend trekking gorillas, therefore, depends on a gorilla family you are trekking and its location. In Bwindi forest national park, gorillas are split into four sectors I.e. Buhoma in the north, Ruhija in the east, Rushaga, and Nkuringo in the south. Travelers who have been to Bwindi forest tell that the trek to see gorillas in this impenetrable forest is quite challenging and difficulty compared to other gorilla destinations (Volcanoes, Mgahinga, and Virunga national parks).
Speed of gorilla movements
Mountain gorillas are wandering creatures, which are ever on move. The day of gorillas starts as early as 6:00 am when they leave their nests setting off for a new location. Reminder: Mountain gorillas do not sleep at the same place for more than one once. They are ever on move in search of food and fresh locations! In most cases, mountain gorilla families with infants move slowly hence easy to find. You can’t, however, predict how fast or slow gorillas will move on a particular day.
What you should do?
Depending on physical fitness, age, and hiking abilities, endeavor o choose a gorilla family that suits you. Travelers are reminded to disclose their hiking abilities to their guides and park rangers’ specifying which kind of trek they would want. i.e. short or long trek. During the gorilla trekking briefing, travelers are put together in groups of eight and allocated a gorilla family to trek.
What to expect on a gorilla trek
Expect to get tired and dirty since gorillas live in forested areas with muddy and slippery grounds all seasons. Gorilla trekking is a challenging experience, which involves hiking up and down the hills of Rwanda and Uganda in the thick bushes. Tracking can be short or long depending on the gorillas, where they are located and the speed of their movements. On meeting the gorillas, you will feel different. All the fatigue disappears and your dream comes true. You are a few meters from your closest relatives. Embrace the human-like characters of mountain gorillas, how they communicate, play and interact with each other. Enjoy the company of silverback gorilla and how female adults nurse the baby gorillas. It’s a thrilling experience that lasts for a lifetime.
What time do I spend with gorillas?
Despite the many hours you spend searching for gorillas. Travelers only spend an hour with gentle giants. An hour is counted from the time travelers set their eyes on a gorilla family they are allocated to. Travelers are allowed to spend a full hour in the company of gorillas, enjoying and embracing their unique human-like characters. You are therefore reminded to be steady, keen and attentive so as to fully utilize this hour.
How are mountain gorilla families allocated?
At the start of each trekking day, travelers are allocated different gorilla groups to visit. Each gorilla family is visited by a group of eight travelers for an hour. The allocation of gorilla families is based on various factors among which is the traveler’s physical fitness, age and hiking abilities. The aged and less physically fit are given short treks while the young and the physically fit given long and hard to trek gorilla families.
How are gorilla treks categorized?
Gorilla treks are categorized into short, medium and long treks. This depends on the ease and difficulty associated with trekking a specific gorilla group. In general, the actual length of the gorilla trekking remains unpredictable. The ease and difficulty of gorilla trekking remain a concern for travelers intending to visit the endangered gorillas in the jungle. Book a gorilla tracking safari to Rwanda, Uganda, and Congo meet the gentle giants in the jungle and enjoy this life-changing experience.