It is such a wonder to watch mountain gorillas in their natural habitat as they do their day to day activities. From one gorilla family, you get a chance to enjoying quite a number of gorillas which is such an amazing thing. In the morning, we assembled at the park offices, for a briefing on how to behave once we are in close with the gorilla group. The game rangers also decide on the combining of groups so as to provide for the 10 groups of which 8 tourists are allowed each day and also decide which group will visit which family based on the difficulty of the trek and the physical abilities of the guests.
NB: In this, you have a say and freedom to decide which gorilla group you want to visit, depending on your physical ability, you are never dictated to.
Following the briefing from the park office, you drive to your assigned / selected gorilla family access point, that varies depending on which group you are visiting. After which you start trekking in to the Rwandan Volcanoes. The searches can last from 45 minutes to 3 hours or even the whole day, and it is always best to carry snack (s) and drinking water as you may get hungry. In addition to this, it is always important to hire a porter – a local Rwandan worth $10 to help with your back pack and hold your hand through hard terrain and bring your cameras into the jungle. Once close to the gorilla family, you leave your back pack a little bit behind so as to observe and spend your 1 hour with the gorillas freely and attentively.
Since there is never any gorilla family that spends more than one hour a day with the humans, it is always best to take two treks. And both of these treks are quite different and very rewarding.
On our next day, trekking was somehow less tiring because we decided on the medium adventure rather than the hard one. On this hike, the gorillas were pretty laid back and moved very less. We moved from area to area to see the different members of the mountain gorilla group.
Unfortunately, on the third day, gorilla trekking was quite strenuous hiking uphill through a very thick jungle. In addition the gorilla family was almost constantly on the move so we had to keep following it up.
Our ranger guide paid very close attention to the gorilla movements and kept move us from place to place, hacking at the vegetation with his machete. It was very interesting how different the two families were.
At this point, it was further clarified on the importance of having to trek mountain gorillas twice when on Mountain Gorilla Adventure in Africa because it is most possible you won’t be going back a second time. It is also very advisable to wear good waterproof lightweight hiking boots or Wellies which go over the ankle and waterproof pants as the jungle also habituates stinging nettles, and a rain jacket as it often rains.
When planning a gorilla trekking adventure, you should always avoid spending long hours on the treks by simply choosing your trip during the low / early rain season, since it is at this time when the gorillas are closer so you will have shorter and less strenuous treks, a hat comes in handy to shield your face from the sun.