How To Prepare For Gorilla Trekking In Uganda

Gorilla trekking in Uganda is an ultimate challenge for many visitors, more guests feel it is never easy to plan and prepare for it. In most cases, for you to be able to meet all your expectations, you need to plan and prepare adequately for your gorilla trekking in Uganda.

In this article, we highlight the best and most effortless ways how to prepare (physically, financially, emotionally, and psychologically) for gorilla trekking in Uganda. Since you have already chosen Uganda as your ultimate gorilla trekking destination, decided on the accommodation facilities, and possibly traveled into the country, we shall provide easy ways to undertake preparation in order to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

First, it is important to note that mountain gorilla trekking is undertaken in only three countries- Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. For Uganda, two places are presently known for sheltering the mountain gorillas, with their present population standing at over 500 individuals (presenting half of the entire population of these Giant Apes). With over 20 habituated gorilla families living in Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks, only about 160 gorilla permits are sold each day by Uganda Wildlife Authority. Whether you plan on trekking the mountain gorillas in Bwindi or Mgahinga, here are the simple ways how you can prepare for gorilla trekking, to achieve the most unforgettable memories;

Chill and get rid of your expectations

It is undeniable that every time you get into a foreign place, chances are that you will have a lot of expectations, derived from other travelers’ reviews. These sometimes include political encounters, good or bad accommodation, or service experiences that happened as far as three or five years ago. Once you base your judgment on these stories, you will have so many expectations and therefore, take each piece of information with a pinch of salt to avoid being anxious. Relax and get rid of everything and be prepared to embrace new experiences as they come your way.

Put less focus on things that aren’t in your power

As you have possibly read, mountain gorilla trekking is generally a scheduled activity and once you change your itinerary by even a single day, the entire safari is going to be affected. Incidences like having a vehicle breakdown, oversleeping and being late at the Park headquarters for briefing, suffering from food poisoning, developing a knee injury of any other sudden issues will definitely affect your gorilla trekking adventure.  To avoid such last-minute disappointments, travelers are always advised to focus on things within their control and leave those beyond their control. For instance, you can prevent food poisoning by sticking to the meals you are used to instead of trying out new dishes. You can prevent late arrival at the Park Headquarters by requesting a wake-up call from the accommodation facility and always checking your car/undertaking maintenance before hitting the road.

Undertake some simple physical exercises

While gorilla trekking is also possible for persons with reduced mobility (disabled), exercise ate recommended for travelers planning to undertake the activity on foot. If you think you are going to have a simple walk through a leisure park, then you are in for a real challenge. For this reason, we always advise our clients to undertake some simple exercises like hill climbing, 30 minutes to one hour of jogging or long-distance walks as a way of preparing your body from getting exhausted during mountain gorilla trekking that normally lasts 1-5 hours or more, moreover through high altitudes ranging from 2000 to 4000 meters above sea level. Anyone who has trekked mountain gorillas in Virunga Conservation Area and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park will attest to the latter being more strenuous and physically demanding hence exercises are very crucial.

Get your packing list in advance.

You don’t need your heels, nice red dress, or sandals for gorilla trekking. We recommend carrying a warm sweater for the cold mornings and evenings, a waterproof rain jacket, sturdy and comfortable hiking boots with ankle support, a first aid kit (with at least muscle strain liniment, anti-septic wipes, bandages, plasters, disposable gloves, sterile gauze dressings, cotton swabs and pain relievers among others), insect repellant, safari pants in brown, khaki, black and dark blue color, energy giving snacks, a reusable water bottle, gardening gloves, long-sleeved shirts/blouses, safari hat, good non-flash camera, sunglasses, binoculars, rainproof backpack, and long cotton socks.

Uganda, the Pearl of Africa is not just a gorilla trekking destination but also a wonderful hot spot for enjoying birding tours with over 33 important bird areas, wildlife safaris enjoyed in any of its 4 savannah-dominated National Parks, chimpanzee trekking experiences provided in a number of places but Kibale Forest National Park is the best. This country is also a melting pot as far as cultural experiences are concerned and for this reason, be prepared to be immersed in Acholi, Baganda, Banyoro, Alur, Bakonzo, and Karamajong cultures among others. 

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