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Mostly asked Questions.

There are common questions frequently asked by most if not all travelers intending to trek mountain gorillas. These questions are mainly asked during the gorilla tour reservation process before a traveler confirms his/her gorilla tour to Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Epic Uganda Vacation offers you detailed answers to all gorilla trekking questions to ensure a memorable gorilla encounter experiences. Travelers are advised to read and understand each of these common questions and you will have a wonderful experience with mountain gorillas in their habitat. The frequently asked questions about gorilla trekking include among others:

When is the best time to trek mountain gorillas?

Most travelers often ask which time is best to visit mountain gorillas. Well, the endangered species can be visited all year round despite the season. However, gorilla watching is well done in the dry season between the months of May, June, July, August, September, early October, December, and January. Trekking through the jungle is quite easy when the grounds are less slippery and not muddy. However, the low season of February, March, April, and November has its own advantages. Also, adventurous travelers can trek gorillas in the rainy season to get the most challenging but extraordinary gorilla encounter experience.

How Much is a gorilla permit?

The actual cost of a gorilla permit is the first thing every traveler should know when looking into this encounter. Gorilla permit prices vary from country to country depending on their conservation policies and future plans. At present Rwanda sells the most expensive gorilla permit at $1500 per permit while Uganda sells at $600 for foreign nonresident, $500 for foreign nonresidents and 250,000shs for the East African residents. The Democratic Republic of Congo has the cheapest gorilla permit costing $450 in the peak season and $400 in the low season hence the best gorilla destination for budget travelers.

Where do mountain gorillas live?

Before booking a gorilla trekking safari, you should first know where these gentle giants live. Mountain gorillas are only found in two regions which are Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park and the Virunga conservation area. The Virunga massif comprises of Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Virunga national park in Congo and Magahinga gorilla national park in Uganda. Its only in these four national parks that a traveler can see mountain gorillas. Interestingly, each gorilla national park destination is an exception from the other in terms of location, access, and the number of habituated gorilla families. Bwindi has the highest number of mountain gorillas with 17 gorilla families habituated for trekking, Volcanoes has 10 gorilla families, Mgahinga has one gorilla family while Virunga national park has 8 gorilla families habituated for trekking. Travelers with ample time are advised to trek gorillas in all destination to make accurate comparisons.

When to book for gorilla permit?

Travelers are advised to book as early as 6 months before the trekking date to timely secure gorilla permits. At present, there is a high demand for gorilla permits which require travelers to book as early as possible and secure them in time. Last time bookings stand limited chances of accessing permits. travelers are required to pay a 30% booking fee to deposit on their permits and avoid any disappointments in the last hour.

What is included in a gorilla tour cost?

A traveler should always know what is included and what is excluded in the tour itinerary he/she is given. The gorilla trip cost includes a gorilla permit, park entrance fees, government taxes, ground transport, full-time English speaking driver guide, accommodation and meals as allocated in the itinerary. the exclusions in the Epic Uganda quote include alcoholic drinks, driver tips, flight fares, and other personal expenses. Travelers are reminded about this.

What is gorilla trekking age limit?

All gorilla tracking destinations, the age limit is 15 years. Therefore every below 15 years is not allowed to trek mountain gorillas despite his/her physical appearance and capabilities. The reason for the age limit is to ensure the safety of travelers and mountain gorillas in the jungle. However, if a child is almost making 15 years, his/her parent can sign an agreement as fully responsible for anything that may happen to the child during the trekking time. The letter is written and signed by the parent and then submitted to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) or Rwanda Development Board (RDB) for confirmation. Mountain gorillas live in forested areas of higher altitudes which may be difficult for a child. Also, the unpredictable forest weather may be harsh to the child plus the unpredictable movement of mountain gorillas. Some times, mountain gorillas move too far and travelers spend almost a full day in the jungle before meeting the gorillas. The strenuous nature of gorilla trekking experience and the endangered state nature of mountain gorillas are the reasons for the age limit.

Packing list for gorilla trekking

A fully equipped packing list is one of the features that guarantee successful gorilla trekking. Travelers are therefore advised to carry hiking boots to easily walk through muddy slippery forest grounds, hand gloves to protect hands from thorny bushes, rain jackets to deal with the changing forest weather, sunglasses and hat to protect from direct sun while long pants and stockings tacked into boots prevent bites by ground insects. Also, travelers are advised to carry enough drinking water and energy giving snacks to keep them strong during hiking.

How many people trek a gorilla family

Each gorilla is visited by eight people every day. Therefore 8 permits are available for each gorilla group in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo every day. During the pre-trekking briefing, travelers are divided into groups of eight and each group allocated to one gorilla family.The allocation of gorillas to travelers depend on the hiking abilities of travelers since some gorillas live far while others near. Travelers are therefore reminded to disclose their hiking abilities to their guides so as to get a suitable gorilla family they can hike with no difficulty.

How long time do i spend with gorillas?

Time to spend with gorillas is strictly an hour counted from the time travelers meet the allocated gorilla family. However, the real-time to spend in the forest is not specific. It can be as short as 30 minutes to several hours depending on the location of the allocated gorilla family and their speed of movements. After meeting the gorillas, travelers are reminded to keep calm, steady and utilize this hour well. an hour is for taking photographs, capturing videos and embracing the human-like characters of mountain gorillas plus their social behaviors.

what are the gorilla trekking rules and regulations

During the pre-trekking briefing, travelers are told the rules and regulations of gorilla trekking. These include keeping a distance of seven meters away from mountain gorillas, keeping within a group, keeping the low tone and avoiding direct eye contact with the gorillas. In case of a mountain gorilla charges, travelers are advised to keep calm and try to imitate the behaviors of gorillas like walking on arms and eating vegetation among others.

What is about gorilla habituation experience?

Gorilla habituation is 2-3 years of training wild gorillas to make them used to human presence without causing any harm. Are wondering what Gorilla habituation is all about? This experience is only done in Rushaga sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and its meant for only 4people per group. Unlike in gorilla trekking where 8 people visit one gorilla family, only four people are allowed to meet one gorilla habituation family each day. The cost of a single gorilla habituation permit is $1500 but the experience is worth it. Travelers to habituate gorilla move along with, rangers, and conservationists. Whether there are clients or not, the team of rangers, gorilla doctors and conservationist must visit the being habituated gorillas for three years. Also, travelers in gorilla habituation spend four hours with gorillas unlike in trekking where the allowed time with gorillas is one hour.

Can I track gorillas in Uganda?

YES, you can trek mountain gorillas in Uganda from Kigali-Rwanda. Gorilla tracking safaris are weldone helping travelers in Rwanda to cross and trek gorillas in Uganda. Here you can fly into Kigali international airport and drive for 4-5 hours to Bwindi forest national park/Mgahinga gorilla national parks through Cyanika border in kisoro district or Katuna boarder in kabale.

What if I fail to see gorillas

In the rare case where travelers fail to see mountain gorillas, respective park management give travelers a second chance to trek visit gorillas the next day to trek again without paying. However, if a traveler fails to see gorillas due to his/her physical unfitness or sickness, he or she is not refunded anything since its not the fault of the respective park management.

What are the chances of seeing mountain gorillas?

Chances of seeing mountain gorillas are 99.9% if not 100%. With Epic Uganda Vacation, we have never experienced a scenario where travelers fail to see mountain gorillas. Travelers are therefore guaranteed a chance to meet and interact with mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. At the end of watch day, a group of trackers roam into the jungle to follow different gorilla groups and confirm where they are spending a night. these trackers do it again in the morning to follow up the gorilla families and communicate to the travelers which route to follow depending on the allocated gorilla family.

Travelling to Uganda.

Most countries have their Airports located in the capital city; the case is different with Uganda – Entebbe International Airport is your landing point when getting to Uganda Kampala – the Airport is approximately 40 Kilometers to the south of Kampala (capital city).

More than a dozen international Airlines currently have operations to and from Entebbe International Airport connecting to the rest of the world. Uganda has also sealed Bilateral Air Service Agreements with about 30 countries. The airport is located on the equator and 320°E.

Entebbe has a tropical climate all year round, with temperatures ranging between 17° and 27° Celsius. Uganda is geographically located in the heart of Africa, giving Entebbe International Airport an advantage for a travel hub in the Great Lakes region. Many flights to other cities in Africa therefore takeoff at Entebbe.

Some of the International Airlines operating at Entebbe include:
Qatar Airways
Delta Airlines
Turkish Airlines
Air Burundi
Air Tanzania
British Airways
Egypt Air
Ethiopian Airlines
Kenya Airways
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Rwanda Air Express
SN Brussels
South African Airways
Sudan Airways
TMK Air Commuter

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