Important Facts About Gorilla Trekking on an African Safari

how-is-winter-on-african-photographic-safari

When you go on an African safari, there are countless exotic animals that you may see on your trip, including the majestic mountain gorilla. Gorilla trekking is a very popular safari activity, and if you’re interested in having this experience on your next safari, there are a few facts that you should keep in mind. Here is some basic information about gorilla trekking on African safari that should help you decide if you want to include this activity in your vacation.

 

Safety of Gorilla Trekking

For travelers interested in gorilla trekking on safari, it’s common to wonder if this activity is actually safe. To their surprise, gorilla trekking is a very safe experience, as long as you follow a few simple tips.

 

First, you should make sure that you follow all of your safari guide’s instructions. Failing to listen to your guide can decrease your safety. Second, you shouldn’t make any quick movements, as that can take the gorillas by surprise. While many gorillas you will see on your trekking adventure will be used to the presence of humans, you need to be sure not to do anything that could make them feel threatened.

 

Another thing to remember is that gorilla trekking requires a good deal of walking, much of which takes place in rough terrains. If you’re limited physically, then gorilla trekking probably isn’t the ideal safari activity for you.

 

Best Season for Gorilla Trekking

If you want to go gorilla trekking on African safari, you need to choose the right time of year to travel. Generally, you can go gorilla trekking year-round, but certain times of year will provide you better opportunities to see gorillas than others.

 

When it comes to comfort, it’s usually best to go gorilla trekking during the dry seasons, which means traveling between December and February or June and September. During these times of year, there will be little rain and plentiful sunshine, meaning you’ll be better able to see the gorillas.

 

While you can certainly visit during the rainy season, it won’t be nearly as enjoyable, and it will be much more difficult for you to reach the gorillas. For instance, the terrain will be much more slippery during the wet seasons, increasing your risk for a fall while trekking. In almost every regard, traveling during the dry season is the best choice.

 

Other Factors to Consider

Before you can go gorilla trekking, there are several qualifications that you must meet. First, anyone interested in gorilla trekking will need to obtain a permit. You must acquire this permit before you arrive at your trekking locations, and because only a limited number of trekking permits are issued, they can be hard to obtain if you don’t plan ahead. Second, you should also make sure that you’ll be accompanied by an experienced guide. Gorilla trekking is much easier and safer if you have help from a professional.

 

Gorilla trekking on safari is a thrilling activity that you should experience at least once in your life. Book your African safari today so that you can see these gorgeous animals up close and in person.

 

More Than Gorillas: Primates of East Africa

want-to-see-the-victoria-falls

Primates intrigue us for many reasons, not the least of which is their similarity to our own mannerisms and physical makeup. Africa is the only place in the world to see most of the highly developed primate species as well as unique specimens like the bush baby and vervet monkey.

And, yes, gorillas number among these species, but since gorillas get much of the focus when talking about African primates, we decided to highlight some other interesting species worth taking a look at when on an east African safari.

Bush Baby

Bush babies are one of the smallest primates and one species group that people often forget are included in the order. They are noted for their enormous eyes, nocturnal nature and characteristic “crying” mating call that actually does sound quite like a baby.

Bush babies exhibit fewer human-like characteristics than other primates, but they can still engage in social bonding activities like play and grooming. And they can actually be quite sweet when they bond with humans. Just don’t get any ideas; they are illegal to own as pets and cannot thrive outside of the wild.

Vervet Monkey

Vervet monkeys are easily recognizable for their small shape, sandy-colored fur and tufts of wispy white hairs. They are not afraid of humans — quite the opposite, in fact! Having a group of vervet monkeys jump on your car roof as you enter a park is not an uncommon occurrence.

They usually expect to be given food in these situations, but feeding them is illegal since it disrupts their natural diet and encourages them to be even worse pests. Plus, they may be cute but can still bite!

Colobus Monkeys

Colobus monkeys are much more elusive primates despite their body size (up to 50 lbs) and the easily spotted wispy white hair growths on their arms and tail. These black-and-white coats were once prized as ceremonial attire until hunting of Colobus furs was made illegal.

Since they flee from the sight of humans and rarely leave their treetops for the ground, you are more likely to hear colobus monkeys than see them.

Baboons

While they are more different than us compared to apes, baboons are actually the second-most successful primate species on the planet. They can adapt to a variety of environmental conditions and tend to live near cliffs, forests, savannas and even near highways! In fact, baboons have been so successful at living outside of protected areas that many farmers consider them crop-stealing pests.

Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees are the most similar living primates to us humans on the planet. They share 98 percent of our genetic makeup, and they even have the same number of teeth as us.

Observations of chimpanzees by researchers, including Dame Jane Goodall, have revealed their complex and quite human-like social structures. They use tools, exhibit a range of sympathetic emotions and can even engage in warfare between chimp groups.

Unfortunately, while chimpanzees have success breeding both within and without captivity, habitat loss, disease, poaching and illegal trading of chimpanzees as pets has led to significant loss in chimp populations.

See All of These Magical Monkeys and Amazing Apes on an East African Safari

Countries like Kenya and Uganda offer the best chance at seeing most or all of these wonderful, intriguing species. Make sure to book your east African safari tour with primates in mind since many tour guides and companies can help take you to the perfect spot to catch a look at your favorite monkey or ape species.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa