The chances of seeing gorillas during the tracking experience is something that crosses every tourist’s mind when planning to take a gorilla safari trip. Travelers are always optimistic about the chances of seeing gorillas given the high cost that come with this experience. It’s undeniable that gorilla trekking is so far the most expensive travel experience in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. To set the record straight, the chances of seeing the gorillas are so high. All thanks to great work done by the park management and conservationists that make it certain enough to meet these huge primates by habituating and monitoring them from time to time. The possibility of seeing the gorillas in the various national parks is 98%, we wouldn’t commit ourselves to 100% because of the rules and laws of nature. But what a visitor must put in mind is that once he purchases the gorilla permits and plans his/her gorilla safaris well with the help of a tour operator, he is guaranteed of seeing the gorillas in the wild. Gorilla trekking takes place in four national parks which are Bwindi impenetrable national park in Uganda, Volcanoes national park, Virunga national park and Mgahinga national park, these three are found at the Virunga massif straddled by Uganda, Rwanda and Dr congo. The four mentioned national parks are the only places in the world to see the gorillas in the wild
Why there is so much certainty of seeing the gorillas in the wild?
Gorilla habituation expereince is the process of making the wild gorillas familiar or accustomed to the presence of humans around them in the wild. The gorillas are initially wild, not used to the presence of human beings around them. The conservation and research team, identify them, start studying their behaviour, find a way of winning their trust and finally get used to people being around them. The habituation process takes about 1-2 years.
Therefore, the habituation process enables the visitors to see the gorillas without any conflict but all in peace.
Behind Scenes Relocation of the gorillas on the trekking day
The mountain gorillas are nomadic animals that keep moving from one place to another looking for food and better places to sleep. They are always on the move every day, they never settle in a place for more than a day. On the day of gorilla trekking, some of the gorilla patrons plunge into the forests of Bwindi or Virunga massif to look for the gorillas. These experts track down the gorillas by their footprints and remains such as poops. When they relocate them, they communicate to the park headquarters the exact locale where the gorillas are feeding or staying at the time. These are equipped with radio calls which they use to communicate with the park rangers to guide the visitors through the gorilla trekking expedition. They also have GPS trackers.
These gorilla experts stay around the gorilla habitats till the gorilla trekking experience starts. When the gorilla trekking starts, the park ranger guiding the visitors on the trek is always communicating and coordinating with the gorilla experts at the feeding areas through the radio call as he directs him on the route trails to take in order to find the gorillas easily.
There is always regular communication between the two parties until the park ranger together with the visitors/trackers finds and meets the gorillas. The relocation of the gorillas by the gorilla experts is a behind scene scheme that is never seen by the visitors. The Visitors never see the gorilla experts who first track the gorillas before they start their trekking experience. The first relocation of the gorillas by the experts makes the chances of seeing the gorillas so high.
The selective allocation of trackers to different gorilla families
There are different habituated gorilla families that live in the different gorilla national parks. In any given national park, gorilla troops normally known as families reside in the different areas of the park with different topography. Some areas where these gorillas live are more deep, mountainous and forested than the others hence making the trekking of different families relatively more difficult or easier than others. This is when the selective allocation of visitors to the different gorilla families comes in as a key factor in seeing the gorillas. The visitors are allocated to the gorilla families to track based on their age, physicality and health condition. For example, the very old people are allocated to trek the gorilla family that live nearer to the trek starting point so that they don’t have to walk a very long distance to tire out and end up not seeing the gorillas.
What circumstances would reduce the chances of seeing the gorillas in the wild?
These are situations that would jeopardise the visitors from seeing the gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable national park in Uganda and Volcanoes national park Rwanda. These circumstances are mainly nature-based hazards that the park management may not have control over at the time of trekking.
The outbreak of an epidemic or pandemic
In the world we live in, there are always diseases that break out from time to time. These are very infectious and can endanger the lives of both humans and gorillas. Remember the gorillas and humans almost have the same body systems hence contracting the same diseases most of the time. We have seen Ebola and cholera breaking out and recently Covid-19. During the pandemic times, the gorilla trekking activities are always put to a halt until the disease is no more.
Harsh weather conditions on the day of trekking
There are some weather conditions that make it so difficult for gorilla trekking experience to happen for instance heavy rains and storms. The heavy rains and storms make it so hard to move through the forests and hilly areas where the gorillas are found.
Presence of wars in the gorilla habitats
Some of these gorilla habitats are easy areas for rebels to hide for example the Virunga national park in Congo. In the past different rebels used to invade the areas making the chances of seeing the gorillas in the wild very slim. We love so much to visit the gorillas but our clients’ lives are the first priority while on a safari.
Though the mentioned circumstances may antagonise the chances of seeing the gorillas at that time, the visitors or trackers are always given a second chance to see the gorillas by the park authority when the issue is resolved. A reschedule of the date of trekking the gorillas is normally done for free of charge when communication is done to the gorilla management authorities.
For more details on gorilla trekking to Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo,Africa Adventure Safaris is at your service!
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