Mountain gorillas are ranked among the most endangered wildlife and primate species on earth. With only about 1050 mountain gorillas remaining in the universe, going for safari expeditions following the footsteps of these very rare apes in very incredible and offers exclusive wildlife experiences. The 1050 mountain gorillas are distributed in the four major gorilla national parks that include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga gorilla national park located in southwestern Uganda, volcanoes national park located in volcanoes national park located in northwestern Rwanda and Virunga national park located in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Each of the above-mentioned national parks has habituated mountain gorilla groups each gorilla group being tracked by strictly 8 tourists everyday spending with it only one hour. Restricting the number of tourists and the time they spend with the gorillas is a conservation strategy that is done to ensure the well being of the mountain gorillas as well as enabling the tourists to enjoy their gorilla experience. About 98% DNA of the mountain gorillas is similar to human beings and they are therefore very prone to acquiring human diseases and also totally copying human behavior and therefore to limit all of these tourists are strictly allocated one hour to be in presence of the mountain gorillas.
Tourists interested in this unforgettable walk in the footsteps head to one of the mountain gorilla national parks where on the day of mountain gorilla tracking are expected to wake up early enough for breakfast, get what they will need for tracking (water, packed lunch) and head to the national park headquarters where they are given a briefing about the mountain gorilla by the rangers and later led to the forest tracking the footsteps until they get to the mountain gorilla family they were allocated. The walk through the forest takes about 1 to 8 hours because mountain gorillas sometimes are on the move and tourists may have to also walk several hours to get to them.
Mountain gorilla tracking does not require any tracking experience however it might be necessary for one to at least be physically fit because the activity involves hiking forested mountains most of which stand over 500 meters above sea level. Tourists are also required to wear appropriately for the hike (strong hiking shoes and also carrying water proof jackets). The waterproof jackets because tracking is done in tropical rain forests where rainfall is very unpredictable and can occur at anytime especially during the wet season.
Mountain gorilla tracking has an age limit and only persons who are above 15 years are the ones allowed to go tracking. The mountain gorilla tracking permits for Virunga National Park are sold at $500, the permits for Uganda are sold at $600 and the permits for Rwanda are sold at $1500. The mountain gorilla permits can be obtained from the major tourism organizations- in Uganda from the Uganda wildlife authority and in Rwanda from the Rwanda development board or through the trusted tour operator.
Mountain gorilla tracking can be done at any time of the year however best experiences can be had during the dry season when there are less chances of rainfall. Important to note is that mountain gorilla tracking in the forested mountains offers a double experience of encountering the mountain gorillas as well as viewing many other wildlife species in the national park that include various plant species, birds, insects, reptiles and many others.
During your trip, mountain gorilla safaris can be supplemented with wildlife safaris in other savanna national parks offering views of field animals like the African elephants, buffaloes, baboons, warthogs, hippos, crocodiles and many others.