We recently had a wonderful and memorable luxury gorilla tour in Africa with Gorilla Expeditions Limited! No matter how far, slippery, strenuous, the ‘path’ is, it well worth it when you encounter a magnificent gorilla troupe at the end. I did find it is bit disappointing (and embarrassing) that there were very few that took advantage of the young men who availed themselves to trek with you, carrying gear, helping with some more difficult terrain, – the small gratuity for this help was well worth it and I highly recommend that one takes advantage of the offer.
It is life-changing to first encounter the mountain gorillas. They truly seem to be as interested in studying the human troupe as we are in studying the gorilla troupe – it is almost unsettling to have the silverback maintain his gaze as if to study you! The full hour in the presence of the troupe passed by too quickly but was full of memories and pictures, both actual and mental, to last a lifetime.
It costs quite of lot of money but the money is used to conserve the gorilla families in their natural habitat. Even the inhabitants of the villages close to the park are being involved in this conservation program which, to me, seems the key to success.
We had requested a close group as my mom and her friend and my brother’s pregnant wife were with us. It turned out to be a 5-6 hour hike to find the mountain gorillas. A group of buffalo (we had to sneak past them) had scared the gorillas off. The terrain was also difficult and my mom’s friend was helped by two porters. When we finally found the mountain gorillas in the mist, it was all worth it. The kids wrestling us each other and the Silverback keeping a look over the family. Even though the hike was difficult, it was definitely one of the main parts of the visit as the terrain was beautiful. We also really got to see the real “Gorillas in the Mist”.
Having done some research prior to the trips, we were ready for anything. Lots of water are recommended and bring snacks especially those that can give you energy kicks. Prepare for rain, mud and tough terrain. I suggest wearing gloves, hut, insect repellent. At the end of the day, the hike can be very easy, but best to be prepared. If you have any doubts about the trek contact Gorilla Expeditions Limited to arrange for this unforgettable experience and at the park before you enter the forest for the trekking hire a porter for a simple fee like $ 10-$ 20 dollars, and your support to hire a porter you are promoting community-based tourism hence reducing locals from spoiling the environment and killing the mountain gorillas in the forest.