Meeting the mountain gorillas in the jungles of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo is a magical moment for the lucky travelers who trek down the rare wildlife. In the whole world, these remote and rare mountain gorillas are only found in the eastern corner of Africa, countries like Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. And since the Democratic Republic of Congo hasn’t been fully stable to accept tourism, Uganda and Rwanda remain the only famous destinations for gorilla trekking safaris.
There is good news for the gorilla lovers and those who wish to spot them, as their conservation status has shifted from critically endangered to endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The International Union for Conservation of Nature has updated its Red list of threatened Species and brought new hope for the animals, which have seen their numbers rising; thanks to the collaborative conservation efforts across country boundaries and positive engagement from communities living around the mountain gorillas’ habitats.
A mountain gorilla is one of the two subspecies of the Eastern gorilla and their counterparts, lowland gorillas. In the recent years, due to activities such as poaching, their numbers were estimated to have dropped to just 680.
Now the population of mountain gorillas is more than 1000 marking the highest number ever recorded for the subspecies. Thanks go to the conservation efforts like poaching patrols and veterinary interventions, snare removals, among others. Mountain gorillas are only found in the Virunga massif and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. All these areas are ringed by farmlands and increasing human populations hence leading to threats like human borne diseases, poaching, among others.
Despite the fact that mountain gorillas are increasing in number, these subspecies are still endangered and therefore conservation actions must continue.
The coordinated efforts through a regional action plan and fully implementing IUCN best conservation guidelines for great ape tourism and disease prevention, which recommend limiting number of tourists and preventing any close contact with humans, are critical to ensuring a future for the mountain gorilla.
Mountain gorillas are the major attractions in every country that host them. While on a gorilla trek; the experience and excitement you encounter while with them is really worthwhile. And please note that you only have an hour with these gorillas. This is the only moment visitors get to sight the rare gorillas clearly.
Travelers are advised to keep 7 meters’ distance from the gorillas; however, mountain gorillas will often get very close since they are unaware, but as a traveler in this case you’re supposed to try to move away. And while trekking, stay in your group and endeavor to keep your voice as low as possible, so that the group remains relaxed.
Gorilla trekking is one of the most daring activities safari travelers could ever experience in Africa and it is only done in three countries in the whole world, namely Rwanda, Uganda and D.R. Congo.
The best destinations for mountain gorilla trekking are in Africa and found only in the Virunga mountain ranges where people get a chance to trek through the rain forests of Bwindi, Mgahinga, Volcanoes and Virunga in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo respectively. Gorilla trekking is a thrilling adventure that everyone has to do in their lifetime.