Congo is one of the most diverse countries in Africa and by far in the world. Gorilla trekking is prime activity done at Virunga national park – the largest park in Congo and Africa. The park is home to the endangered mountain gorillas that are the main attraction in this park. There are several gorilla families habituated for tourism in Virunga park with the trekking starting at different trails heads. This same information serves those doing lowland gorilla trekking in Kahuzi-biege national park.
You will need to purchase a gorilla permit from Visit Virunga by booking a particular date and paying for the permit. You will then be allocated a groups to visit. Gorilla trekking starts early morning where you receive briefing from the ranger guides on experience in the Virunga forest. After this they will communicate with the trackers who leave earlier to locate the area where the gorillas are. You will eventually start the trek in the forest until you finally locate the gorillas. The trek takes anything between 1 hour to 3 hours one way depending on where the gorillas nested the previous night and the terrain on the area.
One needs to be 15 years and above to trek gorillas, you book the permits using your passport as proof of your age. You are not allowed to trek gorillas if you are sick with a communicable disease like a flu or cold because gorilla are susceptible to human diseases. You are kindly requested to cancel or postpone your trip to a time you will be better.
Throughout the trek you are advise to listen to the ranger guide and not get off the trail. You are also not allowed to eat, drink or smoke in the presence of the chimpanzees. There will be designated times and place for this activities. Should you need to take a short or long call, please inform your ranger guide and he will advise on where to – you will be required to dig a hole which you will cover after you finish your business.
Things to carry for a gorilla trek
Long sleeved shirt
Hiking/walking boots (preferably water proof and one you have worn before and are comfortable)
Long socks to tuck in trousers against red ants
Day pack with snacks and water