Gorillas galore

This week’s column was written by my colleague Gonza Ochiel. Gonza writes a blog about African safaris, specifically Tanzania however he is well versed in all destinations within the Dark Continent. I hope you enjoy his story of the Gorillas of Africa.


Rwanda & Uganda – Gorillas Galore

So you watched the movie King Kong and you want to see how much fun it would be to hang out with his brothers and sisters? Well, you are in luck - there are places where you can get intimate with real gorillas. Gorillas may not be as gigantic as King Kong but the experience is much more exhilarating, as this time you won't be in a movie theatre, you’ll be deep in the African jungle.

Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park in Uganda offer once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to come face to face with mountain gorillas. Rwanda's park is easier to access, and can be arranged as a day trip. 

Stimulate All the Senses

The hike to see the gorillas can take anything from minutes to hours depending on how far the gorillas are in the bush. While the chances of spotting them are pretty high, it is not entirely guaranteed that you'll spot them during your trip.

That said, it is worth it. Even the hike to the gorilla spots is fun. So enjoy the journey. Take in the floral fragrance of the shrubs as you walk through the bush. Feel the wind blow against your skin, and appreciate the musical sounds of the birds chirping around you.

It is the small things that make this an unforgettable experience. So enjoy it all.


Blend in

To ensure a more comfortable trip, you want to dress for the situation. Good safari clothing is recommended. Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants in earth tone colours so that you can blend in well with the environment. As you will be trekking deep into the bush, strong boots that can stand thorns and sticks are recommended.


Like a Human Family

The highlight of your trip will definitely be coming across a group of gorillas. They live much like humans – in groups comprising of family members.

With the instruction of your expert guide, you can then move closer to get intimate with them. It is an awe-inspiring spectacle to see these grand and imposing gorillas. Watching keenly to ensure that you don't interfere with his household, the majestic silver back male will play host during your visit. 

The young ones will look curiously at you as the nurturing mother combs their hair. It is important that you act in a non-threatening manner and be as non-intrusive as possible.

While you may want to take pictures to record such an amazing moment, just observing and losing yourself in the wonder of nature that is before you ensures a richer and unforgettable experience.


Joy’s Words ~

Rwanda is definitely the easier of the two countries to facilitate the Gorilla visit. Be prepared for hefty park fees which run upwards of $750USD per permit. Small groups of eight maximum only. Both Rwanda and Uganda require entry visas, and Rwanda requires proof of yellow fever vaccination as well. The hikes into the mountain slopes are between one and five hours, depending on which ‘family’ group you are heading for. Good physical conditioning is a must.

More The Joy of Travel articles

About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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