Chasing ‘King Kong’: Trailing African Mountain Gorilla

You have probably seen the 2005 block buster film King Kong, which was not only exciting but fascinating. In its most iconic shot, the film depicted a supersized gorilla a top New York’s Empire state building… Although the film overly exaggerated the creature’s power and size, African mountain gorillas can be really big and powerful in reality.

Where do you find gorillas in Africa?

There are hundreds of gorillas in captivity all across the world. However, all animals deserve to be free. Nothing beats the sight of the mighty mountain gorilla in it’s natural habitat. Natively found in the jungles of South western Uganda and Northern Rwanda, gorillas are social animals that live in families that closely resemble their human counterparts. In Uganda, gorillas can be found in readily Bwindi National Park or more sparsely in Mgahinga National park. In Rwanda, gorillas can be sighted in Volcanoes National park.

A tracker in a previous expedition

What is the best time to view gorillas in Africa?

To get to see gorillas in the wild, you have to literally trek your way through the dense African jungles and at times for a few minutes to hours. This implies that the weather is a very important consideration when making plans for your next gorilla trekking adventure. The ‘gorilla mountains’ of western Uganda and Northern Rwanda lie in the dense African rain forest which experiences considerably high rainfall. Hence, the most appropriate times to go on a gorilla trek would be when it is less damp. This occurs from June to September and from December to February. Other considerations include times when the parks are least populated.

Things you need when going gorilla trekking

Before setting out on your dream trip, you need to ensure that your trip’s check list is fully updated. Here’s a few things you might need to consider.

  1. Getting a Gorilla trekking Permit: Gorillas are found in highly protected areas of the African jungle and you need express permission by the governing authorities to visit. We can help you get your gorilla permit, whose prices is determined by the time of year, and prevailing demand. This will cost you about $700. We strongly recommend you book your permit through us… as the worst (and most common) mistake would be to get a permit for a gorilla family that is far away from your hotel.
  2. Tour/Trekking guide (tracker): The experienced trackers resident in the forest have over the years developed skill to know with a bit of precision where and when to find the gorilla. 
  3. Hotel/Accomodation:  There are quite a number of hotels and lodges around the parks which offer comfort on your trip. Ask us about the best places to rest while on your gorilla trekking trip.
  4. Proper hiking gear: Finding gorillas in the wild can be quite challenging as much as there’s usually 98% chance of sighting them. It is hence important to have the right gear on for safety and comfort. Bring the best mountain/hiking shoes and clothes you can get.
The powerful gorilla

Things to know about Mountain gorillas and trekking to find them

  1. Males are usually about twice the size of females and may grow up to 6ft tall, and may weigh up to 250 Kilos… That’s over 4 times the weight of an average human! King Kong wasn’t so wrong after all!
  2. Males can be up to 10 times stronger than the strongest human boxer on steroids, so don’t even think about fighting a gorilla.
  3. In the wild, gorillas feed on the jungle vegetation and can grow quite huge and strong.
  4. There are no known mountain gorillas living in zoos, they can only be found in the dense jungles of Africa at hills as high as 1,160m and 2,607m above sea level. The common gorillas in zoos are the smaller versions, native to west Africa.
  5. Although very strong and powerful, gorillas are generally very shy and gentle. which is far from how they are presented in most films. However, keep you distance and do not interfere with their natural way of life.

Don’t wait anymore, start planning your next trip… and let it be about seeing the mighty African Mountain Gorilla!