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HOW DIFFICULT IS MOUNTAIN GORILLA TREKKING IN UGANDA AND RWANDA

Difficulty of trekking in Uganda and Rwanda,  Mountain gorilla trekking is a magical and eye-opening activity, only undertaken within the montane rainforests of East and Central Africa. It is always a dream come true for every traveler but most tourists are not warned /or informed in advance about how difficult mountain gorilla trekking is. Mountain gorillas are endangered animals living within the mountainous and forested areas of only four National Parks-Mgahinga Gorilla and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park within the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The National Parks where the mountain gorillas live are heavily forested and mountainous with elevations of between 2400 and 4000 meters above sea level. Therefore, the trek for these great apes is undeniably difficult and usually lasts somewhere between 30 minutes and 3 hours. You are required to hike the hilly areas and rugged terrain with chances of experiencing back and knee pain or even muscle strain and surprisingly some trekkers require to be carried back to their places of stay. However, the experience of coming face to face with the giant apes in their natural habitat makes you forget about how challenging it was to get to their home. For the elderly and weak persons, it may be more challenging to trek the endangered mountain gorillas but the good news is that porters can be hired (at an extra $300 to $400) to carry you (on gorilla trekking sedan chairs) through the entire trek. Difficulty of trekking in Uganda and Rwanda

The better news about this adventurous activity is that not all gorilla families are difficult to trek because there are some that occupy the lower slopes and others have their home range within a short distance from their trailheads. For Volcanoes National Park, some gorilla families especially Sabyinyo is easier to trek thus ideal for the elderly trekkers, the Group 13 (Agashya), Kwitonda and Hirwa and relatively difficult while Susa A is considered the most-difficult-to trek gorilla family in the Park, thus requiring young, energetic, physically active and adventure-seeking persons. For Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks, gorilla families in the southern sectors of Nkuringo and Rushaga are a no-go for persons that are not physically active while Rushegura gorilla family in Buhoma is said to be easiest to trek.

It is therefore crucial for intending trekkers to indicate their personal interests during briefing so as to be allocated to the right group. However, Mountain gorillas are not like trees that you will find in the same spot you left them but are rather wild animals that keep moving. A gorilla group that seems easier to trek today might turn out to be difficult to trek tomorrow hence be prepared for the worst by training/doing simple exercises for physical fitness.

Because of the physical demands of Mountain gorilla trekking, intending trekkers are advised to come prepared with walking stick (s) that is always provided or available at the briefing point, long-sleeved shirts to protect your arms when trekking through the forested areas, long safari pants to protect your legs from the killer thorns and irritating insects of the forest, enough drinking water, gardening gloves, a backpack to carry the things you might need during the trek, rain jacket because the rain is unpredictable even during the dry season, a first aid kit with bandages, muscle strain relievers, pain killers, liniment and other crucial first aid items among others. Most importantly, hire a porter (at an extra $30 to $50) and it will be worthwhile because you will be supported during the trek and your backpack carried on your behalf.

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