Seeing the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is the dream of many and one should be prepared to make sure, the gorilla trek becomes really a pleasure.
The gorillas live on high altitude in mountainous terrain. They are wild animals, roaming free in the forests and it is not possible to say in advance where exactly they will be when you start with your trek. That means the trek can take hours, meaning hours of walking in the mountains on high altitude with high humidity. In other words, you should be physically fit when doing that and mentally prepared for long hours of trekking, all the way to find them and then all the way back.
Do some cardio before you go on your trip, if you are not doing it anyway, and don’t do the trek when you have a jet lag. You might be quickly exhausted. If you are visiting other safari lodges before the gorilla trek, mind the food. The food in safari lodges is usually very good and one can easily gain a few kilos within a week, which need to be carried during trekking. Don’t carry too much with you on the trek. An extensive camera equipment gets heavy uphill. If you feel you cannot do it when actually arriving there and seeing where the trek goes, don’t do it then to avoid health problems.
There are always stories where the gorillas come into camp and maybe you are lucky to be there when that happens, but don’t expect that. Rather be well prepared and enjoy the trek even more when it turns out to be easier than you thought. Gorilla treks are a bit the opposite of the usual African safari activity sitting on game drive vehicles, although even that can be exhausting.
Enjoy the magic of a gorilla trek!
Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa Image: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge