While most visitors do plan their gorilla safaris through many tour and travel companies or agencies, on the other hand, you can plan one by yourself and you take part in this life changing adventure. A trek to see a habituated family of mountain gorillas is remarkably a lifetime experience regardless of who planned your trip and preparing for it yourself makes it also extra-ordinary.
Planning a gorilla trip by yourself is something inspiring but it has its own challenges especially with continuous follow ups that you have to make and this is different from a person who plans his trip through ground tour operator. However, it is possible for you to go trek gorillas on self-tour. Booking a gorilla tour through Tour Company is that easier but can be costly as they tend to add some commissions that in most cases can be costly for budget visitors. Self-gorilla tours come with lots of inconveniences but equally allows you achieve your dream with these large apes while in their habitat. However, if you cannot stand the hardships of booking a safari privately then better you deal with a ground tour operator. In order for you to successfully plan for your gorilla trek, take note of the following tips;
Availability of gorilla permits
The one most important thing you need to look into before you think of a self drive gorilla tour in Uganda or Rwanda is find out if there are permits for booking. A permit at hand offers you opportunity to track a group of habituated family. More information is always available in Tour Companies’ websites or respective government organs in charge conservation and tourism. Permits can be booked through a ground tour operator or through Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) if you plan to track mountain gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi or Mgahinga National Park; Rwanda Development Board (RDB) if you are heading off to Rwanda Volcanoes National Park for gorilla trekking then for those of you who wish to explore mountain gorillas in DR Congo-you can visit the Virunga National Park authority. You can book your permit early enough at least 6 months’ time or even earlier than that prior trekking date. It is advisable for you to do so given the high demand for gorilla trekking permits and also ease allocation of groups.
Book a safari lodge
Booking for a gorilla safari by yourself means you have to book for that dream accommodation too. You need a safari lodge that suits your budget and travel needs. It should be near the park headquarters for easy access especially for morning briefing on dos and don’ts. There are many lodging options online ranging from budget to luxury that you can book for overnight stay. Equally, you have book for your dream accommodation at right time before you travel otherwise you will find rooms already occupied. Make sure that after making reservation of your accommodation facility, ensure that you keep in touch with the lodge management for updates and perhaps any changes that may occur.
To get to that dream gorilla destination, there should be a means of transportation. That said, there are many car rental agencies in Uganda for you to deal with whether you need a car for safari or airport pick up and transfers. Some of the recommended agencies are Car Rental Uganda, 4×4 Uganda, Uganda Self Drive, Drive Uganda, Road Trip Uganda etc.
Besides, some lodges and hotels also have their car rentals however, make sure that the car hire company/agency you intend to deal is registered and recognized. Car rentals range from luxury to budget and they include among others Toyota Rav4, Land Cruisers, coaster buses, safari land cruisers a mention but a few. For deals on car hire,
The other alternative is public means but the challenge with it is that most buses may not take you up to the park and they stop in town. However, you can take a flight especially for those of you who intend to track gorillas in Uganda. Direct flights are now available from Entebbe airport or Kajjansi airstrip then land into Kihihi/Kisoro airstrip where you can easily connect to Bwindi National Park or Mgahinga National Park by road.
Packing list for gorilla tour
For a successful gorilla trek, you need to pack appropriately starting with water proof hiking boots, gardening gloves, camera with no flashlight plus extra batteries, hat, long sleeved shirt, panties, walking stick but you can find this at the park headquarters, insect repellents, first aid kit and many more.