Gorilla Trekking During the Dry Season – Uganda, Rwanda & Congo Gorilla Trekking Guide
Trekking mountain gorillas is an interesting and exciting activity conducted all year round. The endangered mountain gorillas are scientifically known as Gorilla beringei beringei and sub-species of the Eastern gorillas occupying the thick Montane rainforests of Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga National Parks in Uganda, Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
In all the three countries where the mountain gorillas are found (Uganda, Rwanda and DRC), tropical climate with two seasons is experienced-dry season (in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February) and the wet/rainy season in the months of March, April, May, October and November). However, due to global warming, this is slowly changing in that shorter rain periods are experienced even during dry season and there is always no guarantee that there will be no rain during the dry season. Additionally, most of the Parks sheltering mountain gorillas are characterized by tropical rainforests which receive rain at any time of the year but still doesn’t disrupt gorilla treks.
Regardless of the season, mountain gorillas can be trekked without fail, hence making gorilla trekking an all-year round activity. However, the dry season is always the best and most preferred time for gorilla trekking by majority of tourists, although there are also some demerits of this season. This article will therefore help tourists to understand the reasons to trek gorillas during the dry season and reasons to avoid this time of the year. Therefore, the advantages of gorilla trekking in the dry season include;
Walking within the forests is not so strenuous
Hiking trails are less slippery and muddy during the dry season due to less rainfall hence making gorilla trekking slightly easier. Tourists are however advised to expect rain even during the dry season, because the places where the mountain gorillas are found are tropical rainforests that receive rain all year round much as the rainfall is lower than in the rainy season.
It’s easier to drive through the Parks
Because hiking trails and roads are drier during the dry season, it also becomes more comfortable to drive through the Parks compared to the rainy season.
Clearer photography and easier movement
Vegetation of Bwindi Impenetrable, Mgahinga, Virunga and Volcanoes National Parks in the dry season is not as thick as it is during the rainy season. The less undergrowth makes the forest clearer hence enhancing movement and rewarding trekkers with clearer photography. Also, because most trees shade their leaves during the dry season, several wildlife species can be spotted during the dry season than in the rainy season when vegetation is thicker.
However, trekking gorillas in the dry season also has some demerits that include: High competition due to the high demand of mountain gorillas since most tourists prefer this time of the year.
Also, accommodation is a bit expensive since Safari Lodges/hotels charge higher rates than in the wet/rainy season.
What to carry for gorilla trekking in the dry season
Intending gorilla trekkers are advised to carry long sleeved shirts, long trousers, gardening gloves, rainproof hiking boots, rain jacket (because areas where mountain gorillas are found receive rain at any time of the year), non-flash camera, backpack and insect repellent.
In conclusion, gorilla trekking is an all-year round activity but the dry season is preferred because hiking trails are less muddy/slippery, offer clearer photography and makes it easier to drive through the Parks.