Gorilla Trekking in the rainy season – Uganda, Rwanda and Congo
Mountain gorillas are one of the earth’s most sought-after wildlife species found in only three countries including Uganda (in Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks), Rwanda (within Volcanoes National Park) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (in Virunga National Park). Most tourists visiting Africa don’t miss gorilla trekking in their bucket list and because of their exceptionality and the costliness of the activity ($700, $1500 and $400 per person for just gorilla permits in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC respectively), most tourists wish to get the best out of Gorilla trekking, hence the reason tourists ask for the best time to trek the gorillas.
Trekking Gorillas is an all year round activity but most tourists prefer the dry season (June, July, August and September as well as December, January and February) and avoid gorilla trekking in the rainy season (March, April and May as well as October and November). However, this article will mainly focus on the advantages of trekking gorillas in the rainy season, what you miss out when you don’t trek the mountain gorillas in the rainy season, but also examine the challenges of gorilla trekking in the rainy season.
Mountain Gorillas generally occupy areas of high altitude with Tropical climate, which is characterized by rainy all year round. This means that rains are expected even in the dry seasons thus intending trekkers are advised to expect it anytime.
The following are the exciting reasons you have to trek gorillas in the rainy season;
Less competition for gorilla permits
There is less competition for gorilla permits during the rainy/wet season because most tourists avoid this time of the year hence gorilla permits are more readily available at any time of the month. Unlike the dry season where permits have to be booked at least 3-6 months in advance, permits for the low seasons can be booked even one month in advance.
Similarly, since there are few tourists trekking gorillas in the rainy season, the few that visit the gorilla habitats have a chance of enjoying the entire Parks to themselves without interactions from other tourists and guides/rangers.
Most safari Lodges offer discounted room rates
Tourists tend to avoid the low season for gorilla trekking and this also affects safari Lodges within the Parks where mountain gorillas are found. Safari Lodges and hotels also offer special low season discounts for their rooms so as to attract more tourists and business. It’s therefore evident that gorilla trekking in the rainy season allows you to save more money for other activities or safari expenses.
Mountain Gorillas are easily sighted
Trekking gorillas during the rainy season takes a shorter time compared to the dry season because there is always abundance of food during this time of the year, hence the mountain gorillas don’t move far and you will always not have to move far. The mountain gorillas usually keep within the slopes during the rainy season compared to the dry season when they have to climb higher and farther in search for food. Gorilla trekking in the rainy season therefore means you will finish the trek easily and less exhausted.
Chances of spotting migratory bird species
There are numerous migratory species of birds during the rainy season, hence making it an ideal time for tourists interested in gorilla trekking and bird watching as well.
The challenges of trekking gorillas in the rainy season include: Trails being slippery/muddy making it more strenuous and also there is thick undergrowth which also makes it more difficult to trek gorillas in the rainy season.
What to Carry For Gorilla Trekking In the Rainy Season
The Parks where the mountain gorillas are found tend to be extremely cold during the rainy season hence thick but light cotton clothing are recommended. Carry rain jacket/poncho, long sleeved shirts, long trousers, sweater, backpack, camera, binoculars, gardening gloves, strong waterproof hiking boots, hat, cotton socks, insect repellents and first aid kit among others.