Gorilla safari advice

Gorilla safari advice


TRAVEL LIKE A LOCAL!

Choice of safari


Paul Callcutt at our leading supplier of gorilla trekking vacations, Natural World Safaris:
All the guides that we use are the best of the best. Some safari companies are more about offering a copper bath, but we are more about the experience, the wildlife viewing and the quality of the guides first. And our clients are too. That is not to say that luxury lodges and services are not available, they certainly have their place in a location such as this, just that our priority is always in providing luxury experiential travel. I would always recommend that people take more than one visit to the mountain gorillas. This is because every time is so very different from the others, after your first visit you will relax significantly and perhaps spend less time so focused on taking pictures but actually absorb the experience a lot more.

Gorilla tips


Paul Callcutt at our leading supplier of gorilla trekking vacations, Natural World Safaris gives great gorilla safari advice:
"When you see the gorillas, be super quiet and submissive. The gorillas largely donít care about your presence much, unless people get out of line, and Iím sure if anyone were to cross that, the gorillas would have something to say about it. But the wardens and trackers ensure that you stay where you should be, and behaving as you should be."

Photography tips


Paul Callcutt at our leading supplier of gorilla trekking vacations, Natural World Safaris:
SLR cameras are the best for these trips although a lot of people donít want to carry it. I wouldnít obsess with long zoom lenses because you are going to be so close to them. Some people turn up with a 200-300 mm zoom on an SLR and then find out that they canít get far enough away to take photographs. If I had to choose between a mid-zoom, a 24-70 or a 70-300, I would take the 24-70.
Paul Callcutt at our leading supplier of gorilla trekking vacations, Natural World Safaris:
"Boots with a high ankle support are important, as this can be the difference between a rolled ankle or not, as this is a trekking experience. I have seen socks and sandals on a trek. I donít get that really."

Health & safety


TRAVEL SAFELY WHILE ON A GORILLA SAFARI

Health


Visit your GP 6-8 weeks before traveling to Rwanda, Uganda, Republic of Congo or Cameroon to ensure you have all the necessary vaccinations and medication.

Malaria is present in Rwanda, Uganda, Republic of Congo and Cameroon, so see advice from Fit for Travel and also your tour operator on whether to take medication or not depending on the specific region you are visiting. Wear long sleeves and trousers and use your mosquito nets. Yellow fever is also a risk in these countries.

Tse-tse flies are around, and have a painful bite, as well as carrying sleeping sickness. They are attracted to the colour blue Ė so donít wear it.

As you will be on the move a lot on a gorilla safari vacation, carry hand sanitizer to use before meals. Be sure to wash fresh produce well before eating and avoid raw foods in restaurants.

HIV and AIDS is prevalent in Rwanda, Uganda, Republic of Congo and Cameroon. Exercise precautions in situations involving blood or open wounds, such as helping accident victims. And of course, with any sexual encounters, safe sex should always be practised.

Make sure you bring all medications you might need with you, as supplies are not guaranteed in relevant countries

Only drink bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.

Avoid swimming in fresh water, as water borne diseases such as Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia) are a threat. This included just paddling.

Safety


Rwanda and Uganda are generally safe countries to travel in, with relative political stability, but do keep up to date on the FCO website. There are exceptions on the border of Democratic Republic of Congo, but Rwandan troops monitor this area, and in the safe hands of a tour operator, you wonít be going near unstable areas anyway.

Homosexuality is, sadly, illegal in Uganda and Cameroon, and LGBT couples are at risk of discrimination and abuse if they are affectionate in public.

Advice from our travelers


GORILLA SAFARI REVIEWS & RECOMMENDATIONS

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful gorilla safari advice that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.
The whole vacation was memorable for all the best reasons but probably the most outstanding were the 2 days spent with the Mountain Gorillas. A memory that will live with me 'til the end of my days! Be prepared for one of the best vacations of your life! - Judith Towell

Be patient. Rwanda is a wonderful country with many experiences to reward what may seem longish journeys - particularly that to Nyungwe Forest where Colobus monkeys are very interesting and there is much else to enjoy. Do use sticks and porters when available. They do make progress easier as well as giving needed income. Visit genocide sights if possible. Not at all easy but will help understanding of what Rwanda has been through- Patrick Taylor

Just go, especially to Rwanda. The post-genocide recovery is humbling (a visit to the Genocide Memorial museum is an absolute must, I cannot imagine a more powerful educational tool than this) - and we lost our hearts to this small and extremely beautiful country. We had two days gorilla tracking which were wonderful - not least because of the great organisation and knowledge of the local guides and trackers - Caroline Gant

The cost is very high to see the gorillas, but it is worth it. You do get to see them and the experience is once in a lifetime. Plus, the journey there is also a great part of the experience as the drive is beautiful - Jacqui Wilson

Always take the option of a porter when trekking the gorillas. After paying 100's of dollars for the permit, $15 for the use of a porter is peanuts. The trek is really tiring and the porter not only carries your bag but pushes, pulls and generally helps get you into the best spots to photograph the gorillas! - Kathy Hammond
Photo credits: [Paul Callcutt quote - Guides: Jocelyn Saurini] [Paul Callcutt quote - Photography: futureatlas.com] [Clement Kanamugire - Clothing: Pia Waugh] [Review 1 - Mark Asquith: Martijn.Munneke] [Review 2 - Paul Oppenheimer: Martijn.Munneke]
Written by Catherine Mack
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