December 13, 2021 | Bujo Safaris
Gorillas rank among the most sought-after attractions in the whole world. A handsome number of tourists every year embark on safaris into the heart of African jungle to have a one on one encounter with humble, magnificent beasts. There are mainly two species of gorillas;precisely the Eastern gorilla and Western gorilla. These two are further divided into four subspecies of gorillas with each main species having two subspecies.
The Eastern gorilla is split up into eastern lowland gorillas and mountain gorillas while the western gorilla is subdivided into the Cross River gorillas and western lowland gorillas. The mountain gorillas are the most famous of all the subspecies and these can only be encountered in three places on the whole planet. These blessed places are Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Visitors can have a one on one encounter with the mountain gorillas on a gorilla trekking safari in one’s desired gorilla destination.
Most of the mountain gorilla population inhabit a stretch of the area known as the Virunga Mountains except for the Bwindi population which is also very close to the Virunga massif. These mountain ranges are characterized by evergreen tropical rainforest the ideal habitat for mountain gorillas. These forests are thick with beautifully intertwined bamboo, vines, ferns, and trees and shrubs. Mountain gorillas are also recorded as the second largest primates after the eastern lowland gorillas.
Gorillas have a strongly similar DNA to humans ranging from 96 to 98 percent based on what matter is included in the test. This makes gorillas one of man’s closest relatives after the bonobos and chimpanzees. Although gorillas nearly share the same DNA with humans their diets differ incredibly and are predominantly comprised of a vegetation diet. Gorillas eat from a variety of over 100 plant species with their favorite being bamboo shoots, wild celery, bedstraw, and other types of fruit.
Gorillas rarely drink water because they derive most of it in their succulent diet, which they consume in between breaks of napping, family bonding, grooming, and playing.
As earlier stated, even though they share a close related DNA with humans and an almost similar digestion system, few gorillas have been recorded eating meat except for a few captives in zoos. Unlike their cousins, chimps and bonobos which have a great craving for meat and often hunt smaller mammals like monkeys or squirrels. Even though their digestive systems can support the digestion of meat, the only other food they have apart from plant matter is mainly termites which they resort to in case their vegetable food becomes scarce.
Gorillas can be encountered in a few countries across central, western and east Africa. Some of these countries include Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, and Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville). Among all these countries the best gorilla trekking destinations are the east African countries of Rwanda, Uganda and their neighbor Democratic Republic of Congo; this is mainly because they are the only countries that harbor the elusive mountain gorillas.
There are four gazetted parks where visitors can visit and interact with these magical creatures. These are Bwindi impenetrable and Mgahinga national park in Uganda, Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Volcanoes national park in Rwanda. Through their enormous size usually portrays them as dangerous and menacing animals, gorillas are some of the most peaceful and gentle creatures on earth. The misinformed stories of gorillas being portrayed as menacing creatures can be cleared on a gorilla safari and meet the gentle giants of Africa.
Mountain gorillas can be visited in all months of the year though a few months are more suitable for gorilla trekking than months. The recommended months are mainly June through August and December to early February. These are dry seasonsin these respective countries and more ideal for trekking because there is less rain to be expected during a trek, trails aren’t slippery and muddy plus limited insects to interrupt you.
The rainy months of March to May are less suitable than the dry season but are ideal for people who prefer lesser crowds and are on a low budget. During low seasons, lodges and tour operators offerdiscounts on their services to attract more customers.
Having any questions about gorillas?Book a gorilla permit to any destination of your choice to encounter, interact and learn more about gorillas on a personal level.