Tracking Gorillas


Aug 7th, 2017, 03:55 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 81
Tracking Gorillas

We plan to travel to Africa in 2018. Would like to plan a trip with National Geographic tracking Gorillas. The concern we have is that some report the track to be extremely long and difficult. We are 70 years old couple in great shape, but still worry it could be too much.
Can someone that has done the track give us advice

Yaar is offline  
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Aug 8th, 2017, 06:00 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 9
Hi Yaar,

You can make it, especially if you are physically fit, that is the most important thing. You can get more info here
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kaributz is offline  
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Aug 8th, 2017, 07:08 AM
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I did trekking in February. I am already really fit (runner, road cyclist, gym freak) and I changed my workouts for 5 months before hand to incorporate more stair climbing and lower body strengthening and core work. I think it paid off. That said, my friend who went with me is quite unfit and didn't train and she made it too, although she was very uncomfortable and didn't enjoy the climb. The one thing I was unprepared for was how muddy it was. You can't train for unsure footing and sliding all over the place. I highly recommend that you hire a porter when you get to the point where the climb starts. There will be several available to hire for the duration of your trek for about $10-15. I paid mine more because on the first day there was no way I would have made it without him. He literally dragged me through some very muddy spots that I would have fallen in. They will carry your bags and help you trek.

Your guide should negotiate how hard the gorilla family is to get to for you. On our first day ours got us an intermediate family (based on how far they are located and what it will take to get to them) but it became advanced as the family moved away from where they were first spotted. The second day we got an easier family that took less time but it was still muddy and unsure footing. Some people luck out and only hike 30 minutes or so. We were close to 90 minutes the first day and about an hour the second.

But once you get there, it is SO worth it. It is one of the very few things I've done that deserve the label "life changing".
amyb is online now  
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Aug 8th, 2017, 10:12 AM
Join Date: May 2008
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I did trekking in Rwanda in Feb. 2016 in a group of four. We chose Rwanda because it is supposed to be easier (although higher), and we lucked out and it was pretty much a snap. We chose February because we had read that the gorillas tended to be lower on the mountain in the rainier time of year when there is more food lower.

We were all around 60 years old and in various levels of fitness. However, I injured my ankle about a week before the trek, and another member had a serious knee injury about four weeks before, which meant we would not have been in shape to do a longer trek to one of the harder groups.

Our guide negotiated two extraordinarily easy treks for us (he made some comment about they believe him when he says he has "old people"). We walked about 45 minutes the first day and shorter the second. First was a little steep and had lots of vines, etc., but on the second day, the gorillas were basically at the wall of the park. We hired porters and they were very helpful. I have a fear of slipping and mine kept me firmly in hand and upright.

Our group contained two other couples who were older than us, I'd say around 70, and they did well. So I think you'd be fine with a combination of picking the right place and time, having a guide who negotiates well on your behalf and hiring porters for each of you.

As stated above, it is a unique and amazing experience.
traveler318 is online now  
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Aug 9th, 2017, 08:25 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 55
Agree with everything in prior replies. We went last year, Aug 2016. It was one of the most amazing experiences ever.

I 100% agree with amyb regarding the porters. On our first track, I would not have made it without my porter. They are worth their weight in gold. We had only taken enough cash to tip the standard amounts, but we nearly doubled that for our porters and guide. We figured we wouldn't see the porters again, but the guides would be at the meeting point, so we assured her we hadn't ignored her and made sure we found her first thing the next morning to give her a nice tip. Point being, take a little extra cash just in case.

During our second track, there was an "older" couple in our group. They did just fine and she told us "I don't hike" so, there's that. We were also told that they will take age into account when assigning people to a group. I wouldn't worry if I were you. Enjoy!!!
new_adventure is offline  
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Aug 10th, 2017, 07:26 PM
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Thanks to everyone that replied. We appreciate the feedback and it definitely made us more inclined to go. Is there any advice on the best time of year to go?

Yaar is offline  
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Dec 30th, 2017, 09:32 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
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In terms of the best time to track gorillas, I would say anywhere between May and August might be the best time. During this time it is dry season and less rainfall in the Bwindi area of Uganda or the Volcanoes park in Rwanda .
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