Many travelers are skeptical about the feasibility of planning a 1 day gorilla tour to Bwindi impenetrable forest for the interest of budget and time. The important question at the back of one’s mind is “Will I make it on time to start gorilla trekking with the group?
If you are willing to take-up the one day short gorilla trek, here is some reliable advice.
You can ably start your tour from Kigali even if your flight arrives by 2:00am – 3:00am in Rwanda, or better arrive earlier and spend a night in Kigali so that you rest before the long day ahead of you. Ideally you should set off from Rwanda by 3:00 am with your driver driving to the Gatuna border – the Uganda Rwanda border. The drive from Kigali to Katuna border is 2 hours and the drive from here to the closest sector of Bwindi forest – the Rujiha sector.
If you are planning a one day tour plan, its best to book gorilla permits strictly from the Rujiha sector of Bwindi which is the closet to Kigali. If your gorilla permits are booked in Buhoma, Rushaga sector or Mgahinga national park, then you are looking at driving 3 hours which is still possible to find gorilla trekking before it starts off.
It’s best to book your tour through a reliable Rwanda tour operator who will book the vehicle, driver and gorilla permits other than driving the tour yourself. Being just one day on tour, you need an experienced driver guide driving the narrow Rwandan roads characterized with lots of blind turns and a number of big trucks coming to and from the border.
You can also ably trek mountain gorillas on a 1 day gorilla tour package if you will be spending a night in a town near Bwindi national park. Visitors can ably drive from Kabale, Kisoro and arrive on time for briefing at the park office which follows gorilla trekking.
Gorilla tourism in Bwindi national park is well managed with every trek setting off after briefing tourists what to expect and how to conduct with the gorillas. Gorilla tourism is a conservation initiative to protect the highly endangered mountain gorilla species in Bwindi and a briefing is highly important for the safety of the gorillas and their habitant. The treks are guided by local experienced guides, park wardens and armed guards to protect tourists in case of encounter with wild animals like forest elephants, buffalo and others.
Is it necessary to stick to an easy trek for a one day Plan?
Although some travelers avoid Bwindi national park believing that since its called impenetrable, then it only offers tough trek, that’s not true. There are gorillas families located near the starting points and normally go less than 1 hour to find the gorillas while there are families which require your guide to drive 40 minutes to a good starting point because the gorilla family is deep in the forest.
For a one day travel plan, if your departure flight is booked after 8:00 PM and you are physically fit, go for the best trek for you. Even for the longest trek, you will be back from the forest at latest by 5:00 PM. This is good time for you to travel back to Kigali to catch departure flight or have overnight in Kigali.
What are the chances of seeing Gorillas on a 1 day tour plan?
Even with just one trek, the chances of seeing mountain gorillas in Bwindi forest are 95% on any given day all year round. Each day before down, a team of trackers who are equipped with satellite phones go into the forest to find the location of each family starting from the points at which each family was at previous day as they keep communicating with the rangers on where to find the gorillas. Gorilla trekking is a well managed conservation project where gorillas are monitored almost 24hrs a day.
What to wear for Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest
The most essential items for your gorilla trekking is lunch, water and wear clothing and footwear that can effectively protect you from piercing nettles, thorns, tree branches, insects and flies, spiders, fire ants and so much more on the way to the gorillas. The hike is tough and mostly wet and slippery as you penetrate deeper ascending higher into the forest towards the gorillas.
Make sure to wear:
- Long loose pants so that you’re comfortable
- Long sleeved thin cotton top which can absorb sweat
- Long thick stocking with which you can tuck your pants
- Good Hiking boots with good ankle support, good grip and waterproof
- Light waterproof raincoat with a hood
- Insect repellent
- Take a walking stick provided at the park offices
- Garden gloves
- A good camera without a flash to capture the moment