Making Gorilla Tracking Accessible to Disabled Individuals, Seniors, and More
If you’re someone who has mobility challenges or is a senior citizen, and you’re interested in experiencing the thrill of gorilla trekking in Uganda, you might be worried about navigating through tough terrains and dense vegetation. But here’s some good news: Gorilla tracking is an adventure that’s open to everyone, including those with disabilities and seniors, thanks to a unique solution called a sedan chair, often referred to as an African Helicopter.
To ensure you’re fully prepared for this exciting journey, here’s what you’ll need: a packed lunch, enough drinking water, sunglasses, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoe protectors, insect repellent, a walking stick, and a charged camera. Your day will start by heading to the park headquarters for registration and an informative session about gorillas and the Bwindi Forest National Park. You’ll learn about what to expect during the trek, important guidelines, and even enjoy a cultural performance by local groups. Then, you’ll be grouped with fellow trekkers (usually no more than eight) before beginning the unforgettable Gorilla tracking adventure.
While Gorilla tracking can be physically demanding, especially for those with disabilities or seniors, there’s a solution. It’s recommended to be physically and mentally prepared before embarking on the trek. Although different Gorilla families can be tracked each day, the time it takes varies based on the location and terrain. Some families are a short 30-minute walk from the park offices, while others can take up to six to eight hours. The allocation of Gorilla families is decided on the day of tracking. If you have mobility challenges, all you need to do is let your guide know. They’ll ensure you’re placed in a suitable group or provide a sedan chair and porters to assist you.
Now, let’s talk about the logistics of the sedan chair. This option is available at various Gorilla tracking spots within Bwindi Forest National Park. The cost ranges from USD 350 to USD 450 per chair per tracking. This fee covers both the chair itself and the porters who will carry you to see the mountain Gorillas and back to the park headquarters after the trek. Prices can vary based on demand. Due to the limited number of sedan chairs, it’s a good idea to inform us in advance if you’ll require one, so we can secure it for you.
Traveling to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park for Gorilla tracking is manageable. The park is a 10-hour drive from Entebbe International Airport or Kampala city, or a shorter one-hour flight. Upon landing at Kihihi or Kisoro Airstrip, it’s about a one-and-a-half-hour journey to your lodging in the park. If you’re starting from Kigali, Rwanda, travel times vary depending on the sector.
Permits and Visas
For visitors, there’s the East African Tourist Visa, allowing entry into Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya. This makes it more convenient to combine Gorilla tracking experiences in both Rwanda and Uganda. While Rwanda’s Gorilla permits cost USD 1500 per day, Uganda offers them at a more affordable USD 700.
In conclusion, don’t let disabilities or age stop you from embarking on the incredible adventure of Gorilla tracking. With the support of sedan chairs and knowledgeable guides, this remarkable journey is accessible to all. Get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime experience where you can connect with these magnificent creatures and the wild surroundings.