Gorilla Trekking for Seniors – The Elderly and Physically Challenged.
Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo continues to rank high among the lifetime bucket list activities for those visiting Africa.
Trekking to see Gorillas in their natural habitat is a privilege that doesn’t come on a platter; simply put, Gorilla trekking is not an ordinary nature walk or stroll in the park but a physically demanding adventure whose reward matches the effort.
It is physically demanding because of the terrain and the long walking hours involved because much as these Gorilla groups are habituated and accustomed to human presence, they still roam the park freely and it can take long hours of trekking through the thick forest or mountain ranges to find them.
Gorilla trekking for seniors (those aged 60 years and above) and those with fitness challenges therefore sounds like a long shot and many try to abandon the idea and instead settle for game viewing safaris and beach holidays that require less effort.
Do not be discouraged; it is very possible for people of old age / seniors, younger people with fitness challenges and those with disabilities and mobility challenges to take part in Gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo and enjoy the experience like everyone else.
In 2013, a 94 years old lady successfully completed the trek in Bwindi and still remains the oldest female to do Gorilla trekking in Uganda! So, if you have been wondering as to whether this is something for you or not and have questions about Gorilla trekking for the disabled and mobility difficulties, the answer is that it is all possible and we will tell you how.
Trekking to the nearest Gorilla group; previously, whenever you purchased Gorilla permit, you would be immediately allocated a group to visit. So basically, your gorilla permit would be issued with a pre-determined gorilla family but that is no longer the case.
Today, you are only allocated to a particular sector where you will be going for the trek. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda which possess more than 50% of the world’s mountain Gorilla population has 4 sectors and that is; Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo.
Each sector has a number of gorilla families which are allocated to the visitors on the day of trekking. Only 8 people excluding the ranger guides and porters are assigned to a particular family depending on a number of factors which include age and physical state of the visitor.
Fort the elderly and people with disability and mobility challenges therefore, it will be at this stage that your guide will request that you be assigned to the group that is known to be near at that moment so that you don’t have to walk for long hours to find the Gorillas.
Gorillas move freely within the forest but because the park rangers have daily contact with them, they always know which group is near at the time and there is no one family that is near all the time so they keep monitoring.
Hiring Porters; it is advisable for pretty much everyone that goes on a Gorilla trek to hire a porter because these people are mostly residents of the are and will make your overall experience more enjoyable. Porters will help with carrying your camera equipment and your day pack and will help you maneuver past the difficult areas during the trek because they know the terrain so well.
Besides that, hiring a porter helps them earn a living for their family or make ends meet in some way which also helps towards conservation as they will look to protect the Gorillas which help them get a day job and earn a living.
Some of the porters are reformed poachers who now proudly earn their livelihoods that way and committed to conservation. It costs $10 to $20 to hire a porter in Uganda and Rwanda depending on how much there is to carry.
Hiring the Sedan Chair; this is the ultimate express Gorilla trekking solution for the seniors in age and gorilla trekking for the disabled. As the name goes, the sedan chair is indeed a real sedan chair resting on a metallic plate with a seat belt for proper strapping and extension handles for carrying.
You will be comfortably carried into the forest for your trek and back making it a one size fits all gorilla trekking solution for both the elderly, disabled and physically unfit. This costs between $300 and $500 and can easily be arranged through your hotel or tour operator like us. The lesser version of the sedan is the bamboo stretcher which also serves the purpose.
Accommodation; it is a clear fact that your accommodation can make or break your holiday so it is important to book comfortable accommodation and ensure that it is closer to the park entry point / briefing point. That way, you don’t have to wake up so early in the morning and won’t drive long distances in the vehicle.
Quick facts about Mountain Gorillas and Gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.
Mountain Gorillas can only survive in their natural habitat and as such, you can only see them in Africa by goring on a Gorilla trek in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo. They are called mountain gorillas because they live in mountainous and high-altitude areas.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda takes place at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga national Park. Gorillas in Rwanda are found in Volcanoes national Park and Congo Gorilla trekking takes place at Virunga National Park.
A Gorilla permit costs $1,500 in Rwanda, $700 in Uganda and $400 in Congo. For more about Gorilla trekking for seniors and planning your Gorilla trek in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo, get in touch with us.