Gorillas are some of the most fascinating and iconic animals on the planet, and the African gorilla is no exception. There are two subspecies of African gorillas: the eastern gorilla and the western gorilla.
Both subspecies are endangered due to habitat loss, hunting, and disease. In this article, we will explore some of the best examples of African gorillas and their incredible adaptations and behaviors.
What are the types of African gorillas?
1. Mountain Gorillas
Mountain gorillas are a subspecies of eastern gorillas and are found in the Virunga Mountains, which run through Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Mountain gorillas are the most famous and endangered subspecies of gorillas, with only around 1,000 individuals left in the wild.
They are known for their thick, black fur and impressive size, with males weighing up to 400 pounds. Mountain gorillas are also unique in their diet, as they primarily eat foliage rather than fruit.
2. Western Lowland Gorillas
Western lowland gorillas are the most widespread subspecies of gorillas, found in Central and West Africa. They are smaller than mountain gorillas, but still impressive in size, with males weighing up to 400 pounds.
Western lowland gorillas are known for their intelligence and tool use and have been observed using sticks to extract food from hard-to-reach places. They are also more social than mountain gorillas, living in groups that can include up to 20 individuals.
3. Grauer’s Gorillas
Grauer’s gorillas, also known as eastern lowland gorillas, are a subspecies of eastern gorillas found in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. They are the largest of all gorillas, with males weighing up to 550 pounds.
Grauer’s gorillas are known for their intelligence and complex social structure, living in groups that can include dozens of individuals. Unfortunately, Grauer’s gorillas are critically endangered due to habitat loss and hunting.
African gorilla’s conservation status
In some areas of Africa, researchers and conservationists have been working to habituate gorillas to human presence. Habituation involves gradually acclimating gorillas to the presence of humans, which can make it easier for researchers to study them and for tourists to observe them without causing too much disturbance.
Habituated gorillas have been observed exhibiting natural behaviors such as grooming, feeding, and socializing in the presence of humans.
Gorilla conservation efforts have been underway for decades, and have been successful in some areas. Conservation organizations work to protect gorilla habitats, reduce human-gorilla conflict, and combat poaching and illegal hunting.
In some areas, eco-tourism has become an important source of income for local communities, which can provide a financial incentive to protect gorillas and their habitats.
What are the best practices for gorilla trekking?
Gorilla trekking is an incredible experience that allows visitors to get up close and personal with one of the world’s most fascinating animals. However, it’s important to keep in mind that gorillas are endangered and their habitats are fragile, so it’s essential to follow best practices to minimize any negative impact on the animals and their environment. Here are some of the best practices for gorilla trekking:
- Follow the rules: There are strict rules and regulations that must be followed when gorilla trekking, including staying a minimum distance away from the gorillas, not touching or feeding them, and not making direct eye contact. These rules are in place to protect the gorillas and ensure the safety of visitors.
- Use a reputable tour company: Choosing a reputable tour company that adheres to responsible tourism practices is essential. Look for a company that supports conservation efforts and works with local communities to ensure sustainable tourism practices.
- Listen to your guide: Your guide will be with you throughout the trek and will provide important information about the gorillas and the environment. Listen carefully to their instructions and follow their lead.
- Keep a safe distance: While it can be tempting to get closer to the gorillas, it’s important to keep a safe distance to avoid disturbing them or potentially spreading diseases. Stay at least 7 meters (23 feet) away from the gorillas at all times.
- Don’t touch the gorillas: Touching the gorillas can spread diseases and cause stress, which can be harmful to the animals. Keep your hands to yourself and avoid making any sudden movements.
- Keep quiet: Loud noises and sudden movements can frighten the gorillas, so it’s important to keep quiet and calm during the trek.
- Respect the environment: Gorilla habitats are fragile, and it’s important to leave the area as you found it. Avoid littering, and don’t disturb the vegetation or other wildlife.
By following these best practices, you can help to ensure that your gorilla trekking experience is not only safe and enjoyable but also responsible and sustainable. Remember, gorillas are endangered, and their survival depends on our ability to protect them and their habitats.
When is the best time to see African gorillas?
The best time to see African gorillas is during the dry season, which runs from June to September and December to February. During this time, the weather is generally dry and sunny, making it easier to trek through the forests in search of the gorillas.
Additionally, the gorillas tend to stay at lower altitudes during the dry season, making them more accessible to visitors.
However, it’s important to note that gorilla trekking is possible year-round, and the rainy season can also offer unique opportunities for wildlife viewing. The rainy season, which runs from March to May and October to November, can be a bit more challenging for trekking, as the trails may be muddy and slippery.
However, this is also a time when the forests are lush and green, and the gorillas may be more active and visible.
Ultimately, the best time to see African gorillas will depend on your personal preferences and travel plans.
African gorillas are remarkable animals that are unfortunately facing numerous threats to their survival. However, there are many dedicated individuals and organizations working to protect them and ensure their continued existence.
By learning more about African gorillas and supporting conservation efforts, we can help to ensure that these incredible animals will continue to roam the forests of Africa for generations to come.
If you’re planning a gorilla trekking adventure in Africa, Blessing Safaris is here to plan your trip. With our extensive knowledge and experience in the region, we can help you design an unforgettable and responsible gorilla trekking experience in Africa.
Our priority is sustainable tourism and we are working closely with local communities to ensure that your visit has a positive impact on the environment and local economy.
Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to experience the giant gorillas in Africa with the help of Blessing Safaris.
You can also book direct one of these trips for Gorilla trekking in Africa
5 Best of Rwanda Safari
10 Days East Africa ( Tanzania and Uganda )
2o Days East Africa Safari