15 November 2012

{On The Bucket List}: Gorilla Trekking in Central Africa


I've decided to start a {bucket list} series on this little blog of mine, as a way of sharing just a few of the thousands of things that I hope to experience/accomplish/witness within my lifetime.  Not only in an effort to hold myself accountable to follow my own dreams and passions, but also in the hope that it will inspire some of you to do the same.

"Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
Mary Oliver

{via}

Many of you have probably already heard of Central Africa's infamous Mountain Gorillas via Dian Fossey's Memoir turned film, {Gorillas in the Mist}.  Dian Fossey dedicated over eighteen years of her life to studying these amazing creatures and lived amongst them in the mountains forests of Rwanda.  She also led numerous anti-poaching campaigns during her time in Africa, until she was mysteriously murdered in her mountain cabin in 1985.  Her work has spearheaded gorilla conservation and she's a large part of the reason that there are any Mountain Gorillas still living in the wild today.

Despite conservation efforts, presently there are only an estimated 700 mountain gorillas left in the world, the majority of which are spread across Central Africa in the countries of RwandaUganda, and the DRC.  With the purchase of a gorilla permit, it's possible to join a guided trekking tour into the jungle in an effort to catch a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse of these human-like primates existing within their natural habitat.  Realistically, it's an opportunity that may not exist for our children, since the small population of remaining gorillas is still threatened on a daily basis by poaching, habitat loss, disease, political instability, and civil unrest.

I had hoped to incorporate a gorilla trekking tour into my Rwanda // Uganda trip earlier this year, but there was just no possible way for me to squeeze it into my modest budget.  In three or four years time though, I would love to return to Central Africa with the specific purpose of visiting the Mountain Gorillas.  It really is a life changing opportunity that may not be around for much longer.  And... the price of obtaining a gorilla permit is largely offset by the fact that the majority of the cost goes straight into strengthening the conservation efforts that are already in place.  It's a win - win.

Here's a bit more information on joining a trekking tour:

Cost of a Gorilla Permit

$750 in Rwanda - $500 in Uganda - $400 in the DRC

A Permit gets you

A guided 8-person trek with an hour of time spent with the gorillas.

Which country is best?

No country is better than the other in terms of gorilla viewing.  Rwanda seems to offer the easiest access and if you're new to Africa, it's probably the best option.  Uganda will offer you a more "off-the-beaten path" experience and requires an 8-10 hour drive from the airport.  At least eight days in country are recommended for Uganda trekking.  The DRC offers the most adventurous option, but border crossings can be difficult due to war and civil unrest.  As put in Elizabeth Gordon's Huffington Post article, "If you are an experienced Africa traveler and want some serious bragging rights go to the Congo."

Where to stay: 

Rwanda {luxury // mid-range // budget} Uganda {luxury // mid-range// budget} DRC {luxury // mid-range}

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For previous {Bucket List} posts, see here.

Also, today I'm guest posting about thankfulness on Jane's lovely lifestyle blog {In the Pink and Green}.  See my post here!

13 comments:

  1. Have you seen Gorilla School on Nat Geo? It's a project in the jungles of Gabon - I found it pretty interesting!

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  2. i didnt know this was possible so im adding it to my bucket list!!

    xo the egg out west.

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  3. wow... my life is just so.. normal. compared to your bucketlist mine is sooo boring!

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  4. wow... my life is just so.. normal. compared to your bucketlist mine is sooo boring!

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  5. I've been meaning to start a bucket list. I've been kind of doing it in my head. But now, you've inspired me to really step it up and out it in print! Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to see more.

    PS- I would love to go to Africa. It's most definitely on my bucket list already! I have a huge soft spot for animals.

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  6. I've been meaning to start a bucket list. I've been kind of doing it in my head. But now, you've inspired me to really step it up and out it in print! Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to see more.

    PS- I would love to go to Africa. It's most definitely on my bucket list already! I have a huge soft spot for animals.

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  7. Jenna, if you accomplish this I might just explode from jealousy. consider a gorilla trekking tour officially added to my own bucket list. :) I think it's such a horrible truth that we are losing the gorillas; they're such beautiful creatures. it breaks my heart to know that the population is so small and continues to grow even tinier.

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  8. Wow! That sounds like an amazing experience! Definitely something to put on your Bucket list! I hope you're enjoying your weekend!

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  9. Such an awesome bucket list idea! i love that you love monkeys so much! and i love that quote at the top - one of my favs!

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  10. that would be incredible! every year in london they do a gorilla run to raise money for endangered gorillas - my friend and i did it 2 years ago and it's so fun because you run in a gorilla suit :)

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  11. My boss walked the gorillas this year and I would love to go!

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Thanks for commenting! I love reading each and every one of them :)