Gorilla Trekking Fitness – Am I fit enough for a Gorilla Trek?

Posted by on January 16, 2019

Am I fit enough for a Gorilla Trek in Uganda or Rwanda?

Fitness Required for a Gorilla Trek – Getting into shape for a Gorilla Trek – not a Bad Idea


Fitness needed for a Gorilla Trek – Am I fit enough for a Gorilla Trek? Something not discussed on Gorilla Safari Tour Operators in  Uganda.  One thing, being in shape, physically fit will make your Gorilla Trek more enjoyable.  Most often visitors to Uganda and Rwanda plan their gorilla trekking Safari about 6 months before the safari begins.  That is the perfect time to get yourself physically conditioned for your Gorilla Trek or your Gorilla Habituation Experience.  

Many of our clients have written to us and letting us know that they were taking long walks, hiking, going to the gym to make their gorilla trek more enjoyable instead of focusing on running out of steam.

Your Fitness Level should not prevent you from a Gorilla Trek.  Both in Uganda and Rwanda, there are easier groups to trek.  The last resort is that you are carried on a Sedan Chair – something that requires 12 porters for the journey which allows people with disabilities to spend time with the mountain gorillas.


Fitness Level – Am I fit enough for a Gorilla Trek?  Our Advice to make your Trek less Strenuous


 Gorilla Trekking is not like a visit to a Zoo or a Walk in the Park:

The Gorilla Trek you will be taken begins on trails of one kind or another.  As you get close to the Gorilla Family you will be visiting there are most often no trails.  A fresh trail, if you can call it that is hacked for you through the thick vegetation.  Another reason we recommend that even though you might be physically fit dress for protection including garden gloves for your hands or you will be burned by pesky nettles, to say the least.  The new trail is tough for many, that is why recommend getting into shape even with moderate exercise.

In Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla Park, you climb up to the Bamboo Forest level and beyond.  The treks vary from moderate fitness level required to a reasonable Fitness level. In Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest it can be up and down hills and valleys, across streams, through the thick undergrowth of Forest.  The Good News is this, none of our clients ever gave up.


 Use the Services of a Porter to assist you:

You need a daypack, 2 liters of Water, your packed lunch, a few snacks, maybe some insect repellent in a Ziploc Bag to protect against the flies (not many mosquitoes are found at the elevations where you are trekking Gorillas).  It is one thing to move your body along the Trails, it is another thing to have a backpack drag you down.  The exact reason you need to use a Porter, Male or Female ones are available.  They unlike you, are used to the elevation, used to the trails, used to the length of time involved and are in good shape, besides they make a decent income by Ugandan standards carrying your Backpack up and down on the Gorilla Trek.  The cost is minimal, and even though you might want to show that you can do it, take our advice, use a porter, support a Ugandan Family, your money will pay for food, school fees for children, clothes and medical care.  Besides their service lightens your load, something you might enjoy, no matter what your level of fitness is.


 Use a Local Walking Stick:

You are coming during one of the Dry Seasons of the Year and you forgot something, you are trekking Gorillas in a rainforest, it can rain anytime.

The trails become muddy and slippery and once again no matter what your level of fitness is you need a good pair of boots with traction on them and a walking stick to steady yourself while you navigate on the Slippery Trails.

Walking Sticks can be bought at trailheads, but often lodges will have them on hand for their guests.  You can buy an ornamental one, use it and take it home as a keepsake.

A Walking Stick will keep you steady on the trails and prevent falling when the paths are slippery.

Walking Stick – do not trek without one.


 I had Hip Surgery a year ago – can I trek Gorillas?

There is always the discussions about easy groups and harder gorilla groups to trek in Uganda and Rwanda.  There are what might be called an easier trek, a shorter trek, less strenuous Trek and you spend your one hour with a Gorilla Family.  We do our all to Make sure that you are matched just right.

In extreme cases where someone is unable to trek on foot, there is still a way, Four Porters (12 total) plus support people carry you in and out on a day chair – that is like a rickshaw without wheels carried by four men.  It can take up to 12 porters and there is a fee for that help but you can see the Gorillas.  A 94-year-old Italian Woman was carried into Bwindi in such a way a few years back, it was on her bucket list to see the Mountain Gorillas and she did.

When it comes to age, the oldest Clients we had, an American Couple 79 and 74 years old wanted to trek the toughest Gorilla Group to trek in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.  They did it and loved it. We often have clients in their 70’s trek Gorillas and we make compensations for them to lighten the trek and it normally works out.


 Am I fit enough for a Gorilla Trek? Preparing yourself physically for Trekking at Home:

Our suggestions are simple.  After you book your Gorilla Trekking or the Exclusive Gorilla Habituation Experience Safari with us begin a daily walking routine, take weekend hikes of one type or another, if you live in Vancouver BC take the Grouse Grind a few times up to Grouse Mountain.

In Washington State head for the Cascades and take a hike like Lake 22 Hike in the North Cascades near Granite Falls – elsewhere head to the closest hills and hike.

Two British Air Employees started running before they came and they hiked and climbed throughout Uganda, including one Volcano, two gorilla treks, hikes through Bwindi Forest from North to South and continued down to Lake Mutanda.


Am I fit enough for a Gorilla Trek? You can be or we can make compensations such as an easier group to trek where the hike is of shorter duration.  The Best Advice we can give you, make an effort to get more physical strength and stamina.  Most of all Enjoy the Mountain Gorillas up Close.