Walk on the wild side to get up close with one of the world’s rarest primates, the mountain gorillas. Only found in Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable national park (home to half of the world’s total population) and the rest found within the Virunga region which encompasses three iconic national parks, namely Mgahinga gorilla, Volcanoes and Virunga national parks in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo respectively.
These dense jungles, some of which are UNESCO world heritage sites are now home to over 1000 mountain gorillas, plus an awe-inspiring biodiversity comprised of an array of bird species, fauna, primates and abundant flora.
Are you pregnant and need to meet the mountain gorillas?
Is it absolutely possible to trek mountain gorillas when pregnant! Don’t let pregnancy hinder you from having a wonderful wildness encounter with these special primates. Numerous women have come out to ask whether it is safe and easy to trek while pregnant. However, it should be well noted that those with pregnancies beyond 7 months are not recommended to travel for gorilla trekking.
For pregnant women, different factors must be put into consideration before undertaking a gorilla tour.
Accommodation & Meals
Pregnant women are always advised to stay in luxury accommodation, as these offer maximum level of comfort and safety. Though some up market midrange lodges are comfortable and safe, it should be noted that keen consideration should be taken before choosing one. Budget lodges / hotels, campsites, backpacker lodges should not be used pregnant women.
Also the kind of meals offered highly depend on the category chosen. Luxury lodges and some midranges provide really nice food and safe for even most vulnerable visitors. In some instances, these lodges go an extra mile to ask what such visitors crave for and they will prepare exactly that.
Visit during the High & Peak Seasons
Travelling during dry season is comfortable and makes treks easier than when you travel during wet season. Gorillas stay in impenetrable jungles and so accessing them requires treks through steep slopes and sometimes slippery; but this is only worse when it is wet season. Dry season months include June – early October and Mid – December to February.
Use Sedan Seat Stretchers
Sedan seats and bamboo stretchers have come to answer the questions for those who, for one reason or another cannot make it to the interior of Africa’s impenetrable jungles, including the pregnant ones. This is usually recommended for mature pregnancies, between seven to nine months.
A team of 12 able men are assembled to carry you either using a modern sedan chair or local bamboo; they are equally safe. These will carry you until and trek along other visitors until a gorilla family has been sighted. This comes at an extra cost of 350$ – 500$ depending on the weight of the person and time taken to trek.
Selecting an accessible and easier Gorilla Trekking region (For Uganda) and gorilla family
There are specific gorilla regions that present easier treks, for the case of Uganda’s Bwindi national park. Such sectors are well accessible and with easier treks. Bwindi national parks has 4 gorilla regions; Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo. Of the four, Buhoma and Rushaga have families that are easy to trek, while Ruhija is more accessible from the main highway than any other gorilla family.
In addition, inform the park rangers in the morning of trekking after briefing and they will allocate you a gorilla family that is closer and so pregnant mothers don’t have to move long distances.
Instead of lengthy road drives to gorilla destinations, pregnant women are advised to book scheduled or charter flights. Uganda has the longest journeys from the airport to gorilla parks, for example from Entebbe airport to Bwindi national park takes about 9 hours’ drive while it is only 3 hours’ drive from Kigali to Volcanoes national park. Therefore, for such long drives especially in Uganda, a scheduled flight should be arranged for pregnant women.