A gorilla trekking tour is one of the world’s most sought after experience that should not be missed by any one whether “able” or “disabled”. Mountain gorillas thrive within the mountainous regions of Uganda, Rwanda and D.R. Congo. Therefore, the experience requires average level of physical fitness which puts travelers with special needs at a risk of missing such a life-changing encounter.
A gorilla trek in Uganda and other destinations was a nigh mare for such travelers, however this is now history after the introduction of sedan chairs / stretchers to carry persons with disabilities to meet their desired gorilla families deep down in the jungles. Travel and tourism is a social right that must be exploited by every human being, including persons with special needs.
Approximately, more than 500 million people with special needs do not take exotic holidays, including those with minor disabilities. This is therefore being solved through introduction of such initiatives to enable everyone have access to experiencing the world’s most endangered primates.
Gorilla trekking experience on sedan chairs or stretchers
A typical gorilla trek lasts for about 1-8 hours depending on the movements of a specific gorilla family. Due to the fact that gorilla destinations in Africa are in mountainous regions, this makes trekking quite adventurous and sometimes for only the physically fit. The national parks are all characterized by rugged steep slopes, thick and impenetrable jungles that make trekking rather hard.
On the day of trekking, a team of 12 strong men is assigned to ferry a tourist on a modern sedan chair or a local bamboo stretcher and penetrate into the forest to search for the mighty apes. These porters have a great deal of knowledge and experience on the terrain, navigation, weather, vegetation and trails.
The carrier service is offered at extra costs, between $350 and $500 depending on the weight of person in question. Booking a gorilla trip for persons with disabilities follows similar booking procedure, and permits all depend on availability and adheres to all similar rules and regulations of gorilla trekking as set out by responsible government conservation bodies.
Sedan chair or bamboo stretcher transportation help to make ferrying the client easier up the mountain ranges and through the rugged jungles. The carriers have handles all round them which make it easier for handling the stretcher by the porters.
These same carriers are also used to ferry the elderly and physically weak who need a more luxury and hassle free gorilla experience, as well as those who would like to go for a more inclusive gorilla encounter, the habituation experience. Unlike trekking, habituation allows one to have up to 4 hours with a given family which is still being trained to get used to human presence.
For any traveler wishing to book a special needs safari, you ought to acquire a gorilla permit well in advance, as this is the only assurance that you’ll partake this golden activity.
A gorilla permit in Uganda is booked from Uganda Wildlife Authority and costs a staggering 600$ per permit. In Rwanda, gorilla permits are issued by Rwanda Development Board and cost 1500$ per permit while D.R. Congo presents the cheapest option at 400$ in either Virunga national park or Kahuzi-Biega national park.
Alternatively, you can book your special needs safari with a trusted and professional tour agency which has a proven record of handling travelers with various special needs.