Bwindi national park is a famous home of the endangered mountain gorillas, and therefore a gorilla safari will expose you to some of these world’s famed primates. Though quite difficult and sometimes strenuous due to the nature of terrain and weather conditions, a gorilla trek is undoubtedly one of those authentic adventure – filled encounters everyone must try, regardless of age, gender and physical strength.
A gorilla trek in Bwindi national park involves tourists moving to higher altitudes trekking through rugged jungles, thick undergrowth and impenetrable vegetation. This kind of difficulty in trekking experiences is why we recommend a porter.
Why you need a porter
Travelers have always wondered whether there’s any help should they fail to make it to get the jungles due to their physical incapability, age, etc. This should however not be a worry anymore. A porter to carry your luggage and assist you along the trek can ease the hike through the Bwindi jungles.
A porter can be hired on the very day of gorilla trekking, after the briefing. Each tourist is assigned a porter depending on the weight of the luggage.
Majority of the porters in Bwindi are the native Batwa pygmies and some are former poachers who have reformed to become rather agents of conservation. They are generally well versed with the geography and terrain of the jungles which will make your trekking an easy experience.
Alternatively, you can arrange with your booking agent to reserve for you a porter well in advance.
Porters are required to carry the heavy luggage, or offer support to the aged, weak and those who may be handicapped in any way. Along with a porter, you can also request for a walking stick from the ranger station to obtain extra support during your trek.
There are circumstances when porters can even ferry the travelers on sedan chairs or local bamboo stretchers into the jungles. Though this is done in rare instances and at extra costs for disabled travelers, very aged, or pregnant women.
Cost of a porter in Bwindi
It is important to understand the costs involved in hiring porters in Bwindi national park, since most tour operators do not include it in their quotations. Therefore, travelers must be informed well in advance to come prepared should they require these services during their gorilla trek.
The cost of hiring a porter in Bwindi National park ranges between 15-20$ per porter, but this may change from time to time, depending on season, weight of the luggage, etc. This cost includes carrying / handling your luggage with care, offering support where the going gets tough, and sometimes giving advice and guiding services and more.
Porters are well trained with professional code of conduct, basic safety and security procedures, discipline and English speaking; so you are sure you’ll be in safe hands to make your gorilla trek a memorable one. Feel free to offer a tip after the gorilla trek, depending on how well they perform; a tip may range between 5$ – 10$ per person.
Hiring a porter is not only one way of easing your gorilla trek in Bwindi national park, but also supporting local livelihoods and conservation, as this is one form of local employment for the communities that were formally poachers and enemies of conservation.