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What Is A Silverback Gorilla?

What is a silverback gorilla? A silverback gorilla is a name given to a mature male gorilla that develops a grey patch of hair along his back because of age. Most of the silverbacks are group leaders, some are lone gorillas while others are rivals for the group domination

What Is A Silverback Gorilla?

What is a silverback gorilla? A silverback gorilla is a name given to a mature male gorilla that develops a grey patch of hair along his back because of age. Most of the silverbacks are group leaders, some are lone gorillas while others are rivals for the group domination. A silverback dictates all the group day to day activities. They determine when the group will travel that particular day, what food to eat, where they will rest during the day, and where they will build nests to sleep at night. They are the most aggressive among all gorillas.

The dominating silverback is the only one responsible for mating all the females in the group and doesn’t allow other silverback or juveniles in the group to do the same. This is why sometimes a mature nondominant silverback moves away from the group to form their own families or fight a dominating silverback in order to rule. With this, they can also have a right to mate and have kids of their own.

Silverbacks are responsible for the safety of their families that’s why they can fight an enemy to the point of death. Silverbacks also use sign language to communicate with the group members in case of danger. Adult male silverbacks weigh more than female gorillas and are a bit taller than females. Silverback eats more than 30kgs of vegetation in a single day while females eat about 18 kgs of vegetation.

A silverback contains a set of 13 ribs which makes them 26 ribs in total. A single rib of a gorilla is heavier than that of a human being. Some of them are fond of killing young adults when they get into a fight and take over a gorilla group. This is done to avoid challenges in the future.

Where to trek silverback gorillas

Silverbacks can be seen in so many national parks in Africa but the best places to see them most especially mountain gorilla silverbacks is Uganda in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park because it has over 20 habituated gorilla families, Nyakagezi gorilla family of Mgahinga national park for it has about silverbacks, volcanoes national park Rwanda with about 10 habituated gorilla families and Virunga national park of DR Congo with 8 habituated gorilla families. If you want to see eastern lowland silverbacks you can take a visit to Kahuzi Biega national park which is found in volcanoes national park

What to pack for gorilla trekking?

Consider your parking list very crucial while planning your gorilla safari and below is the list of items you need and you must consider while packing for your gorilla safari to Africa. the list includes waterproof hiking shoes, a camera, and extra batteries, a hat, sunscreen, a pair of gaiters, warm clothes, long-sleeved clothes, rain jacket, binoculars, walking stick, drinking water, packed lunch, energy-giving snacks, insect repellents, face mask and sanitizer among others.

Price of gorilla trekking permits

For one to trek gorillas, they must have a valid gorilla trekking permit and this is acquired from any trusted tour operator, Rwanda development body for the case of volcanoes national park, Uganda wildlife authority for the case of Rwanda, and Virunga national park website for the case of Virunga.

Gorilla trekking permits for Uganda cost $700 for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents, and shs250,000 residents of East Africa. Rwanda permits cost $1500 for all categories while DR Congo permits cost $450 in the dry season and $200 in the low season. Gorilla permits are not sold to persons under the age of 15 and those people with infectious diseases will not be allowed to trek mountain gorillas for they have a weak immune system to fight diseases like flu and cough

Rules of gorilla trekking

  • Gorilla trekking rules and regulations are issued by the government bodies in charge of tourism to protect mountain gorillas and the trekkers. They include the following
  • A maximum of 8 people is allowed to trek mountain gorillas a single day and if they allocate a gorilla family, they stay with it for only one hour if they paid a gorilla trekking permit while those with gorilla habituation permits are allowed to stay with them for 4 hours
  • You are advised to wash your hands, sanitize and wear your mask before heading out to the jungle for trekking
  • You are advised not to litter in the park and when you have rubbish you have to carry it back with you.
  • You are advised to keep low voices while gorilla trekking
  • When you allocate a gorilla family you will have to keep a distance of 7 meters away from gorillas so as to reduce the contraction of disease and let gorillas stay in their comfort zones
  • You are advised to keep in your group
  • You are not allowed to drink, eat or smoke near mountain gorillas as this will increase the risk of food morsels, which can lead to disease transmission.
  • When the mountain gorillas charge you must step back slowly and avoid looking directly into their eyes.
  • You are not allowed to do flash photography when taking mountain gorillas pictures
  • When you want to ease yourself while in the jungle, ask a ranger to dig for you a hole after which you will cover it.

Best time to trek Silverback Gorilla?

Mountain gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park Rwanda, Virunga national park DR Congo, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla park Uganda can be done at any time of the year but some months are better than the rest. Drier months of June, July, August to September, and December, January to February are the best times to visit these parks because there is little or no rainfall, the roads leading to the park are accessible and the trekking trails are dry and passable. Visiting the parks in the rainy season is a better option for budget travelers since hotels offer good discounts but the roads to the park are impassable and the trekking trails are muddy and slippery.