On your gorilla trek you can often get close enough to the gorillas to really see how similar they are to us - things like their hands ? finger nails, palms and thumbs are so 'human' as well as their eyes and eyelashes. We seem to share similar gestures and facial expressions too. One to note when trekking is to remember a stare is seen as a threat or a challenge that can invite a reprisal. Keeping your head low and eyes down is a way of expressing submission and friendliness. Generally mountain gorillas are shy, calm, highly social and gentle and communicate through complicated sounds and gestures. The famous chest beating can mean anything from "I'm nervous" to "I'm excited". The full charge display is rare and is only the province of the leading male, and follows a set ritual of vocalisations, and demonstrative body language including ripping and throwing vegetation, running bipedally, ground thumping and chest beating. It is usually also totally for show!!

Gorillas can live up to 35 years and usually have 3 babies in their lifetime. Babies crawl at 2 months and walk aged only 9 months. Silverbacks, the dominant male gorillas, are usually over 12 years old, and tend to lead a family from 5 - 30 members. Blackbacks are sexually mature males up to 11 years, and leave their family when they reach 11 years, travelling with other young males for 2-5 years, before starting their own family. When the young gorillas are feeling active, you can see them play with their siblings and cousins, and clambering around their elders. They will climb up bamboo and branches, and love tumbling around and swinging from vines, while the ever present silverback presides over it all, keeping a careful eye on his family.

Money from gorilla tourism gives valuable funds to the wildlife authorities of the countries where we trek. Money too also very importantly goes directly and indirectly to local communities across the region. Only if local people as well as politicians see value from gorilla tourism will this species stand a chance of survival. In particular there is constant concern as to how maintain the gorilla's forest home, the maintenance of which comes into conflict with illegal activities that in themselves exploit precious natural resources including poaching and the charcoal trade. The gorillas also can come into direct conflict with local farmers, their forest home occupying valuable land, and the gorillas themselves occasionally entering on to the farmers' land bordering the forest.


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MORE INFORMATION ON GORILLA TREKKING

  • Gorilla Park Map & Information
  • Book your Gorilla Permit
  • Absolute Africa Gorilla Trips
  • Essential Information