Gorilla trekking for seniors, elderly & people with disabilities

Gorilla trekking for seniors, the elderly and people with disabilities is something that sounds like a difficult undertaking but is possible and worth it.

Coming face to face with these massive endangered gorilla species in the wild has been described by many travelers as a life-changing experience.

Gorilla trekking requires physical fitness however, it is made simple for people who are not fit enough, the elderly, and the disabled. With careful planning and consideration, seniors can enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience while ensuring their comfort and safety.

The term seniors is used to refer to those travelers who are 60 years and above.

In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the Sedan Chair, famously known as the “helicopter” is a seat that helps to transfer the elderly or disabled to see the gorillas, and this costs between $400 to $500 per person to be carried to and from the jungle.

mountain gorilla family

After the morning briefing about mountain gorillas, The Disabled will be carried by porters in sedan chairs and will move with the rest of the group into the jungle. They remain in the chairs until the gorilla family they are tracking is found and once it is found, they are gently placed on the ground to allow for better observation and photography for that one-hour visit with the gentle giants.

You can pay for a porter who can assist with carrying your backpack and lend you a hand while you travel through the forest.

In Rwanda, a well-sawn stretcher is what is used to carry the elderly or disabled person to the gorillas. Unlike the “helicopter” chair in Uganda that a person sits on and is carried in that sitting posture, the stretcher in Rwanda is flexible as it allows one to lie down or seat as you are carried through the trekking.

Rwanda Budget Safari

Important things to consider while organizing a gorilla trekking safari for the seniors, elderly, and the disabled.

  1. Take breaks along the journey to let them relax and stretch a bit.
  2. Consider domestic flights from Entebbe to Bwindi and back. If the tourists can afford it, it’s best to use flights to reduce the long driving hours.
  3. Start and end the trip from Kigali. The distance from Kigali Airport to Rushaga Sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is 175km, approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes. This is shorter in distance to the gorillas compared to driving from Entebbe Airport which is 500km approximately 9hrs and 30mins.
  4. Be cautious about security as these elderly visitors are vulnerable so they are always concerned about the security in the park. Safety is paramount during gorilla trekking adventures, and this holds for individuals with disabilities. Ensure that there is access to medical support in case of any health concerns during the trek.
  5. Have armed rangers leading gorilla treks to keep the tourists safe from wild animals like elephants.
  6. Inform Park officials in advance about the state of the clients. Ask your clients about their special needs to prepare for them accordingly. This will guide the park officials in allocating gorilla groups to these travelers as they will be given closer groups.
  7. Hire porters to assist in carrying guests’ luggage. Porters are readily available in all tracking sectors. This also helps to support them earn a living
  8. Ensuring that there is availability of trekking poles, walking sticks, or mobility aids is essential. These tools can provide added stability and support, enabling participants to navigate the terrain more comfortably. This proactive approach ensures that individuals with mobility challenges have the tools they need to fully engage in the gorilla trekking adventure.

Accommodation best for Seniors, the elderly, and the disabled

Accommodations located near the gorilla trekking starting points or within close proximity to the national parks offer convenience and minimize travel time, allowing older adults to conserve their energy for the trek.

Luxury lodges provide an ideal setting for the elderly to unwind and relax in between trekking excursions. These accommodations often offer spacious and well-appointed rooms with modern amenities, ensuring a comfortable stay for seniors.

Additionally, luxury lodges may feature on-site facilities such as spa services, swimming pools, and gourmet dining options, providing ample opportunities for rest and relaxation after a day of adventure

Selecting the Right Trekking Route

Choosing the appropriate gorilla trekking route is essential for older adults to enjoy the experience fully. While both Uganda and Rwanda offer gorilla trekking opportunities, certain trails may be more suitable for seniors due to their physical limitations.

hiking to the gorillas

In Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park boasts several trails of varying difficulty levels, with some routes offering gentler terrain and shorter trekking durations.

Opting for smaller trekking groups can offer a more personalized experience tailored to the needs of older adults. These groups allow for a slower pace, frequent breaks, and increased interaction with knowledgeable guides, enhancing the overall enjoyment of the trek.

Additionally, choosing the right time of year to visit can make a significant difference, as weather conditions and trail accessibility vary throughout the year. Planning the trek during the dry season can minimize the risk of muddy trails and make trekking more manageable for older adults.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is an experience that should be accessible to everyone, regardless of ability. Through careful planning, effective communication, and collaborative efforts with us, individuals with disabilities and elders can embark on an inclusive and memorable adventure.