Mountain Gorilla Photography In Uganda, Rwanda and Congo

During mountain gorilla photographing safaris; its better when you follow the rules and guidelines issued out by the park guides and rangers.

Mountain Gorilla Photographing Safaris In Uganda, Rwanda And Congo

Are you looking for gorilla photographing safaris and trips in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo? Well; mountain gorilla trekking is a very thrilling experience that should be undertaken at some point by all people who love wildlife. The peak of the activity is for one hour for those doing gorilla trekking and for four hours for those doing gorilla habituation. Gorilla trekking involves hiking mountains and going deep into those forests in search for primates. Locating them is not guaranteed but a group of rangers are sent earlier to find their location and later use radio calls to communicate to other guides if they find them and tell them the best route to use. Once you discover the gorillas, rangers will study their moods to see if you can see them and later allow you to watch them, learn their behaviors, take photos and record videos.

Getting best images of these primates is what every tourist hopes of whenever they book a gorilla safari. Gorillas are one of the human closest relatives with about 98% human DNA. 1004 mountain gorillas still live in the forests of volcanoes, Virunga, Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It’s therefore paramount to take the best photos of these primates in order to share them with your family, friends and the whole world through various social media pages

 Mountain gorilla photographing in Uganda and Rwanda

In order to take gorillas photos, you need to first find them. While at the briefing center, we hope you choose the most exciting gorilla group to do track. There are 20 habituated gorilla families in Uganda. 19 are in Bwindi impenetrable national park and 1 in Mgahinga national park, 10 are in Rwanda and 8 are in democratic republic of Congo. Each gorilla group is different and it has a different number of individuals. Some gorilla groups have more individual gorillas, more infants, more silverbacks and more breast feeding mothers. You should inform your tour operator about your preferences so that they organize for you to track the best gorilla group of your choice. Tracking a gorilla group of your choice is becoming difficult these days and this is because gorilla groups are now allocated according to age and the fitness of trackers. However, best tour operators can still arrange for you and you track a larger group or the easiest to trek.

Taking gorilla photos can be easy, complicated or even disappointing depending on the location of a particular group and the overall terrain. The tropical rains, very thick vegetation cover may result into low light condition on the ground which may bring up challenges for inexperienced photographers. It’s also very good to know that some gorillas most especially the old ones are generally shy primates. Because these gorillas don’t maintain eye contact for a long time, a good camera with no flash light will be the best if you want to get different facial expressions and as many photos as you can. However the main aim of many photographers is to produce best sharp images that display every angle of the gorilla. It’s very important to take time while taking these photos in order to have the best shoots.

Note: you should avoid using flash cameras when taking photos of gorillas as indicated in the gorilla trekking rules. Unlike golden monkeys, Gorillas don’t like flash cameras and they can frighten them forcing gorillas to charge if you are unlucky

Gorilla photographing tips in DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.

Below are things to think about while planning a gorilla photographing  safari in Africa:-

Terrain and vegetation:

Gorilla stay in thick forests and sometimes on the slopes of mountains. As you strive to photograph a gorilla family, you may have a lot of distractions such as tree brunches, leaves and vines. Some mountain gorillas reside in areas with high altitude. This can be evidenced when you carry out gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park in Uganda and volcanoes national park in Rwanda. In such areas, you must position yourself very well in order to have a fewer distractions.

Gear and protective equipment:

Given the bumpy conditions in the jungle, it’s very important to go well prepared. Tropical rain forests receive rain fall throughout the year even in dry seasons. You should therefore make sure that your cameras are well protected and other relevant equipment, a water proof bag should come in hand and help to keep your camera safe from any damages or water. You should not forget to move with enough memory cards and charged batteries for your camera.

Telephoto zoom lens:

It’s hard to foretell the circumstances under which you will find the primates. Gorillas sometimes migrate from one place to another as they feed. A camera which has a telephoto lens can help you to take gorillas photos even when they are far away. The best lenses are 200mm and 300mm for they help you to take close distance photographs but the best are those with 400mm range which get you the best photographs regardless of distance between you and the gorillas. If you want to take the best photographs that are extra ordinary, you will need to consider X-factor lenses. X-factor lenses are common with popular photographers who aim at taking beautiful images to sell or to share on social media.

Consider shooting on burst mode:

This is important when you want to catch facial expression in adult gorillas. Gorilla’s facial expression changes very fast in seconds. In order to get the best photos, you will need to capture several photos at once. The camera needs to be set up very well to get the best shots. It’s important to know that gorillas are large creatures with black fur. The green environment and the dark coat can puzzle light coming out of cameras if you have not set it very well. Make sure you set your camera correctly in order to avoid exposure.

Go with a second camera: this will help you in case the first camera fails to work for some reason. Make sure the second camera is of a different type or company making you have two different lenses with different final products for comparison.

Camera weight:

If you can travel with a light weigh camera the better. Gorilla trekking can take you 2-6 hours to allocate a particular group depending on the location of a gorilla family you will be tracking. But don’t worry if you have heavy cameras. You can always hire porters to carry for you heavy bags and other equipment at a small fee.

Other things to consider when planning a gorilla photographing safari

During mountain gorilla photographing safaris; its better when you follow the rules and guidelines issued out by the park guides and rangers. You should always remember rules such as keeping a distance of 7 meters away from mountain gorillas, avoid direct eye contact for a long time and avoid standing taller than the gorilla when you get near them. For those doing gorilla trekking, you should always remember that you are given only one hour to take photos of gorillas as you learn about their behaviors. For tourists who want to spend more time with mountain gorillas, they can pay for gorilla habituation experience which can only be done in Uganda in Bwindi impenetrable national park at a fee of $1500 and they are allowed to observe gorillas for four hours.

Many gorillas are very gentle and easier to take pictures than any other large primates. They are not mobile like chimpanzees so they usually stay in one place for a while as they feed on the forest flows. Habituated mountain gorillas will allow you get closer to them because they are used to human presence than any other primates. Despite this, you will have to maintain a distance of 7 meters away from the nearest gorillas. This scan be very difficult to apply once in presence of these gorillas. They sometimes come close to you making it difficult to keep distance.

Don’t forget to go well prepared with raincoat and good hiking shoes to deal with difficult terrain. Remember you will be tracking these primates in thick dense rainforest. The dry season which is the best season is always on between December to February and June to September. These are the peak seasons to travel in east Africa and it’s always advised you book your permit in advance for proper planning and avoiding short notice or last minute disappointments.

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