Preparing for the Trekking Season

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Gorilla Highlands Trails guides training - birds; photo by Miha Logar
Gorilla Highlands Trails guides training – birds; photo by Miha Logar

The Gorilla Highlands idea has always been to convince travellers that our region is a destination by itself (not merely a gorilla stopover) and to assure that local communities benefit from tourism. The Gorilla Highlands Trails, a system of guided trips throughout southwestern Uganda, is the epitome of this. Hikers are hosted by local families and camp on their compounds, while young people get jobs as guides, paddlers, porters, builders and more.

Sitting toilet building at Mama Bena's; photo by Miha Logar
Sitting toilet building at Mama Bena’s; photo by Miha Logar

In 2016 the peak of the trekking season will happen between June and September when we take 8 big groups for 4-day hikes from Lake Bunyonyi to Rushaga (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park). They come from English universities and are part of a volunteer program by East African Playgrounds.

To lead groups of around 20 participants into remotest rural areas is quite a responsibility. 3 months before the kickoff, the Gorilla Highlands Trails team have started regular sessions devoted to training and coordination.

At the same time we are improving on family campgrounds at 2 of the 3 top lakes of the Gorilla Highlands region and repairing our tents. A year ago we invested into 8 new Camp Dome 420 tents, only to see almost all zips go bad in a matter of months… The staff at Game in Kampala told us that the producer, South Africa’s Camp Master, does not show any willingness to help in such cases, so now we are hunting for zips around Uganda. We thought we had found something great in Kampala – until our tailor brought to our attention a little unfortunate fact: that tent zippers should open from both sides…

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