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Is altitude sickness a possible problem on gorilla treks?

Silver Spring, MD
posts: 170
reviews: 57
Is altitude sickness a possible problem on gorilla treks?

Just starting to think about a possible trip to Uganda. Interested in seeing the gorillas, chimpanzees and other wildlife. I have been reading the forums and saw a lot about how difficult/easy the trek to see the gorillas is. However, I have not seen anything about possible altitude issues.

I am in my 50's and in pretty good shape - walk several miles a day. However, I am very susceptible to altitude sickness. When I was in Quito, I got a horrible case. Does anyone know the range of altitudes you are climbing at to see the gorillas? At what elevation do people who are susceptible likely to have problems? (Quito is at 10,000 ft and I know that's a problem for me. Denver is at 5000 ft and I didn't notice anything.)

Thanks in advance for any help.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 382
reviews: 5
11. Re: Is altitude sickness a possible problem on gorilla treks?

Acute mountain sickness, or high-altitude sickness, etc. is rare below 2400 meters (8000 ft.), but there are reports of the syndrome occuring among unacclimated individuals staying for several hours at altitudes as low as 2000 meters. Most of the published data relate to the altitude at which one spends the night (i.e., the "sleeping altitude"), and symptoms would be less likely with a brief ascent and quick return to lower alitude. It thus would be most unlikely that a visitor hiking to see the gorillas at Bwindi would develop true high-altitude sickness, and there seems little indication for taking acetazolamide as prophylaxis.

There are reports that taking NSAIDS (naproxin, ibuprofen) is usually effective for relieving headache associated with mild altitude sickness, but there are as yet no conclusive studies regarding its value for prevention. So, it's probably worth having one of these meds with you if you are worried about developing a headache during the trek, although the headache is unlikely to be due to altitude.

Edited: 1:26 pm, February 17, 2013
UGANDA
posts: 481
reviews: 31
12. Re: Is altitude sickness a possible problem on gorilla treks?

Thanks Monteverde Sea.

I also believe so having received clients who got severe attacks. Since we are not medical practitioners, let us leave this to the OP's GP.

Barcelona, Spain
posts: 44
reviews: 2
13. Re: Is altitude sickness a possible problem on gorilla treks?

I never experienced altitude sickness on my trip (to Rwanda and Congo, but it's the same area).

At least in Rwanda, they have several treks with varying difficulty. I saw old people who did it with no problem, so Im sure you'll be fine! :)

Here are some shots and a video from my gorilla trip:

evtob.com/gorilla-trekking-in-parc-national-…

—Even T, evtob.com

San Francisco...
posts: 2,895
reviews: 2
14. Re: Is altitude sickness a possible problem on gorilla treks?

this has been very informative for helping us to make a decision about whether to go for it (gorilla trekking) or not.....and the next question, where.

Kampala
Destination Expert
for Kampala, Uganda
posts: 3,227
reviews: 74
15. Re: Is altitude sickness a possible problem on gorilla treks?

where, what?

San Francisco...
posts: 2,895
reviews: 2
16. Re: Is altitude sickness a possible problem on gorilla treks?

Oh sorry, Bwindi or Rwanda.

Kampala
Destination Expert
for Kampala, Uganda
posts: 3,227
reviews: 74
17. Re: Is altitude sickness a possible problem on gorilla treks?

Weigh up cost v ease of access and what else you might do.

Kigali to gorillas and back is do-able in a day. Current cost is $750.

To get to Bwindi, from Kampala you have to approximate 8 hours.

There are other factors of course; (like terrain) I haven't been yet, so rely on those who have to assist. I would PM Ponaire and ask her opinion as she did both last year and is also a TA volunteer. Her trip report is linked above. Or you can just search, am sure the name will come up.

Edited: 9:47 am, May 29, 2013
Isle of Man, United...
posts: 32,897
reviews: 222
18. Re: Is altitude sickness a possible problem on gorilla treks?

Where? Uganda permits are cheaper if this helps. I prefer the country too.

Don't just visit for Gorillas. Much more on offer.

19. Re: Is altitude sickness a possible problem on gorilla treks?

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