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15 Essential Gorilla Trekking Rules for Responsible Tourism.
Here are the Gorilla Trekking Rules and Guidelines you should observe while on a Uganda Gorilla Trek in order to protect the primates and stay safe.
If you are a primate adventure seeker and you are looking at getting up close with mountain gorillas, then observing gorilla trekking rules should be a must-do.
Whether you intend to track gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo, gorilla trekking rules are the same. They are the safety measures intended to protect both visitors and gorillas.
Only 1063 mountain gorillas still exist in the entire world, and they are protected in the 4 parks: Congo’s Virunga National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (MGNP) & Bwindi Impenetrable National Park –Uganda, Volcanoes NP Rwanda. Here are the set rules to be observed during gorilla trekking.
The 15 Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations:
- By standards, a maximum of 8 tourists are allowed to track a single habituated gorilla family each day. This is to reduce any behavioral disturbance on the gorillas and any risk of exposing them to infectious human diseases.
- Anyone intending to track gorillas must have valid gorilla permits, issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority. You acquire it through a registered tour operator like we.
- Gorilla trekking is limited to individuals who are 15 years and above. In case an individual younger than 15 wants to trek, your tour operator MUST write to UWA asking for permission to allow them track and that individual should be able to trek, in company of parents or guardian and not younger than 12 years.
- You won’t be allowed to track Uganda, Rwanda or Congo gorillas if you are ill or infected with communicable diseases. The park authorities have the right to deny you a chance to visit a gorilla family if they notice that you are sick. It would be better that you volunteer and stay behind on actual day if you aren’t feeling okay/suspect that you have infectious disease. The refund policy can be followed or you can schedule and track gorillas another day.
- Your health matters a lot when it comes to visiting mountain gorillas. When coughing, we advise you cover your mouth and nose when sneezing. This is to avoid spreading germs/infections to gorillas which in turn can infect gorillas.
- Also, keep clean your hands and you can ensure that you sanitize or wash them before setting off on a search for mountain gorillas.
- Always listen and observe attentively the park ranger’s guidelines. Do not make loud noise –this can allow you concentrate on your adventure, keep an eye on other faunal species and birds. Loud noise can scare away gorillas or even make them get irritated.
- Do not stare directly at the gorillas such can be mistaken by these apes and they charge at you. Never attempt touching gorillas as this can make them contract infections.
- When you come across an aggressive mountain gorilla or when it charges at you, always follow what your park ranger guide tells you. Most importantly, keep calm; never start running because gorillas can follow you.
- A safe distance of 8-10 meters should be maintained at all times from gorillas –this is to prevent any chances of infectious diseases from spreading to these apes.
- Never eat or smoke in front of the mountain gorillas.
- Respect the time allowed for you to enjoy a close encounter with mountain gorillas which is strictly one hour.
- Leaving rubbish in the gorilla habitat is highly prohibited and you are advised to carry back all the used items to the park offices where you can drop at designated areas. All this is intended to limit any chances of spreading infectious diseases to mountain gorillas the fact that they share up to 95% of their DNA with humans.
- Do not touch gorillas once you have stepped foot in their habitat and regardless of how close they get to you.
- When taking photos, it is advisable to use non flashlight cameras and if yours has, you can turn it off.
- Burry all human wastes as directed by the park guide/official.
What should you carry on a Gorilla Trekking Safari?
Here is the list of items to carry for a successful gorilla trekking tour;
- Packed lunch/energy giving snacks
- Bottled drinking water
- A pair of socks
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Rain jacket
- A camera
- Safari hat
- Insect repellent
- First aid kit
Where to see mountain gorillas?
There are only 3 places to visit for mountain gorilla trekking; Uganda, Rwanda and D.R. Congo.
In Uganda, trekking mountain gorillas is done only in Bwindi & Mgahinga National Park, in Congo, travel to the Virunga National Park and lastly, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda… Read More
How many mountain gorillas live in the world?
Mountain gorillas are listed by IUCN as endangered species and about 1063 of them still thrive on earth.
About half of these animal species reside in Ugandan National Parks: Bwindi & Mgahinga while the rest are shared by Congo & Rwanda.
What is the Best time to go to track mountain gorillas?
Gorilla trekking is an all year-round primate experience, although the most preferred time is during the dry season.
There is a long dry season which runs from June to September and December to February. Other months are also open to tourists to track gorillas but they are characterized by heavy rains. See the full guide here.
After understanding the gorilla trekking rules and guidelines, now it is time you consider booking one of our custom gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda.
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