Gorilla Trekking Rules and Guidelines (Dos and Donts on Gorilla Safaris)
Gorilla trekking is one of an exciting adventure and main tourist activity that entices a number of travelers to come to Africa. Since it is a home for the remaining world’s mountain gorillas.
In Uganda, gorilla trekking is done in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga Gorilla national park both located in the southwest. In Rwanda, it is done in Volcanoes national park located in the northwestern while in the Democratic Republic of Congo; it is done in Virunga national park.
Gorilla trekking is exciting though challenging at times and before one thinks of going for this activity, we recommend that visitors/trekkers need prior preparations and to take note of rules and regulations for a better gorilla safari experience.
Gorilla trekking rules are quite different from other guidelines like those of game drives. The following are the rules and regulations followed on gorilla trekking safari tours;
- A maximum number of 8 people are allowed to visit a habituated gorilla family per day. This helps in reducing the behavioral disturbance and transferring of human diseases. And also in line with these rules, they help to protect ecotourism.
- It is wise to keep your voices low while trekking the mountain gorillas. This helps not to scare the gorillas and being frightened.
- Maintain a 21feet (7meter) away from the gorilla because this makes them relaxed and not interrupted. If tourists get close to them, they usually feel insecure and may misbehave.
- Ensure that your hands are washed and clean to avoid spreading germs while heading to trek.
- You’re requested to follow your guide through the trekking because this helps to stick to your group and also your safety within the park.
- Tourists are not allowed to litter in the park for the safety of the gorillas and other animals. Therefore just like any other national park, tourists are advised to keep their garbage and rubbish in their backpacks and keep them till their designated point of briefing.
- Smoking, drinking and eating in the presence of the mountain gorillas is not allowed in order to reduce the risk of spreading human diseases to gorillas. These giant apes also have their eating habits you may violate unknowing hence facing wrath from the silverback.
- You must be 15 years and above to get a gorilla permit because anyone below that age will not be allowed to participate in the activity. On special request, individuals below 15 may be allowed to track.
- Tourists need to have a yellow fever vaccine card in order to be allowed in the country. They should also be having a visa if they are foreign residents in order to be granted access to the borders of other countries.
- While taking photos, don’t use flashlights because it irritates the gorillas and also doesn’t make unnecessary movements.
- In case of a natural call, always burry human waste deep in-ground about 10 cm.
- Bright clothes are not allowed while in the park because they may attract the gorilla’s attention and they may come to you, which is risky to the tourist.
- Looking in the gorilla eyes directly even when you’re wearing sunglasses is not allowed because the reflection may distract them and the gorillas might come to you.
- Maximum time spent with a tracked gorilla family is 1hr and under the supervision of the rangers or expert guides.
- Tourists suffering from airborne diseases such as flu, cough and other sensitive diseases are requested to stay back to avoid spreading the disease. Gorillas share 99% human gene, they tend to get attracted to human diseases so quickly.
- When with gorillas and you feel like coughing or sneezing, always cover your mouth and turn away from gorillas.
- Watch your body movement or language because somebody languages like pointing to the mountain gorillas can be aggressive and uncomfortable to them.
- Carry a packed lunch and drinking water since the trekking activity is unpredictable.
- Tourists are advised to wear comfortable hiking shoes because the forest is steep and slippery at times.
In conclusion, gorilla trekking guidelines or rules are there to protect you and the mountain gorillas. Therefore we are eagerly waiting to serve you as you enjoy your Uganda gorilla safari or Rwanda gorilla tours knowing everything about this amazing experience.