The gorilla trekking rules and procedures or regulations are similar in Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R. Congo. Mountain gorillas make up a population of 1063 in the world, and they are endemic to only 3 countries – Rwanda, Uganda and D.R. Congo. These apes share over 98% of their DNA with humans, a reason why they are our closest relatives in the wild. Before the park official allows you to set foot into the jungles to search for gorilla families, a briefing about gorilla trekking rules is done at the park offices.
The set rules or procedures for gorilla trekking play a vital part in ensuring the safety of gorillas and also for guests. These safety measures apply whether you plan to travel to see mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park or Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park/Congo’s Virunga NP.
Here is the detailed list of gorilla trekking rules & regulations to observe
Each habituated gorilla group family is visited by a maximum of 8 (eight) tourists –this is whether you are in Rwanda, Rwanda or Congo to enjoy a gorilla tour. This measure is intended to reduce the risk of behavioral disturbance that humans may cause on gorillas when they are in large groups.
No littering of the Park Forest. Leave the gorilla habitat as natural and clean as it is. If you happen to move with some bottled drinking water, the used ones must be brought back to the park offices and dumped in the designated pits or containers at the park officers that aren’t accessible by these apes. The food particles or used drinking water may contain some germs that may cause harm to these endangered mountain gorillas.
A 7-10 meters distance must be observed away from gorillas at all times and not only during a face-to-face encounter. This is to ensure that gorillas don’t get disintegrated and it gives them roam to be relaxed. Besides, it reduces the chances of infectious human diseases from spreading to mountain gorillas.
Guests must keep within the group they left for gorilla trekking. Don’t leave your group to avoid getting lost in the forest. Follow your guide and trackers till you get back to the briefing point.
Thoroughly wash your hands or sanitize them to kill all disease-carrying bacteria/germs that can harm gorillas.
Smoking or drinking in the presence of a family of gorillas is not allowed. These are endangered species with 98% of their DNA similar to that of humans, making them very susceptible to infectious human diseases.
The minimum acceptable age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 years. Persons within this age brackets stand a chance to purpose a gorilla permit and trek gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo.
When taking photos, the camera flashlight must be turned off. This is not to scare off the gorillas and in turn perhaps cause harm to you.
No touching or rubbing yourself on gorillas- even if they come close to you.
A maximum of one hour is guaranteed for all tourists to stay face-to-face with the gorilla families.
Guests with contagious diseases are advised not to go track gorillas. In case you feel like coughing/sneezing, please turn your face off from gorillas and ensure the mouth is covered or nose.
Guests who may need to help themselves are encouraged to bury their wastes 30 cm deep. The hole must be dug as directed by your park guide while in the field.
Gorilla permits are a must-have on a tour to see gorillas –ensure that you have booked your permit in advance. In Uganda, you can have your permit booked at USD 700, in Rwanda – gorilla permits cost USD1500 and USD450 if you are visiting D.R. Congo’s Virunga National Park. In D.R. Congo, you can visit not only mountain gorillas but also the lowland gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega National Park and these permits cost 400USD per person.
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