Gorilla Trekking Rules & Regulations in Uganda, Rwanda & DR Congo
The DOs and Don’ts of Mountain Gorilla trekking:
Mountain gorilla trekking rules are set to protect the world’s most endangered ape ” the Mountain gorillas”. These are found only in 3 African countries such as Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. In Uganda mountain gorillas are found in Bwindi Impenetrable forest and Mgahinga national park while in Rwanda, gorillas can be visited in Volcanoes national park and Virunga national park in DR Congo.
Given that these mountain gorillas are endangered, several rules have been put in place for their protection against diseases from humans and behavioral disturbances of this fragile population. These rules apply on your way to the gorillas, when you are with the gorillas and as the general health guidelines.
The gorilla trekking rules:
- Respect the limit of 8 Visitors per group of habituated gorillas in a day in order to reduce exposure to human borne and minimize behavioral disturbances.
- Wash your hands before starting your trek to the gorillas.
- DO NOT leave rubbish in the park. Make sure to carry back everything you take to the forest.
- In the morning after the briefing, you will be taken to where guides left gorillas the day before from where you will follow the gorillas trail as you look out for gorilla’s nests along the way.
- Follow the instructions of the guide: He will inform you when to bring out cameras once you approach the gorillas.
- Keep your voices low at all times. The more you minimize the voice the more you will see in the forest.
- Be friendly. Respect each member in the group regardless of race, tribe and origin. You all paid equal sum of money to come and see gorillas and have similar experience.
- Stay in tight group. When near the gorillas you must stay in company of your group members in other wards do not scatter.
- It’s okay to ask the guide questions but keep your voices low always.
- DO NOT smoke, eat or drink while you are near the gorillas, the droppings and left overs may increase the disease transmission
- Occasionally gorillas charge, don’t panic just follow the guides example; Do not attempt to run, crouch down slowly, do not look the gorillas in the eye and you must wait for them to pass.
- Do not touch or point at the gorillas, they are still wild animals though habituated.
- No flash photography allowed, just have use of the right camera settings.
- You will be allowed a maximum of one hour with the gorillas. If you are doing gorilla trekking rather than Gorilla habituation experience that require you to stay longer. This is to avoid their disturbance and incase the gorillas become agitated or nervous the guide will end the visit early.
- As you return from the visit keep you voices low until you are at least 200 meters away from the gorillas.
- Respect the limit imposed on the time that visitors are allowed with the gorillas each day. This minimizes the risk of disease transmission and stress to the group.
- If you’re feeling ill/sick or have a contagious disease when you are already at the park, please volunteer to stay behind. An alternative visit will be arranged for you or you will be refunded your money as per gorilla reservation guidelines say.
- If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the gorillas, please turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order minimize the spread of bacteria viruses to the gorillas.
- Always stay 7 meters away from the gorillas. The further back you are the more relaxed the group will be.
- Wear your a face mask to prevent corona virus and other communicable disease transmission to gorillas.
- If you need to go to toilet while in the forest, please ask your guide to dig you a hole and he will fill it when you have finished.
By purchasing a gorilla tracking permit and following the above gorilla trekking rules, you will be contributing to the conservation of the endangered Mountain gorillas.
Any breach of these rules may lead to termination of your tracking permit without a refund.