Guidelines for Gorilla Trekking in Africa – What to do, What to avoid while tracking gorillas and more Guide
The guidelines for gorilla trekking in Africa: Guidelines/rules and regulations/safety measures for gorilla trekking are many and set mainly to safeguard both primates (mountain gorillas) and visitors who go to see them in the wild. Gorilla trekking is stands out as one of the most sought for primate experience and to enjoy it, you should be physically fit and gorilla trekking guidelines be observed at all times.
Mountain gorilla population in Africa and worldwide currently stands at 1063 and they only live in the wild. These endangered apes have a lot in common with humans, sharing over 98% of their DNA with us and to see them, a gorilla safari can be arranged to only Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Being endangered species that are also susceptible to human infectious diseases, one way to ensure that they exist for future generations is for everyone to observe the set guidelines for gorilla trekking.
Guidelines for gorilla trekking in Africa
- The acceptable minimum gorilla trekking age is 15 years and above. Tourists within these age brackets are eligible to obtain a valid gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and D.R. Congo. This minimum age is standard for all the 3 major gorilla trekking destination because those below 15 are categorized as children and often carry colds, chickenpox, flu, mumps etc that can easily be spread to gorillas.
- A valid gorilla trekking permit is a must to have if you plan to visit Africa to see gorillas. Each gorilla destination in Africa has its set rates- Uganda at USD700 per gorilla permit per person per day, Rwanda USD1500 and D.R. Congo USD450.
- A distance of up to 8-10m must be maintained when trekking gorillas-this is all aimed at protecting these unique apes from catching infectious human diseases.
- Visitors must keep their voices low but they are free to ask their guides anything about gorillas.
- Eating, smoking, drinking etc in the presence of gorillas is prohibited.
- Direct staring of gorillas in the eye should be avoided as this may make them aggressive.
- When a gorilla charges or gets irritated/aggressive, stay calm- show that you have submitted. Avoid running away as this may make gorillas to follow you or cause harm- ensure that you observe the instructions of your guide.
- Sneezing or coughing in the presence of gorillas isn’t allowed- cover your noise or mouth to avoid spread of germs to these apes.
- Use of flashlight cameras for photography is never allowed in any gorilla destination in Africa.
- Touching/attempting to touch gorillas isn’t allowed.
- Wear a mask covering your mouth and nose, sanitize regularly.
- Maximum of only 8 (eight) tourists can visit a single gorilla family per day.
- Always keep the gorilla habitat clean and free from any rubbish- don’t throw used tissues, handkerchiefs etc.
- When in need to help yourself in the forest, burry your wastes as directed by the park official/guide.
- Wearing bright colored clothes aren’t recommended- find environmentally friendly attire.
- Always keep around the group of trekkers you left with to search for gorilla group assigned to you by the park official- this is to avoid visitors getting lost in the forest.
What to pack for gorilla trekking in Africa?
- Valid gorilla permits
- Daypack- strong & waterproof
- Rain jacket
- Gardening gloves
- Long sleeved shirts
- Camera (with no flashlight)
- Bottled water
- Snacks to keep you fit
- Walking stick (get it at the park offices on the day of briefing)
- Insect repellent
- First aid kit
Best places to visit for gorilla trekking in Africa
Uganda, Rwanda and D.R. Congo stand out as the leading destinations in Africa for gorilla trekking. In every country, there are parks to visit to track to see gorillas particularly mountain gorillas and in Uganda, visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Rwanda has only one park for visitors to see mountain gorillas and that is Volcanoes National Park in the Northwest and Virunga National Park in the D.R. Congo.