Rules for gorilla trekking
What the gorilla trekking rules in Uganda? Gorilla trekking is carried out through hiking the thick forests looking for habituated gorillas. Also observing the gorillas within one hour under the instructions of park rangers and guides. Most of the tourists visit gorillas because of different reasons. One of them is that gorillas are among the endangered animals and only about 1000 individuals which is still on earth. They also have the DNA which is to humans and their family organization and behavior is the same as ours.
Trekking mountain gorillas is one of the most interesting experiences one should not miss out on. Mountain gorilla trekking is done only in three countries which include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda. These countries have put measures with the purpose of keeping mountain gorillas safe and avoiding the destruction of their natural habitat. The measures are also known as rules and regulations. Therefore, the rules were formed for reasons of conservation and sustainability.
The measures for gorilla trekking help to keep gorilla homes in a natural state with no pollution from the outside. The rules give space and privacy to mountain gorillas so that conserve their wild nature. Gorillas and humans have the same DNA structure, so these rules help to avoid the spread of diseases from human to gorillas or from gorillas to human. While we have built immunity to many of our common illnesses but it is not the same on gorillas like a flue cause the death to various members in a group or to become very sick
Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo worked together with conservation Agencies to create rules and regulations that tourists would follow in the presence of gorillas. These rules were introduced to make sure that tourists enjoy this experience to the fullest but without destruction of the natural habitats for gorillas. The gorilla trekking rules are the one of ways used to conserve the gorillas as discussed below.
You must be 15years and above
Tourists below 15 years of age are not allowed to do gorilla trekking and one of the rules critically observed in Uganda and other gorilla trekking destinations. This is because tourists under 15 years are still younger and may fail to follow the instructions of the ranger. Though most are physically fit, they may fail to complete the hike since it takes long hours in the dense forest and unused environment.
A yellow fever card is needed if you want to do gorilla trekking in Bwindi, Mgahinga, Virunga national park and Volcanoes national park.
It is used as a requirement for crossing borders. Also, make sure that you move with your passport all the time because it is needed when crossing any border and at the park headquarters during the briefing. The passport is submitted at the park office to confirm if your names on a gorilla permit are matching and see whether your age is not below 15 years. It also helps in the allocation of gorilla groups like the older tourists and those with the disorder are usually assigned gorilla families that are near to the starting point. Please note, you have a right to ask for an easy or header trek.
Tourists with contagious diseases like flu, cold, bacterial, and viral diseases are not allowed to do gorilla trekking.
Since gorillas and humans have the same DNA structure. This rule helps to avoid the spread of diseases from humans to gorillas. While humans used to build immunity to a lot of common diseases which is not the same on gorillas. Also during the briefing, the park rangers will advise you to refrain from sneezing and coughing or turn away from the gorillas. They may also tell to put a hand on the facemask to avoid droplets that may go directly to the gorillas.
Only 8 tourists are accepted to trek a particular gorilla group in a day.
These 8 people are given only 1 hour in the presence of gorillas, this was introduced to reduce the number of people observing a gorilla group at the time. Also to keep gorillas and their natural habitat safe for future generations. Gorillas are also do not feel more comfortable in the presence of humans, so a large number of people can scare them.
One who plans to do gorilla trekking must be prepared physically and mentally. This activity is challenging but in most cases, it depends on the gorilla family you assigned. Some of the gorilla families used to go deep into the forest and one to meet them needs to walk for long hours and distances through passing on hilly, sloppy, and steep trails. Thus, one to complete this trek must be physically fit but not get tired in the middle of the experience. But the elderly tourists are usually assigned to the nearest groups or you can use porters with sedan chairs.
Keep your voice low
You should keep your voice low in the forest most especially in the presence of gorillas. Forest is known as a quiet place with a lot of wildlife species that may get annoyed by loud noise. So it is good for you to keep your voice low to avoid scaring other forest residents such as smaller primates or birds. Loud noise may make some gorillas move away or mistake you as an enemy and be annoying if you’re talking loud.
Don’t litter the forests during gorilla trekking activity.
Littering may cause accidents to primates and other wild animals choking from the litter. Human rubbish is used to contain viruses and some chemicals that could affect gorillas or other wildlife. Gorillas like to smell any unusual objects in the forest. If the object has human bacteria or viruses, so the gorillas could easily get sick. Therefore, in case of something talk to the park rangers or chief guide. The Park Rangers will dig a hole on the ground that you will use as a toilet then cover the container with soil.
Always keep 7 meters away from the nearest gorilla.
This is one of the gorilla trekking rules observed by tourists while on a gorilla safari. This space helps to avoid the spread of human diseases to gorillas or from gorillas to humans. Also to leave enough space for gorillas to move around so that they do not become annoyed as you know that their natural habitat is forest and you can be a stranger. A silverback cannot ask for space but he just walks towards you and push you aside. It is also important to note that, never touch a gorilla or a baby gorilla because you may annoy the mother and silverback, even though it comes near to you. While observing, you are also advised to stand in one place because even the gorillas sense that they are surrounded, they may charge.
Do not panic when a gorilla comes towards you, just step aside slowly.
You do not need to run off because you may end up alarming the gorillas. Try as much as possible to follow the advice of the park rangers all the time. In most cases, a dominant silverback used to thump up his chest to show control and power and this should not be taken for annoyance. Also, try your level best to avoid eye contact with the gorillas because they might see you not only as a threat but as someone trying to challenge them. These primates are very shy and are not usually look directly into each other’s eyes unless to communicate a message.
Never take photos or videos of the gorillas before the rangers tell you to do so.
Do not also use flash cameras to avoid annoying the gorillas. After finding the gorillas, the first minutes are used to win their trust and also let them feel conformable in your presence. The rangers know how to make them feel good because they know every individual member of the family. The rangers first observe them whether anyone in a bad day or sick. Then after the ranger will give the green light which means that you can start taking photos and videos.
Put on specific clothes
Do not put on clothes with very striking colors like yellow, pink, and red in the presence of gorillas. You can put on jungle colors like brown, dull green, and cream.
Avoid eating before the gorillas
Just like previous gorilla trekking rules in Uganda; Never take any eat in front of a gorilla or share any food product with the gorillas because it is prohibited due to the fact that it may cause diseases to these primates and mostly when a tourist is ill.
Porter will support you during hiking
As gorilla trekking involves moving into deep searching for the gorillas for long hours. So hiking with heavy luggage can make you feel uncomfortable and you need to hire a porter. They are very experienced in hiking long distances. The cost for a porter is 15USD. These porters are the student looking for school fees, fathers, mothers, and former poachers. By hiring their services, you will be participated in making difference in their lives. Other items you should consider on your packing list are hiking boots, a binocular especially the bird lovers, insect repellents for tropical insect bites, long clothes, sunglasses, hat, and others.
Reasons for booking with Africa Adventure Vacations.
Traveling to a new place is so exciting and it is one of the greatest experiences one can ever encounter. You get a chance to encounter the food, culture, and natural resources of the area. Africa Adventure Vacations is the best tour operator that can help you experience all the amazing cultures in Africa plus the authentic wildlife. Africa Adventure Vacations can help you to save money and restless nights trying to look for where to go. We are experienced and well informed and passionate about what we do. Africa Adventure Vacations is locally raised and has got a business license. We are quick to respond to any kind of questions from our clients. We have got the best tour packages and pricing. Our company can afford the group size that you would like to come along with. Just contact our safari experts on gorilla trekking rules in Bwindi, Mgahinga, Volcanoes and Virunga national parks.