Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations plus Guidelines
Gorilla trekking rules and regulations are standard guidelines set and given by wildlife authorities that manage the parks to be adhered to strictly for human and animal safety. Mountain gorilla tracking is an electrifying activity but necessitates one to be well organized and in good bodily form to make it enjoyable and unforgettable. We recommend that during the activity, visitors should follow the existing commands of the park rangers and guides.
We have assembled a list of things that travelers have to take into contemplation before going on a gorilla tracking undertaking. The rules and regulation were drafted purposely to reduce disease transmission from humans to the gorillas and also to circumvent terrifying the primates needlessly. Mountain gorillas are susceptible to contagions from human beings because of their lower invulnerability. It is also imperative to note that even though the gorillas are accustomed to human presence, they still remain wild and do not trust people entirely. Gorillas are defensive of their young ones and will guard them to death if they sense any likely threat. It is also significant to be with the primates for a short time to enable them have time to flourish and mingle freely with their own close associates.
These trekking rules and regulations are regularly shared with guests during the gorilla trekking briefing done in the morning before the jungle trek. By adhering to and respecting the gorilla trekking rules and regulations, you are contributing to the general safeguarding of the primates. Before we take you deeper into the rules, you may as well need to read about the gorilla trekking packing list so that you know how to prepare for the trip.
After booking a gorilla permit, you need to understand the rules that govern the gorilla adventure you are about to undertake. In Uganda, these rules and regulations were set by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) as protective measures in the conservation agenda. The regulations apply at both Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. It is always good to follow the set guidelines to remain safe and for sustainable gorilla tourism. While in Rwanda, such rules and regulations were drafted by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and in Congo by the Virunga Park authorities. Whether you are visiting any of the three countries that have mountain gorillas for trekking, ensure that you adhere to those set standards. These trekking rules offer a win-win approach to both humans and the gorillas for sustainable tourism.
Highlights of the Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations:-
- When you encounter the gorillas, please try to be submissive as much as possible.
- Try to give sideways glance; don’t look at them straight in the face.
- Stay in a tight group,
- Talk softly or in whispers
- They don’t like flash photography
- Gorillas are Wild and do not be provoked recklessly.
- Keep your flight distance about 7 metres from them
- Know that gorillas have freedom of way
- Do not feed the gorillas
- Do not entice them to get into contact with you in any way.
- Do not eat in the vicinity of the gorillas.
- Try to avoid tracking if you suffer from contagious disease. In case you develop a severe case of flu, your money will be fully refunded if you make this known in advance.
- Do not sneeze towards them
- Do not spit in the forest or defecate carelessly. If you need to the guides will help you with a matchet to dig a hole to bury your waste.
- Do not track if under age – only 15 years and above can track.
Details of the Gorilla Trekking Rules and Guidelines:-
One must be 15 years and above to qualify for a gorilla tracking permit. The age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 because children usually carry flu, colds, chickenpox and mumps which may infect the gorillas.
A total of eight persons are allowed to visit a given gorilla family per day and this help to control the likely spread of disease transmission and minimize the disturbances to the behavior of the gorilla group.
It is recommended to have a yellow fever vaccine to be permitted into Uganda, Rwanda or Congo. Foreign visitors at times require a visa to cross the borders of the different countries where gorillas are found. As a procedure, park authorities will ask you for your passport after the briefing and before embarking on trekking into the forest to ascertain your identity which tells your eligibility to trek gorillas.
It is advisable not to trek mountain gorillas when infested with a given catching disease. The Rangers have powers to stop you from visiting gorillas to save them from the likely infection. Endeavor to stay behind in case you do not feel fine or suspect to be carrying a spreadable disease. In this case, you money may be refunded or the permit be rescheduled to a future date for you to track while in good health. Gorillas can effortlessly catch human diseases like diarrhea, flu or cough which in particular affects them gravely. In case you need to sneeze or cough, walk away from the gorillas and cover your nose and mouth to avoid terminating the gorilla environment with viruses or bacteria. Don’t forget that you may a carrier for the infections that you are not aware of. Washing your hands clean as you head out trekking is another health practice to observe.
Trekking gorillas encompasses moving long distances looking for a given gorilla group. This also entails hiking steep landscape as well as muddy trails. Therefore being relatively fit and in good health shape will give you the best experience. For elderly and weaker visitors, they will be allocated gorilla families that involves less hiking to reach at. The elderly may as well pay for a fee the services of porters to carry them on stretchers up to the gorillas.
You are advised to listen responsively and obey what the Rangers communicate to you. Talk softly in low voices as you trek to enable you not miss chances of spotting birds or other wild animals in the forest. When you are with primates, keep a low tone in order not to disturb their peace. Usually talk in whispers if you have to as loud noises may scare them mainly if they have just accomplished the habituation development. In case an insect or safari ant bites you, do not cause alarm or shout as you may disturb the gorillas. Upset gorillas may vanish before the one hour visitors are entitled to be in their midst elapses hence reducing on the amount of time for enjoyment. Try to softly communicate to the rangers and they will help you accordingly.
Do not clear vegetation is a bid to have a better observation of the gorillas as this could scare them. Inform the rangers to make any necessary and possible clearing. Eating, drinking or smoking in the presence of gorillas in prohibited. Gorillas may come to you out of curiosity and grab a bite or drink. Such food may contain viruses or bacteria that would potentially affect them health wise.
Kindly keep the park clean and free of garbage that may cause disease to the endangered primates. It’s mandatory for visitors not to drop handkerchiefs, canisters or tissues they have used into the park. The gorillas may have body contacts with such items, a thing that may cause health complications. In case you have the urge to defecate, inform the guide know and advise accordingly. In such a scenario, a hole is dug for you to use and then cover it up after use to curb the spread of diseases.
Keep a minimum distance of roughly 15 feet from the endangered mountain gorillas to reduce the possibilities of spreading human infections. When looking at the gorillas, tourists should not surround them but instead stay in a group. Gorillas should be given space to move freely around without feeling threatened in any way as a result of being encircled. A distance of 15 feet is essential principally when a gorilla chooses to come to you and you are advised to move backwards unhurriedly. In case moving backward is not possible, then stay composed and calm. Young gorillas are mostly very intrusive and will endeavor to examine you. In this case, keep your bag closed so that you do not draw the attention of the youngsters. Besides the controlled spread of diseases, maintaining a good distance prevents the primates from getting too used to human beings and also control the primates from being too acquainted or even belligerent to human groups that would visit after you.
Do not stare directly at the gorillas as they might misunderstand it for aggression. Mind your body language as it counts a lot when with gorillas. Lifting your arms may be mistaken for hostility to the gorillas. Standing taller than them plus staring at them may be perceived wrong by the gorillas for antagonism.
In unusual scenarios that a mountain gorilla charges, bow down gently. Do not run away, keep calm and let the gorilla leave freely on its own. The Rangers are usually on alert when a silverback begins to beat his chest in the demonstration dominance. Rangers are trained to cool down visitors in such situations and also stop anyone from running away. However much the threatening and scaring by the gorillas may be, staying put, calm and avoiding sudden movements would be the best safety options.
The park Rangers will inform you when it is most ideal to start taking photos. As you shoot mountain gorilla photos, keep calm and control your movements. Avoid using camera flashes as these may irritate the primates to the extent of charging at you.
Refrain from touching mountain gorillas even when they are closely observing you. You hand touches may be mistaken for aggression.
To attain the best gorilla trekking experience, putt on good strong hiking shoes which are ideal for climbing steep and muddy slopes. Carry adequate drinking water plus packed lunch from your lodge. Carry a rain jacket and other weather gear for safety as rain is very common in the gorilla parks. Gorilla trekking takes place in areas with thick jungles and vegetation. It is advisable you put on long pants and shirts as sharp grasses and tree branches could bruise your skin. It is also common that tropical forests are full of insects and the best way to contain them is to use an insect repellent for safety reasons. Also have binoculars and a good camera to take photos during the adventure in the forest.
Dressing: Adorning bright colors might attract the attention of the gorillas. Sunglasses are also not permitted while with the gorillas as their reflection on the glass might prompt them to move closer to you in finding out more and yet their further reaction is unknown.