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Are you planning to visit Africa for gorilla trekking and you would like to know facts about gorilla trekking in advance, here below are 20 things to know about gorilla trekking that you will have to follow during your gorilla trek? These have been carefully developed to try to protect the mountain gorillas’ health and safety in their natural habitats. Gorillas are extremely susceptible to human diseases and infections, and become stressed if too many visitors arrive or approach too closely. To remain healthy and survive, these apes need to be undisturbed by visitors, and allowed to eat, rest and socialize with their own species. The rules and regulations below as well describe the reason why you need to follow them.
Gorilla Trekking involves hiking/walking through the forest and at some point difficult terrain, thick vegetation, crossing rivers and swamps in search for gorillas, this activity is challenging and it requires one to be fit at the time of the trek. 20 things to know about gorilla trekking, Gorilla trekking gives you an opportunity to encounter and watch the gorillas in their natural habitat for one hour in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo. For solo travelers who would like to spend more time with the gorillas in their natural habitat can opt to visit Bwindi Forest for Gorilla Habituation experience which gives you 4 hours encounter with the gorillas.
Where is Gorilla Trekking Done in Africa?
20 things to know about gorilla trekking. Gorilla Trekking is done in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo which host the four national parks that are home the only remaining mountain gorillas. These include Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Congo. In Congo you as well have an opportunity to see the Lowland gorillas which are found in Kahuzi Beiga National Park. In order to trek at any of the mentioned national park a gorilla permit is required for you to be allowed to go for gorilla trekking. With this once you have you planned dates of gorilla trekking we recommend you start booking your gorilla trip immediately given the fact services and permits sell out very quickly especially if you plan to do the trek in the peak season of June to September, it is always better to book atleast 5 months in advance prior traveling. Gorilla Trekking at the mentioned parks can be booked directly or through a trusted Tour Operator.
Below are some of the 20 things to know about gorilla trekking
RULE 1: If a tourist is ill, the park Staff has the right to refuse a visit to gorillas.
REASON: To protect the great Apes from contracting an illness or disease.
RULE 2: Only one visit is allowed per day and the number of tourists is limited to eight per group.
REASON: To minimize behavioral disturbance, stress and possible risk of infection.
RULE 3: Visitors must be at least fifteen years old.
REASON: To minimize risk of exposing Gorillas to childhood diseases (e.g. Mumps, Chickenpox Measles) and cold or Flu viruses.
RULE 4: The time spent with great Apes is limited to one hour.
REASON: To minimize behavioral disturbance, stress and possible risk of infection.
RULE 5: Flash photographic is not permitted.
REASON: It can upset or frighten Gorillas and may provoke an aggressive reaction or charge.
RULE 6: All visitors must remain at least seven meters away from Gorillas at times. If the great apes approach to two or three meters (as curious juveniles sometimes do) then visitors should slowly retreat back to five meters. If this is not possible, then the visitors will be asked to remain where they are. The guide’s instructions should be followed at all times. Keep your backpack and other items in places where young Gorillas can’t approach and investigate them.
REASON: To minimize disease transmission, stress and behavioral disturbance, to reduce the chance of possible future aggression towards tourists; and to prevent the Gorillas becoming too habituated to humans.
RULE 7: Tourists should remain in a tight group, without spreading out or surrounding the great apes.
REASON: This allows the apes plenty of room to move where they want to, without felling threatened (which may provoke a charge).
RULE 8: Where possible, visitors should sit or crouch whilst watching the Gorillas.
REASON: It can be very intimidating or threatening to Gorillas if you stand taller than they are, and stare. Standing biped ally is part of the great apes’ threat or aggressive displays.
RULE 9: Body language is important, and visitors should not raise hands or arms, or point, nor stare at them.
REASON: To gorillas there behaviors are signs of threat or aggression.
RULE 10: Visitors should not clear vegetation close to Gorillas so that they get a better view.
REASON: This can disturb or frighten the Gorillas. The guides will clear away vegetation, if it is possible and necessary
RULE 11: If a silverback gorilla beat his chest, displays or charges at you, do not run away. Tourist guides are asked to stop tourists from moving or running.
REASON: Although a charge may be frightening, the safest thing to do is remain quietly where you are.
RULE 12: Eating, drinking and smoking are not permitted near the Gorillas, or within 200 meters of them.
REASON: The behaviors could distract them and cause problems if they approach out of curiosity. Food and other remains can be a source of infection.
RULE 13: Visitors should be as quiet as possible, and whisper. If bitten by Safari ants or struck by stinging nettle, do not scream.
REASON: To minimize behavioral disturbance and avoid frightening and avoid frightening gorillas. Newly habituated gorillas may be afraid to come anywhere near noisy tourists, and if gorillas are already present, they may leave.
RULE 14: If you, the tourist, need to sneeze or cough, turn away from the great apes and try to cover your nose and mouth.
REASON: To minimize the spread of airborne bacteria or viruses that you might unknowingly be carrying.
RULE 15: All faucal materials must be buried. A machete may be borrowed from guides, a thirty centimeter (ten inch) hole dug and then the hole filled.
REASON: Fasces can be highly infectious to great apes and other animals.
RULE 16: All rubbish must be removed from the park, and visitors are asked to be particularly careful not to drop small items, such as, film boxes / canisters, tissues or handkerchiefs.
REASON: Apart from being unsightly, rubbish can interest animals, can cause problems if swallowed, and can be a source of germ or disease transmission.
How to book Gorilla trekking in Uganda Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
You will need to secure your gorilla permit in advance to confirm you have booked Uganda gorilla trekking. Gorilla trekking permits are purchased from Uganda Wildlife Authority, this can be done at their headquarters in Kampala or Kisoro for tourists arriving in Uganda through Entebbe it is recommended to purchase their gorilla permits from Kampala and for tourists arriving in Uganda through Kigali they can purchase their permits at the branch headquarter of Uganda Wildlife Authority in Kisoro town which is 1-2 hours drive to Bwindi. Eco Adventure Safaris is one of the best gorilla safari companies which can purchase for you your gorilla permit in advance and on short notice, once you confirm your dates and share them with us via email or WhatsApp we will first tentatively reserve the gorilla permits for you online and then send you an invoice for you to make payment and once money comes through on our account we will purchase your gorilla permits immediately and send you scan copies of your permits for your records and perusal and this will confirm you have purchase your gorilla permits for your gorilla
What is the best time to go Gorilla Trekking in Uganda?
The best time to go for gorilla trekking in Uganda is during the drier months of January, February, June to early September, this is makes it easier to travel to the park and gives a clear view of gorillas given the vegetation cover is not too much high grown
What to wear during Gorilla Trekking in Uganda?
You might be probably wondering what to wear for your trek, below is a compiled list on what to wear;
- A long armed sweater since the park gets cold
- 2 pairs of long trousers
- Water proof hiking boots
- A hat and sun glasses depending on the weather though this is optional
- Cameras and long lasting batteries since photography are very important to keep your memories alive. Always remember to keep our flash off.
- A pair of Binoculars. This will help you to see the vast birds Bwindi impenetrable forest has among other primates
- Gardening Gloves; these will help you when you a holding onto trees are branches through the trek.
- A rain coat; Since Bwindi impenetrable forest is rainforest, the rain is unpredictable so to be on a safer side, you will be required to carry along a coat.
- A mosquito Repellent; since it is a forest, it has different dangerous insects so its advisable to carry it along or wear it
- A sun screen; Well this is optional but depending on the season, it might get too hot and you end up getting sun burns on your skin so to avoid that, you will need a sun screen.
- You should not wear very bright colors since this will charge or scare away the gorillas.
- Black and Blue colors are also not recommended since they attract Tsetse flies So I would recommend neutral colors.
Where to stay during Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest National Park is done in the northern part that is Buhoma and Ruhija and in southern part that is Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors. In Rushaga lodges, you can stay at Rushaga Gorilla camp, Four Gorillas Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Havens Lodge, Nsongi Camp, Icumbi Gorilla Safari Lodge, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Gorilla Valley Lodge and Karungi Camp. In Nkuringo lodges you can stay at Nkuringo Bwindi gorilla lodge, Clouds Mountain gorilla lodge or Lake Mutanda Resort, all these lodges are close to the start point of Gorilla Habituation and Gorilla trekking.
In the northern part, in Buhoma sector you can stay at Buhoma Lodge, Bwindi Lodge, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Ride 4 a Woman among others, In Ruhija you can stay at Trekkers Tavern Cottages, Agandi Eco Lodge, Gift of Nature Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge, and Broadbill Tented Camp among others.
Why book Gorilla trekking in Uganda Bwindi with Eco Adventure Safaris?
Eco Adventure Safaris is a local tour operator in Uganda, we take pride in customizing tailor made Gorilla trekking in Uganda Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Including Uganda gorilla trekking from Kigali Rwanda. We have a very diligent and trust worthy team. Your queries are answered within 20minutes by our team of professional tour consultants. These consultants will make you a travel plan for you, answer to all your questions and make sure all your services are booked in advance for you to avoid inconveniences. We also have very knowledgeable safari guides depending on your language preferences. Contact us here about the 20 things to know about gorilla trekking