Rules and Regulations of Gorilla Trekking: Trekking for mountain gorillas is a popular pastime in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Gorilla trekking takes place in four national parks: the Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, and the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Mountain gorillas are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and were formerly listed as severely endangered, but because to the conservation efforts of stakeholders, their numbers are rapidly growing.
The laws and regulations that have been put in place for mountain gorilla trekking have significantly helped to the rising populations of mountain gorillas, elevating them from critically endangered to endangered animal species. Visitors from all over the globe are invited to view the mountain gorillas in their natural environment as long as they follow the laws and restrictions in place. The mountain gorilla species was on the verge of extinction in the early 1970s, but there is rising optimism for these individuals.
If you have booked a mountain gorilla safari or just intend to see the mountain gorillas in one of the above-mentioned areas, it is critical that you familiarize yourself with the park’s guidelines. Prior to your activity, the ranger guides of the national park will provide you with a briefing that includes some of the most important guidelines to observe, Rules and Regulations of Gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda & Congo.
One guideline to remember is that each of these locations has a maximum number of visitors per gorilla group each day. Mountain gorillas live in groups known as families, with a silverback gorilla serving as the family’s leader and up to 15 members. The national parks include up to 12 habituated gorilla families that only 8 trekkers per group are permitted to visit, determining the amount of available gorilla permits for booking every day. This guideline aids in limiting the impact of visitors in their natural habitat on their behavior.
The gorilla trekkers are briefed in groups of eight per gorilla family in the morning, and the park has adequate park rangers to manage up to 20 groups of eight mountain gorilla trekkers. These ranger guides are educated and hired by park authorities such as the Uganda Wildlife Authority in Uganda, the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Rwanda Development Board in Rwanda.
All trekkers with a cold or indications of a cold or cough will be denied entry to the gorilla trek, as a precaution to protect the mountain gorillas from getting this airborne infection. The mountain gorilla shares up to 99 percent of human DNA, implying that they are susceptible to human sickness.
Travelers will only be permitted to enter the national park to trek the gorillas if they have a gorilla trekking permit purchased and granted in Kampala at the Uganda Wildlife Authority or online for guests visiting Volcanoes National Park on the park’s official website. If you arrive at the park reception desk with cash, you will be denied a permit, so be aware of this.
To be awarded a gorilla trekking permit, all passengers registered for a mountain gorilla trip must be at least 15 years old.
Following Covid travel, all visitors will be asked to wear face masks at all times in the forest and clean their hands while keeping a social distance during the briefing and while in the forest. Temperature checks will be performed on a regular basis, and those who show indications of a fever will be asked to leave or have a test performed. This is mostly due to the mountain gorillas’ susceptibility to the COVID-19 virus.
Guests may be excused from wearing the masks at considerably higher elevations since they might induce asphyxia or lightheadedness if worn for an extended period of time. It is recommended that you bring hand sanitizer and additional masks with you because you will need to change masks once you get at the mountain gorillas.
While in the jungle looking for mountain gorillas, you will be instructed to keep your talks to a minimum and to make little to no noise so as not to frighten the wild creatures or annoy them enough to attack you. Trekkers will lead the route based on where the gorillas were spotted the previous day or their pattern, so you may proceed silently behind them. You may ask some questions along the journey, but do it in the most covert manner possible.
There is a rigorous no littering regulation for visitors to the parks and when in the forest, and the major purpose for this is to preserve the natural ecosystem as it was discovered, as well as to avoid poisoning the mountain gorillas if they come into contact with some of the garbage. Every snack paper or water bottle you bring into the forest will be required to be returned with you, Rules and Regulations of Gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda & Congo.
When the day’s mountain gorilla family is found, the guide and trekkers are asked to leave their excess things around 50 feet away from the gorilla family and only approach closer to the family with your camera and phone to record non-sound and non-flash images and movies.
The tourists will only approach from a distance of around 32 feet, or roughly 10 meters, so as not to startle the gorillas or carry any airborne sickness to them. The mountain gorillas may approach the visitors on occasion, but you must remain as calm as possible. The ranger guides will also urge you not to make direct eye contact with the mountain gorillas since it may excite them, and that if they approach too close to you, you should back down gently and let them pass by.
Drinking, eating, or smoking when near the gorillas is completely forbidden since the residue from the meals or smoke will undoubtedly impact the mountain gorilla’s natural environment. These are habituated animals, but you should be aware that these are wild creatures living in the wild, and feeding and touching them is strictly banned, since it would only irritate them and cause them to attack you.
Once you’ve had your wonderful hour with the mountain gorillas, you’ll depart silently and remain silent until you’re around 200 meters away or until you escape the forest, because you never know what other creatures you’ll see while in the jungle.
You may arrange a mountain gorilla trekking permit or safari with us and we will manage the rest. Our skilled tour consultants are eager to hear from you.