Rules and regulations for gorilla trekking in Uganda
Gorilla trekking is a dream activity for many travelers and therefore many flocks the country to trek these gentle giants. To conserve the mountain gorillas, there are set rules and regulations for trekking gorillas in Uganda for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which are the gorilla habitats. Gorilla trekking rules and regulations can be considered as the guidelines that are given for every planning trekker to follow before and during gorilla trekking in the forests of Uganda.
In the two parks are mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) which is an endangered ape. Mountain Gorillas are not only found in Uganda but also in the Virunga mountain areas of Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National Park of Congo. The numbers of these species are small and one of the biggest threats is the possibility of disease transmission from humans to gorillas. So, to address the issue of potential disease transmission to the gorillas and to reduce behavioral disturbances to this fragile population, gorilla tracking rules and regulations have been developed.
Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations before the actual trek
As you plan to trek gorillas in Uganda, you must follow these few rules to have everything ready for the trek;
- All participants must be aged 15 and above
- Each person must first purchase a Uganda gorilla safari permit that should be presented on the day of trekking.
- Be at the park headquarters by 8:00 am local time to attend a briefing and ensure you are allocated a gorilla family to trek
- If you cannot hike, ensure to book porters and a sedan chair at an extra cost before the day of trekking
- Wear clothes that suit the jungle and keep you safe from bites
- A maximum number of 8 visitors may visit a group of habituated mountain gorillas in a day. This minimizes the risk of exposure to human-borne diseases and also reduces behavioral disturbance.
- Always wash your hands before you head out to the gorillas
- Do not leave rubbish in the park. Whatever you bring into the forest should be carried back with you.
During the trek Rules and Regulations
- With two ranger guides, you are expected to follow the rangers all through the trek
- When you approach the gorillas, the guides will inform you when to get your cameras ready.
- Always keep your voices low. You will also be able to observe the great birdlife and other wildlife in the forest.
Gorilla Tracking Rules and Regulations when you meet the gorillas
- Keep a minimum of 7 meters (21 feet) from the gorillas. This is to protect gorillas from human disease transmission.
- You must always stay in a tight group when you are near the gorillas
- Keep your voices low at all times. Though this does not prevent you from asking the guide questions about the gorilla family you have met.
- DO NOT drink or eat while you are near the gorillas.
- Sometimes the gorillas charge. Follow the guide’s example – crouch down slowly and DO NOT look the gorilla in the eye. Then, wait for the gorillas to pass. DO NOT attempt to run away. This is because running away increases the risk of attack.
- Flash photography is not permitted. When taking pictures move slowly and carefully.
- Do NOT touch the gorillas. They are wild animals
- The maximum time visitors are allowed to spend with the gorillas is ONE hour. If the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide will end the visit early.
- After the visit, keep your voices down until you are at least 200 meters away from the gorillas.
- Human waste should be buried 30cm deep. Do not leave open waste in the forest.
Follow these rules and regulations and have an amazing gorilla trekking safari in Uganda. The rules help you protect yourself and the gorillas too. After the trek, you receive a gorilla trekking certificate depending on when the activity ends.
Uganda gorilla trekking safari packages
To help you better plan your gorilla trekking safari, here is a list of top gorilla packages in Uganda that you can choose from;