Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations in Uganda and Rwanda
Gorilla trekking rules play a significant role not only for visitor safety but also ensure mountain gorillas are well-protected in their natural habitat. It is mandatory for every trekker on gorilla trekking safari in Uganda or Rwanda to ensure he or she observes the set gorilla trekking or gorilla tracking rules and regulations also best referred to as safety measures, gorilla trekking etiquette, dos and don’ts or guidelines.
Mountain gorillas exist only in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and they remain fewer than 1063 in the world. Tracking to see them in the wild is incredibly a life changing experience but to ensure that they thrive today and for the future generations.
It is essential to observe gorilla trekking rules and regulations which the park official will brief you on actual date of trek in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Congo Virunga National Park.
Below are some of the gorilla trekking rules and regulations
- Gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda strictly for persons above 15 years and above. They are a category that is considered as eligible to purchase gorilla tracking permits. Those below this minimum age fall under category of children and they are known to carry most of the communicable diseases especially flu, cough and measles among others that can easily spread to mountain gorillas.
- On actual gorilla trek, the park official shall allocate 1 (one) habituated gorilla group family to a group of 8 trekkers on gorilla safari. This gorilla trekking etiquette does apply to all visitors on Uganda safari to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park; Rwanda tour in Volcanoes National Park and the Virunga National Park in the DR Congo.
- Flashlight cameras are never allowed during the 1 (one) hour of magical hour which also includes photography and in-depth exploration about the daily behavior of mountain gorillas.
- A distance of 7 meters should be kept at all times from mountain gorillas and while on a trek to see these apes, the park ranger shall remind you of this important gorilla trekking rules. The whole idea is to limit the spread of human infectious diseases to these endangered species.
- In case you are sick or ill, you may not be allowed to track gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda or D.R. Congo. You are encouraged to cover your mouth in case you are coughing and nose when sneezing to reduce the spread of human infectious diseases.
- Ensure you have buried your wastes as directed by the park ranger guide about 30 meters deep.
- Stand still in case the mountain gorillas charge against you. Never be tempted to run away and do as instructed by the park ranger guide. Running away may irritate these apes further something that may make these creatures to harm you. Every group of visitors is accompanied by an experienced and armed park ranger guide.
- Keep within your trekking group you left the park headquarters after briefing on gorilla trekking rules by the park official.
- Try to leave the gorilla habitat clean or in a better state than you found when you embarked on gorilla trek. Carry back all your used bottles or rubbish to park headquarters and drop them to dustbin.
- Another important gorilla trekking rule you should observe is ensure you keep your voices low at all times however, be open and ask every question you need to get answers.
- Gorilla trekking permits are a must-have on gorilla safari in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. Uganda issues out her gorilla permits at US Dollars 700, Rwanda at US Dollars 1500 and 450 US Dollars in the DR Congo.
Amazing article about gorilla tracking safari rules here.
Where to go for gorilla trekking
The best places to go for gorilla trekking in Africa include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Southwestern Uganda. Volcanoes National Park in Northwestern Rwanda, Virunga National Park in Eastern DR Congo. These are the 4 premier mountain gorilla safari parks. However, it is also possible for you to trek eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park host half of all the 1063 mountain gorillas which still live on earth today. Treks in Bwindi are carried out in Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga where 20 habituated family groups are distributed. Nyakagezi group is the only group readily open for tourists on Uganda gorilla safari to trek in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
In Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park is the only park where gorilla safaris are carried out. This protected area is set suitably in Northwestern Rwanda about 2-3 hours’ drive from Kigali capital city. A visit to DR Congo for gorilla trekking lets you track mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park and the Eastern Lowland gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
How to pack for gorilla trekking
A side from understanding the set safety measures or gorilla trekking rules/etiquette, it is also essential to know which items to pack on your gorilla safari. Among the many items to carry include waterproof hiking boots, day pack, insect repellents, long-sleeved shirt, trousers, camera without flashlight, sun hat, sun glasses, socks, bottled drinking water, snacks, first aid kit and many more.