Who Can Do Gorilla Trekking? | Mountain Gorilla Guidelines
Gorilla trekking is the most wanted adventure in Africa and it gives visitors a life time experiences. For a remarkable gorilla safari, Rwanda, Congo and Uganda are the only three countries in the entire world for you to spark the imaginings of these unforgettable primates in their normal habitat. Every year we see quite a number of tourists visiting Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda, others visit Volcanoes national park in Rwanda as well as Virunga national park in Congo. Mountain gorilla experiences are such unforgettable adventures; however, it has rules and regulations that restrict them and one of them which most trekkers have been wondering about is the age limit for gorilla trekking in all above mentioned countries.
For reasons to explain this, age limit is essential in gorilla safaris because their certain things which are done by certain class of people and children are deprived from the opportunity to do gorilla trekking. Despite the fact that children can easily be threatened by these large primates, they might scream loud and run away which may bring distraction and irritation among the apes in the forest hence causing harm to people because the mountain gorillas may think that there are foreigners in their zones.
Minimum Age for Mountain Gorilla Trekking
Therefore, in order to decrease on such incidents, the minimum age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 years old and above both in all countries Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Hence, people under that age are referred to as children and they are not permitted to engage in mountain gorilla adventures and by all standards of gorilla trekking destinations.
Another essential reason for age limit in gorilla trekking is that, children below 15 years of age are hard to predict their behavior while with these large apes, in case a male gorilla roars instead of the children to bow down or scout, they just opt to run while screaming then this may lead the gorillas to start following the trekkers as they are wild primates and endangered species.
The areas or forests where gorilla trekking takes place for instance in Bwindi impenetrable national park in Uganda is thick and consists of numerous trails and they can be hard for children below 15 years to climb or catch up with the planned time given by the tour guides to be in the forest with the mountain gorillas. Hence to maximize such negative results, anyone under 15 years of age is not eligible for gorillas trekking safaris in Uganda, democratic republic of Congo and Rwanda.
For anyone to participate in this amazing adventure, he/she has to be with a gorilla permit to allow him to track the mountain gorillas. This is done because the authorities wanted to identify those who may sneak or hide their identity that there are children and they are below 15 years of age. Although some tourists try to manage to get this permit even when they are below 15 year but only with the permission of the park authorities but still law is law and it is strict and all tourists planning to do a gorilla safari should abide by it.
Since mountain gorilla trekking is a magnificent adventure that requires tourists to be physically fit and in a reasonable well-being in order to hike to view the mountain gorillas, it can be challenging to people who are under 15 year because they tend to be naughty thus making the adventure overwhelming and to decrease on the speed of other trekkers.
As your plan for your gorilla safaris in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, ensure your physical fitness or your body shape because this activity is not just a mere walk like in zoo, but it requires energy and stamina. In most cases, there easier treks and at times difficulty ones, but what you have to put in mind is that trekking may take up to 8 hours. Therefore, to ease your trek and to enjoy it more fully, you can use a walking stick to support yourself since the trails may be slippery or steep. Or in other cases, you can hire a porter to help you with you backpack.
Group of Tourists
A maximum number of 8 people are allowed to do a gorilla trekking in their allocated habituated gorilla families because this helps in the reduction of irritating the mountain gorillas and also to reduce on the behavioral disturbance caused by humans and also transferring of their airborne diseases. On a rare occasion, more than eight people may track an habituated gorilla group but, this is after a special request.
Health of the Trekkers/visitors
Tourists in good health conditions are the only one allowed to do gorilla trekking because this helps to avoid easy spread of communicable diseases such as flu, cough etc. Therefore, ill tourists are recommended to stay home because they will not be allowed to participate in this tremendous experience.
Smokers are not allowed to do gorilla trekking most especially in the presence of the gentle giants, mountain gorillas because this can affect their health condition. That is why tourists have to keep a distance of about 6 to 7 meters while with them. You are advised to at least bath several times to kill the smell.
Before you participate in gorilla trekking, you need to feed well such as eating and drinking right or if you have to take some medications do it and also avoid getting cold as well as any complications in the stomach because this will hinder you from enjoying your trekking experience.
With all that in mind one may ask, what do I need to wear while gorilla trekking? Well, you don’t need to worry about any clothing you will put on because trekking is not a fashion exhibition that you need to change every now and then. Here is all what you need since you will be beating in the bush and passing in muddy trails to trek the gorillas;
- You will need long trousers since you’re in tropical Africa to avoid getting scratched and bothered by flies.
- Waterproof boots since you will be walking in muddy trails.
- Long sleeved shirt for your protection from mosquitoes or getting stung by the forest nettles.
- Hat, gardening gloves to protect your hands from getting cracked with the walking sticks. You can also come along with some pack lunch or some granola bars to help you pass through the trekking until you go back to your lodges.
In conclusion, for those who a lucky and among the people allowed to trek mountain gorillas, here is a list of proposed itineraries for you to enjoy a thrilling adventure as you plan for your Africa gorilla safari tour.