Guidelines to trek gorillas in Uganda.
Gorilla trekking is a fantastic once in a lifetime experience and it is on every person’s bucket list. These incredible creatures share up to 98% of human DNA and it is an unimaginable encounter to be amidst these apes. A gorilla trekking tour is one of the highlights why travelers visit Uganda, particularly in Mgahinga and Bwindi national parks, the only homes of gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda.
Trekking mountain gorillas involves hiking in fogy jungles making it a rather difficult adventure but it truly rewards when you finally come close to the mountain gorillas.
Since these endangered creatures draw a lot of visitors from all over the world, this puts their lives at risk on the other hand and that is why UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) came up with gorilla trekking rules and regulations to follow while on a gorilla safari trip in Uganda;-
Each group of mountain gorillas is visited by eight people or less. At the briefing, visitors are clustered into groups of eight members each before they are allocated a specific gorilla family to track. This means, there are only eight permits available on a given day for a particular group. When there are less visits, a gorilla group can be visited by less than 8 people and this makes it more interesting. Limited number of travelers is to prevent congestions that could in turn pose threat to the endangered gorillas.
All visitors during their gorilla trekking tour in Uganda are required to keep a distance of 7 meters away, to prevent closer interaction with the mountain gorillas; In order to ensure that they don’t attract human air-borne diseases such as flu, cough and many others which may be harmful to their health and the visitors themselves from getting wildlife diseases.
Travelers are supposed to remain in their respective tracking groups and avoid moving alone in the jungle so they may not get lost in the jungles or encounter other wild animals which can be harmful. Trekkers are requested to speak at a low tone because gorillas are sensible and calm creatures but behave wild if disrupted with loud noise. If the mountain gorillas charge, In case the gorillas charge, visitors are required to imitate by crouching down, not to run away and avoid direct eye contact with the gorillas.
All trekkers are advised to carry packed lunch or energy giving snacks and drinking water but they are not supposed to live any trash in the forest such as the leftovers, empty bottles and polythene bags. Visitors are also not allowed to feed the gorillas.
The trekkers have to be in good health conditions in order to undertake gorilla trekking adventure, since mountain gorillas share up to 98% of their DNA with humans and this put them at a risk of getting human air borne diseases.
Even though you may hike for several hours while looking for the mountain gorillas, but after finding them you are allowed to interact with them for only one hour. Maximize the 1 hour of direct encounter with gorillas to take as many pictures as possible and also to clearly observe their behaviors.
In order to trek the gorillas, trekkers ought to be aged 15 years and above regardless of their physical looks, and before the trekking begins original documents such as passports, birth certificates, national I.Ds and trekking permits have to be presented to park authorities for clarification.
These gorilla trekking rules and regulations in Uganda have to be followed in order to have a successful and memorable gorilla safari experience in Uganda.