Rules and Regulations of Gorilla Trekking
Rules and Regulations of Gorilla Trekking are those precautions and guidelines that a trekker must follow strictly to ensure their trek is successful. Gorilla trekking is an amazing, thrilling and adventurous activity that any traveler can as for while on a gorilla trekking safari in Africa. However, there are a set of rules and regulations of gorilla trekking that have been put in place and MUST be followed by all visitors who are trekking mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo. The rules & regulations of gorilla trekking include:
What to do before and during your gorilla trekking activity.
- Always ensure that you carry with you your gorilla trekking permit and a valid passport.
- Respect the limits set for the daily number of visitors allowed to track a group of mountain gorillas. These limits are put in place to minimize the risk of transmission of disease between the gorillas and humans.
- Wash your hands properly with soap and water prior to the start of your gorilla trekking activity.
- Do not go gorilla trekking if you are feeling ill i.e. do not trek gorillas in case you have contagious diseases such as; flu or cough. Just in case you develop a cough or cold on the day prior to/morning of your gorilla trekking activity, you can opt not to go trekking gorillas and ask for a refund of your gorilla trekking permit.
- Those trekking mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park should always wear masks when in the midst of the gorillas. Visitors who don’t have their own masks can always get one at the park.
- In case you want to sneeze or cough, cover your nose or mouth with a handkerchief. Alternatively, you can turn your face away from the gorillas, place your hands on your face and sneeze or cough.
- Visitors are advised not to litter the national park with food wrappers and beverage bottles while trekking gorillas.
- Always keep your voices down while trekking gorillas in the forest, so as not to disturb the birds and wildlife in the forest. Also, mountain gorillas are sensitive to loud noise and making noise while trekking gorillas can easily agitate them, which in turn will make them become aggressive.
What to do once you have located a gorilla group.
Once travelers have located a gorilla group during the gorilla trekking activity, the following rules must be followed by all trekkers;
- Always maintain a distance of 7 meters away from the gorillas.
- Visitors should limit their movements while in the presence of the gorillas.
- Always lower your head in case a gorilla or its baby gets close to you and never maintains eye contact with a gorilla especially a silverback. Usually, keeping eye contact with a male/Silverback gorilla is a sign of a challenge; and this can result in a fight between the gorilla and a human being. Of course, you wouldn’t want over 136 kg of flesh pouncing on you! You definitely won’t survive the blows.
- Always remember to stay in a group and do not wander off when in the presence of the gorillas.
- Keep your voices down when with the gorillas; however, you are also free to ask your guides any questions that you may have.
- Visitors should avoid having any physical contact with the gorillas. Always remember that they are wild animals and hence you cannot always predict their behavior, especially towards you.
- Always stay calm and do not panic or run away when a gorilla charges. Follow the instructions that your guide will give you i.e. do maintain eye contact with the gorillas and slowly lie down.
- Do not eat, drink or smoke while in the presence of the gorillas. Also, visitors should not attempt to feed the gorillas any food you may be carrying.
- Visitors can only spend an hour with the gorillas once they have been located. Trekkers are not allowed to spend more than 1 hour with the gorillas for safety purposes.
- Do not use flash photography while taking pictures of the gorillas as it can easily agitate them and make them become aggressive. It is always important that you check your camera and phones to make sure that your flash is disabled.
- After tracking, keep your voices down until you are 200 meters away from the gorillas.
Gorilla trekking is an exciting activity that a traveler should experience once in a lifetime.
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