Gorilla Trekking Do’s & Dont’s – Rules and Regulations In The Bwindi Forest

Rules and Regulations In The Bwindi Forest

Gorilla Trekking D0’s & Dont’s During Safari

Guidelines to be followed by every person participating in Gorilla trekking in Bwindi or Mgahinga gorilla national park and in Volcanoes Rwanda and Virunga national park in DRC.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda, is conducted in two national parks that is Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park and Mgahinga gorilla national both harbouring habituated gorilla families opened for gorilla trekking. within Bwindi alone, there are several habituated gorilla families and many other over 50 gorilla species in the wild. The park is a host to the largest number of gorillas compared to Mgahinga with only two habituated gorilla group, other remaining numbers are distributed in Volcanoes national park Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Gorilla trekking rules and regulations are set side not only for the protection of the primates, but also for the protection of the tourists who go to see the gorillas. Mountain gorilla tracking is an exciting activity but requires a lot more preparation and also requires once physical form to make it even more enjoyable and memorable. During the activity, trekkers are advised to follow all the necessary information and instructions of the park Rangers to ensure safety and a memorable experience.
Only 1000 mountain gorillas remain in the wild but Tourism is the only reliable way to raise money for their conservation. They are endangered and need to be protected from sicknesses or anything that may threaten their numbers. The rules and regulation were designed with the purpose of reducing disease transmission from man to the gorillas and also to avoid alerting the primates unnecessarily.
Mountain gorillas have a poorer immune system than humans, making them susceptible to human illnesses. It’s also crucial to remember that even though the gorillas have become acclimated, they are still wild animals and do not fully trust people. When threatened, they will defend their young ones to the death and are fiercely devoted to them. Additionally, it’s crucial to spend a brief amount of time with the primates so that they have a chance to flourish and interact with others of their own species. Visitors are typically informed of these guidelines prior to the real gorilla trek in the forest, this is often conducted during the briefing. You would aid in the general conservation of the primates if you adhered to and respect the gorilla trekking laws and restrictions, you would be contributing to the overall conservation of the primates.

Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations

Gorilla trekking is a thrilling and unique experience that allows you to observe endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. To ensure the safety and well-being of the gorillas and visitors, there are specific rules and regulations that must be followed. While these rules may vary slightly between different gorilla trekking destinations, here are some general guidelines for gorilla trekking.

Obtain a Permit; this is MUST for any person taking part in gorilla trekking. Gorilla trekking requires a permit, which is usually obtained in advance from the respective Wildlife Authority. As of Uganda, the permits are obtained from Uganda Wildlife Authority for Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla national parks. The number of permits issued per day is limited to minimize disturbance to the gorillas.

Age Restrictions; Most destinations have a minimum age requirement, typically 15 or 16 years old, to participate in gorilla trekking. This is to ensure the safety of both the visitors and the gorillas.
All visitors are advised to follow the Guidance of Guides and Rangers, these are trained guides and park rangers who will accompany you during the trek. It is crucial to listen to their instructions and follow their lead at all times to ensure that you are safe and enjoy the gorilla trekking experience.

Keep a Safe Distance: When observing the gorillas, maintain a minimum distance of 7 meters (about 23 feet). This is to protect both the gorillas and yourself from potential disease transmission.
Limited Group Size; Usually, trekking groups are limited to a maximum of 8 individuals. This restriction helps minimize stress on the gorillas and ensures a more intimate and controlled experience.
Flash Photography is not allowed, Flash photography is strictly prohibited during gorilla trekking. The use of flash can startle the gorillas and potentially agitate them. Stick to using natural light or low-light photography techniques.

Do Not Litter; Keep the gorilla habitat clean by not leaving any trash behind. Carry out all waste and dispose of it properly in designated areas.
Stay Quiet and Calm; Loud noises and sudden movements can disturb the gorillas. Maintain a quiet and calm demeanour throughout the trek to minimize stress to the animals.

Limit Trekking Time; Generally, the time spent with the gorillas is limited to one hour. This helps minimize interference with their daily routines and reduces the likelihood of habituation.

Follow Health Guidelines given to you by the rangers, Gorillas are susceptible to human diseases, as they share a high percentage of DNA with humans. If you are feeling unwell or have a contagious illness, it is advisable to postpone your trek to avoid transmitting any diseases to the gorillas.

Cough in particular affects gorillas badly. Turn away from the gorillas and cover your nose and mouth if you have to sneeze or cough. Remember, you may be carrying germs or an infection that you are not aware of. You need to also ensure you have clean hands as you head out trekking.

Do not clear vegetation in order to have a better view of the gorillas. This could scare the primates. Let the rangers do if any clearing if necessary and possible.
Do not eat, drink or smoke in the presence of mountain gorillas. They may approach you out of curiosity, also Leftover food may contain viruses that would affect the gorillas.

Maintain a distance of at least 15 feet from the endangered mountain gorillas to reduce risks of transmitting human diseases. While observing the gorillas, tourists should not surround them but remain in a group. The gorillas should be given space to move about without feeling surrounded or threatened in any way. Keeping a distance of 15 feet is important.

When a gorilla decides to approach you, Move backwards slowly. If it is not possible to move backwards, then the only option is to remain still. Juveniles are particularly very inquisitive and will attempt to investigate you. Your items and bag should be closed and in place so that they don’t draw the attention of the inquisitive juveniles. Apart from limited disease spread, keeping a distance will prevent the primates from getting too used to humans. It will also prevent the primates from acting too familiar or even aggressive to another group that will come after you.

In instances where mountain gorilla charges, crouch down slowly. Do not run but let the gorilla calm down, it will leave on its own. The Rangers will be on alert when a silverback starts beating his chest to display dominance. They are trained to calm down tourists in such circumstances and to stop anyone from running. As threatening and scary as charging may be, the best thing to do is stay put. Always stay calm and avoid sudden movements.

Avoid staring directly at the gorillas’ eyes as they might mistake it for hostility. Your body language counts a lot when with gorillas. Do not lift your arms or hands as they might be taken as signs of aggression. Standing taller than them and then staring may also be mistaken for aggression.
The Rangers will let you know when it is safe to start taking photos. While taking photos of mountain gorillas, keep calm and limit your movements. Do not use your flash to avoid irritating the gorillas since this may cause them to charge.

Do not attempt touching mountain gorillas even when they are inspecting you. They could mistake it for aggressiveness.
Avoid putting on bright colours that might attract the attention of the gorillas. Sunglasses are also not allowed while with the gorillas. Their reflection on the glass might make them come to you to find out more.

Essentials required for Gorilla trekking, what to wear on the day of gorilla trekking

Gorilla tracking regulations for the best gorilla trekking experience, all visitors participating in the activity, are required to wear good sturdy hiking shoes. The shoes are ideal for climbing muddy and steep slopes. Being a tropical rain forest, rain is very common in the gorilla parks and for that reason, you are advised to carry a rain jacket so you are on safe side. Gorilla tourism occurs in areas with thick forests and vegetation, where by sharp grasses and tree branches could bruise your skin. every person is required to dress in long sleeved shirts and trousers to prevent cuts from the tree branches. Also note that tropical forests are full of insects and best way to cub this is to acquire a good insect repellent, sunscreen also important to use during the dry season due to the strong rays of the sun that might burn your skin.

Move with a camera and Binoculars to view distant birds. the Camera helps in capturing your epic moments and also take photos of the gorillas and other attractions of your interest for your photo gallery or even for memories. Also, as you set of in the forest in search for the gorillas, move with enough drinking water and packed lunch from your hotel/lodge to keep you fresh and hydrated since the trek may get a bit tougher and tiring.

Remember, these rules and regulations are in place to protect the gorillas and ensure the sustainability of gorilla tourism. By following these guidelines, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience while minimizing your impact on these incredible creatures and their environment.

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