Gorilla Trekking Code of Conduct
About Gorilla Trekking
Mountain gorilla trekking is ranked amongst the world’s top adventurous activities, only done in East and Central Africa. This is the only place in the world where one can travel to and see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Gorilla Census report of 2011 showed that, there are only 880 mountain gorillas left in the whole world, found in the Virunga volcanic mountain ranges shared among Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. Out of 880, Uganda has about 440, which is almost half of it. This means that, like cross river gorillas (250 – 300 remaining), mountain gorillas are also critically endangered. And the number of visitors par day is limited to 8 people visiting each gorilla group. The limit aims at protecting these gentle giants through conserving their environment. You need a gorilla permit that acts as permission to participate in a guided forest to search for gorillas. A gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda costs US dollars 750 each, US dollars 600 in Uganda and US dollars 500 in DR Congo. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda takes place in Volcanoes National Park with currently over 10 gorilla groups, and in Uganda, gorilla tracking takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with currently 12 gorilla groups and 1 gorilla group in Mgahnga National Park. Gorilla Trekking in DR Congo’s Virunga National Park is not well developed due to some political unrests in the region but its one of the perfect destinations to see gorillas in the wild with big gorilla groups and silverbacks and babies.
How to behave on the way to trek Gorillas:
Always follow the instructions from the ranger guides while on the way to search for mountain Gorillas. Rangers may instruct you to follow a certain route, keeping quiet, keep close and so on, and please obey.
If you have any transmitted or contiguous disease like cold, dysentery, skin disease, cough and so on. Please remain behind and wait for you’re refunded according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority refund regulations or you can decide to reschedule the tracking date to meet gorillas after recovery.
Only 8 visitors or trackers are allowed to visit each gorilla group since a large group can stress the gorillas. In a Small group, the gorillas are comfortable and relaxed with there visitors’ presence.
It is advisable to wash your hands with detergent so that you do not carry any germs to the field which may spread diseases to the gorillas. They are highly susceptible to human diseases.
Avoid dumping any rubbish on the way because the gorillas can easily pick it and eat it. This also spoils the environment.
Since gorillas are mobile in their nature environment, you are expected to endure the difficulties in trying to meet them. The ranger guide will guide you following the trails to the area they were last seen the previous day. In case they moved, you are requested to be patient as you search since these are free animals in there natural habitat.
Set your cameras in advance – avoid flash cameras to avoid stressing the Gorillas. You need to be patient and wait to take out your cameras until advised to do so. He has to first observe there mood before you can take any action.
Don’t forget extra batteries and insect repellent while going on a gorilla trek in Africa.