The endangered mountain gorillas inhabit the Virunga range volcanoes shared between Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in Uganda which is home to half population of mountain gorillas in the world.
Mountain gorillas were almost extinct in the late 90s but due to conservation efforts started by the American primatologist Dian Fossy, numbers have dramatically increased although they are still endangered.
Mountain gorillas are human close relatives sharing about 98 percent DNA with humans, they live in groups dominated by an alpha male known as silverback that dictates all the group day to day activities and also protects the group from any form of danger.
Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations
A visit to the mountain gorillas should not decrease on their number. For those planning to trek the habituated mountain gorillas, the following are the gorilla trekking rules and regulations to guide you; –
After briefing from headquarters, only a group of 8 people is allowed to visit each gorilla family. The number is low to ensure human infectious borne diseases like flu and cough are not passed to the gorillas, and to minimise behavioural disturbances of the mountain gorillas.
As soon as you find the mountain gorilla family you are trekking, a maximum time of an hour is given for observation and photography although sometimes the visit can end early if the mountain gorilla family tries to charge.
You are not allowed to touch mountain gorillas because they are wild animals.
For unknown reason, gorillas don’t like flash lights so you will have to turn off your flash light while taking photos to avoid irritating the gorilla family.
Do not stare straight into the gorillas’ eyes.
Sometimes the gorillas might charge at you and this is the time to listen to the guides instructions carefully like crouching down and allowing them to pass and pretending to eat vegetation.
Keep your voice silent; by lowering your voice you will have a chance to see more of the inhabitants of the forest but you can always ask your guide questions in a low tone and even after the visit, keep your voices low until your about 200 meters away from gorillas.
Always stay close to your group while in the presence of mountain gorillas.
If you need to go to the toilet while in the forest, ask your guide to dig for you a hole as deep as 30cm and you must fill in after using it.
Do not leave the rubbish behind during the trek, always keep rubbish in bags and go back with them least the animals will eat the rubbish and die
Always stay 7 meters away from the gorillas, the more you stand back the more relaxed they become and this gives you an opportunity to observe and take photos.
In conclusion, you must also know what to bring if you’re planning to trek mountain gorillas. Apart from physical fitness, you need to pack water proof hiking boots, insect repellents, garden gloves, plenty of drinking water and so much more.
Always wash hands before going for gorilla trekkingTags: Travel Blog