Guidelines for Mountain Gorilla Tracking in Uganda or Rwanda
If you are planning to do a gorilla tour in Uganda or Rwanda soon; it is good to have an idea of the rules that apply when finally gorilla trekking in the forest and more so when you encounter the mountain gorillas
Group sizes of Gorilla Trackers
A maximum number of 8 visitors may visit a group of habituated mountain gorillas in a day. This minimizes behavioral disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases. Always wash your hands before you head out to the gorillas.
On the way to the Gorillas:
-It is advisable to keep your voices low when trekking in search for mountain gorillas. Enjoy lots of wildlife and bird life in the forest.
-YOU SHOULD NOT leave rubbish in the park. Whatever you bring into the forest should be carried out by you.
You will be taken to where the guides observed the gorillas the day before. From there you will follow the trail to locate the gorillas. Watch out for Gorilla nests along the way!
When you are with the gorillas:
-Maintain a 7 meter (21 feet) distance from the gorillas. The further back you are, the more relaxed the group will be. Animals usually feel insecure when you get nearer to their safe zone
-Keep close in a group when near the gorillas.
-Keep your voices low, it is allowed to ask questions to your guide.
-Smoking, eats and drinking are not allowed when with the Gorillas to reduce the risk of transmitting human diseases to gorillas
-Sometimes gorillas can charge. Follow the guides example (crouch down slowly, do not look the gorillas directly in the eyes and wait for the animals to pass). Do not attempt to run away because that will increase the risk.
-Photography is limited! When taking pictures move slowly and carefully.
-Don’t touch gorillas – remember they are wild animals
-The maximum allowed time with gorillas is one hour. However, if the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide will finish the visit early. -After the visit keep your voices down until you are 200 meters away from the gorillas.
General health rules:
Mountain gorillas are very prone to human diseases. Observe the following rules to limit your health risks to gorillas:
-Respect the limits imposed on the number of visitors allowed with the gorillas each day. This minimizes the risk of disease transmission and stress to the group.
-If you are feeling ill, or you are carrying a contagious disease, volunteer to stay behind. An alternate visit will be arranged for you, or you will be refunded your money.
-If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the gorillas, please turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order to minimize the spread of bacteria or viruses.
-Always stay 7 meters (21 feet) away from the gorillas. This is to protect them from catching human diseases.
-Do not leave any rubbish (eg. food wrappers) in the park; foreign items can harbor diseases or other contaminants.
-If you need to go to the toilet while in the forest, please ask the guide to dig you a hole with his Panga. Make sure the hole is 30 cm deep and fill it in when you are finished.
What to Carry on your Gorilla Safari:
– Wear comfortable hiking shoes suitable for steep muddy slopes.
– Put on ear plugs for those who feel uncomfortable with the jungle sounds.
– Carry a packed lunch and enough drinking water.
– Carry rain gear, sunscreen lotion, a hat (as the weather is unpredictable) and insect repellent.
-Turnoff your flash light when using shooting photos