Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations Uganda
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is one of the top African primate tracking activity with these gentle giants being the only great apes. Uganda gorilla safaris are very popular because of the amazing experience and that’s why there are set gorilla trekking rules and regulations in Uganda. There are two natural habitats in Uganda where mountain gorillas are found and these are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, two of the four parks in the world with mountain gorillas.
In the world, there are about 1063 mountain gorillas remaining living in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. These mountain gorillas live in families and the increase in number is highly dependent on conservation efforts. To keep the mountain gorilla population safe and protected, there are set rules and regulations that each trekker has to follow during their gorilla safari in Uganda. These rules and regulations are set by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and apply to both Bwindi Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Here are the set gorilla trekking rules and regulations in Uganda;
- Always wash your hands before you head to the gorillas. This helps to ensure that you don’t have germs or viruses on your hands and can be spread to the gorillas.
- Human waste should be buried 30cm (12”) deep. You can ask the guide for help in case you need to.
- Always keep your voice low at all times please. Do not make any loud noises in the forest from the start of the trek to the end.
- DO NOT leave any rubbish in the park. Take out with you whatever you bring in, it may disrupt the ecosystem.
- Maintain a 7 meters (21ft) distance from the gorillas at all times.
- DO NOT eat, drink or smoke during gorilla trekking in Uganda.
- If you must sneeze or cough cover your face and turn away from the gorillas, as they can catch coughs and colds from humans.
- Do not use flash photography while taking photos of the gorilla family.
- Do not touch the gorillas.
- When you are near the gorillas, keep in a tight group.
Relevant Tips to know before booking a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda
When you start planning or choose to have a gorilla safari in Uganda please take note of this information;
- A Uganda gorilla trekking permit is a must have by each tourist for a gorilla trekking experience to be possible. A gorilla permit is a document issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority as approval that the tourist qualifies to go trekking in Uganda and has paid the required fee. Purchase a gorilla trekking permit at least 6 months prior to the trip and ensure having the permit before even setting off for the trip.
- Only 8 persons are allowed to trek a single gorilla family each day. This is done to minimize behavioral disturbances and risk of exposure to human borne diseases. A gorilla family is allocated on the morning of the trek and each individual is given an opportunity to choose a family to trek if they wish to.
- Persons with a cold or flu and any contagious diseases that might be found infectious to mountain gorillas are not allowed to go trekking. This is because mountain gorillas are very susceptible to human disease and a whole population can be wiped out by a common cold. For this period during the novel outbreak of coronavirus, any person who is positive or has symptoms of COVID-19 may not be allowed to trek gorillas in Uganda.
- Mountain gorilla trekking starts early morning and therefore tourists must have spent their previous night at an accommodation facility close to the park. For Bwindi, gorilla trekking permits are allocated according to the different sectors, ensure that the accommodation facility is in the same sector. Briefing starts at 8:00am and therefore tourists should be at the park early enough to attend briefing on the rules and regulations before starting the trek.
- Minimum age for gorilla trekking in Uganda is 15 years and only persons 15 and above can be given a gorilla trekking permit and be allowed to have a gorilla safari in Uganda.
- Only a maximum one hour is what tourists can spend in the presence of the mountain gorilla family.
- When mountain gorillas feel uneasy with the presence of people, they can easily charge which is a reaction to fight and keep away their enemy. In case the gorillas charge, your guide will guide you on what to do and this includes you to crouch down slowly, look away from the gorilla and let it pass.
Each tourist on a gorilla safari Uganda should be aware and follow these set rules and regulations for a memorable gorilla trip in any of the gorilla habitat in Uganda. These gorilla trekking rules and regulations in Uganda are a bit similar to those of Rwanda but may differ just a little. When planning Rwanda gorilla tours, ensure to know the gorilla trekking rules and regulations of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. For wildlife tours in Uganda, Kenya safaris or Tanzania wildlife safaris, the rules are much more less since game viewing is done in safari vehicles and therefore less close contact to wildlife.