Since the start of gorilla tourism, there are set guidelines that must be followed by tourists who go for gorilla tracking in Africa. These rules and regulations were set to protect the gorillas and to ensure safety of the tourists as well. Here are some of the rules that you should know;
A reasonable degree of fitness is require for tourists intending to go for gorilla trekking. This is due to that gorilla tracking may involve long hikes walking in elavations that range from 1500m to 3000m.
It is a requirement to obtain gorilla permits in order to track the gorillas in Africa. Never pay for gorilla permits to rangers and local guides if you want to see the gorillas. This is illegal in all the reserves that protect the gorillas.
In all reserves, tourists are permitted to spend no longer than 1 hour with the gorillas and may not eat or smoke in presence of the gorillas.
On the way to the gorillas
- A maximum number of 8 visitors may visit a group of habituated gorillas in a day. This minimises behavioural disturbances to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human borne diseses.
- Always wash your hands before you head out to the gorillas.
- DO NOT leave rubbish in the park whatever you bring in thre forest should be carried back with you.
- On your visit, you will be taken to where the guides left the gorillas the day before. From there you will follow the gorills’s trail to find them. Look out for the gorillas nesting sites along the way!
- When you approach the gorillas, the guides will inform you when to get your cameras ready.
- Please always keep your voices low, you will also be able to observe the great bird bird life and other wildlife in the forest.
When you are with the gorillas
- Keep a minimum of 7 metres from the gorillas. This is to protect gorillas from human diseases transmission.
- You must stay in a tight group when you are near the gorillas.
- Keep your voices low at all times. However it is okay to ask the guide questions
- DO NOT eat or drink while you are near the gorillas tomreduce the risk of disease transmission.
- Some times the gorillas charge. Follow the guides’ example crouch down slowly, DO NOT look the gorilla in the eye, wait for the animals to pass. DO NOT attempt to run away. Running awy will increase the risk of attack.
- Flash photography is not permitted! When taking pictures, move slowly and carefully.
- DO NOT touch the gorillas. They are wild animals.
- The maximum time visitors are allowed to spend with the gorillas is one hour to limit their disturbance. If the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guides will end the visit early.
- After the visit, keep your voices down until you are 200 metres away from the gorillas.
General health rules
Remember gorillas are very susceptible to human diseases. The following are ways to minimize the risk your visit might pose to them
- 1. Respect the limit imposed on the time that visitors are allowed with the gorillas each day. This minimizes the risk of disease transmission and stress to the group.
- 2. If you are feeling ill or have a contagious disease when you are already at the park, please volunteer to stay behind. An alternative visit will be arranged for you, or you money will be refunded as per gorilla reservation guidelines.
- 3. If you feel the argue ton 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.
- 4. Always stay 7 metres away from the gorillas. The further back you are, the more relaxed the group will be.
- 5. DO NOT leave any rubbish e.g food wrappers in the park. Such items can harbor diseases or other contaminants.
- 6. If need to go to the toilet while in the forest, please ask the guide to dig you a whole an ensure that you cover it when you have finished.
Any breach in these rules may lead to termination of tracking without any refund.