Help: How close can I get to the gorillas? ‘‘A close encounter with nature’s majesty’’

Trekking to see mountain gorillas is an unforgettable journey that takes you into the heart of Africa, to encounter Earth’s most awe-inspiring creatures, ‘‘Mountain gorillas’’. Gorilla trekking is one of Africa’s great wildlife adventure safari activities that you should try before you retire. Mountain gorillas live in tropical African jungles in three countries of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Gorilla trekking entails hiking through dense tropical African jungles to search and observe mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. For those seeking a truly immersive wildlife experience, the question arises ‘How close can I get to the gorillas?’ This complete guide is designed to equip you with all the necessary information about gorilla trekking rules and guidelines.

Although trekking these gentle giants will grant you an opportunity to watch them up close, it is important to know that there are strict guidelines for gorilla trekking in all gorilla trekking locations. These set gorilla trekking rules and guidelines are usually issued to visitors during the briefing answering so many questions. If you are wondering ‘How close can I get to the gorillas?’ it is also important to keep in mind that despite being habituated, mountain gorillas remain wild animals and their whole behavior can be unpredictable at times. One of the must observe guidelines during gorilla trekking  is the safe established distance for observing mountain gorillas which is about 7 meters.

How close can I get to the gorillas? During the trek, visitors are allowed to view gorillas at a considerable distance of at least 7 meters. Sometimes gorillas may come closer to you but you are required to stay calm and submissive, avoid staring directly into their eyes, and do not touch them.


Encounter with gorillas in the wild – Help: How close can I get to the gorillas? Gorilla trekking FAQs

After your long trek in the forest, you will finally encounter gorillas. You will follow the lead of your ranger guide and do exactly as he instructs you to do. The ranger guide will tell you how to approach your gorilla family. You will view gorillas at a distance of around 7 meters. Gorillas are wild animals and may not observe these guidelines so it is up to you the visitor to to follow the guidelines. Sometimes gorillas move too close to trekkers, we recommend you not to get tempted to touch them since the watchful silverback will be watching your every move.

Even when they react or charge at you, you are always advised to stay calm and act submissive since they always want to portray their dominance. During the trek, you are also not allowed to eat in front of the gorillas or to feed the playful infants. Remember to protect the gorilla habitat, and make sure to leave it as clean as possible, do not litter the habitat with any kind of rubbish.

If you follow the rules and regulations for gorilla trekking you will promote the conservation and safety of both you and the gorillas. You will also contribute to habitat preservation. So if you are still wondering how far you will observe gorillas, you are allowed to view gorillas at a distance of 7 meters.


Gorilla trekking rules and guidelines

The gorilla trekking rules and guidelines are put in place to protect gorillas, gorilla habitats, and visitors. These rules and regulations are a must adhere to during mountain gorilla trekking safaris tours in all gorilla trekking locations in Africa. By following the gorilla trekking rules, you will ensure your safety and conservation of the gorilla habitat.

Maintain distance with gorillas: During mountain gorilla trekking, you are required to maintain a minimum distance of at least 7 meters (about 21 feet) from the gorillas at all times. By maintaining this distance, you are ensuring your safety and also minimizing the risk of transmitting diseases to gorillas since they are highly susceptible. It is important to keep in mind that for gorillas, they are wild animals and will not maintain the distance and can easily move closer to the visitor. In such circumstances, you are required to stay calm and avoid acting in a way that may make them agitated.

Follow the instructions given by the guide: Gorilla trekking is always led by experienced and knowledgeable ranger guides. At all times during the trek, listen to and follow the instructions of your ranger guide. Their incredible knowledge of the gorillas and the forest will ensure your safety and also success in trekking mountain gorillas on your African safari holiday tour. Ranger guides are trained to ensure your safety and the well-being of the gorillas.

Stay in your group: During gorilla trekking visitors are usually grouped into groups of 8 members each. Each group is allocated to a specific gorilla family. Your ranger guides will lead you and your group into the forest to search for mountain gorillas. It is best recommended to stay with your group and avoid wandering off during the trek. This will ensure your safety and also minimize disturbance to gorillas.

Avoid flash photography: if you are interested in gorilla photography or filming, it is important to know that flash photography is not allowed. Flash photography can disturb the gorillas, so it’s strictly prohibited. You are however allowed to take as many picture as you want during the trek with your flash light turned off.

Avoid making noise: During gorilla trekking tours in the forest, it is recommended to maintain silence and only speak with a low voice when you need something you would love your ranger guide to clarify. The loud voice and sudden movements should be avoided during the trek so as to maintain a calm environment for the gorillas.


Do not touch the gorillas: However tempting it may be, do not touch gorillas during the trek. Having been habituated in the past years, gorillas may feel comfortable around humans and at times during the trek, they can even move much closer to the trekkers. It’s important to never touch the gorillas, even if they come close to you since their reaction may be unpredictable and also the watchful silverback may get agitated. They are wild animals and direct contact should be avoided at all costs during the trek.

Do not eat or drink near gorillas: Although we recommend carrying some energy when heading out for a gorilla trekking experience, it is prohibited to eat or drink near gorillas. Food and drinks can attract unwanted attention from the gorillas. To stay safe during the trek, we recommend eating snacks or drinking water before or after your trek.

Wear appropriate clothing: When preparing for a gorilla trekking safari tour, it is recommended to choose the right clothing. The best clothing for mountain gorilla trekking tours include long sleeved shirts and long trousers that can ensure your body is well covered. Animals print attire is prohibited since it can attract attention and also make gorillas uncomfortable. Dress in long sleeves and pants to protect yourself from nettles, thorns, and insects. Do not forget to carry a pair of comfortable hiking boots.

Stay healthy: In case you are feeling unwell on the morning you are supposed to go gorilla trekking, it is best advised to forgo the activity especially if you are suffering for illness that is transmittable. It is important to keep it in mind that gorillas share up to 98% DNA with humans and can easily get infected with human diseases. This rule is strictly enforced to protect the critically endangered mountain gorilla population.

Respect the environment: By respecting the environment you are contributing to the conservation of gorillas and their habitat. Leave no trash behind and avoid damaging vegetation during the trek. It is also important to remember that Gorilla habitats are fragile ecosystems, and minimized human impact is crucial for their protection.


How many miles do you walk to see the gorillas?

If you are wondering how long it will take you to find a gorilla, it is important to know that there is no exact established distance for gorilla trekking. The distance and time spent during the trek are usually influenced by the location of your allocated gorilla family and their movement. If the allocated gorilla family is located far away from the visitors center, then you are likely to trek for a longer distance compared to those who will be trekking gorilla families located near the visitors center.

When it comes to gorilla movement, if your allocated gorilla family is actively moving, it will take you a considerable amount of time to locate them as they keep moving. However, if your gorilla family is not so actively moving and are in one place either feeding or resting, it will take you little distance and time to locate them.

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