Important rules and guidelines for gorilla trekking – What are the rules and guidelines for gorilla trekking?

Mountain gorillas are an endangered species and a few thousand of them still live in the Virunga massif and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. The fact that they are an endangered species is even more appealing to many thus attracting thousands of visitors from all over the globe annually to witness these amazing creatures. Although gorilla trekking is a life changing adventure that any traveler to Africa wishes to experience, there are set rules and guidelines for gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda, and D. R Congo that you must adhere to during your gorilla trekking tour.

These Important rules and guidelines for gorilla trekking are put in place to ensure the protection of the gorilla habitat, minimize disturbance, and reduce stress to gorillas. Gorilla trekking rules are also important for the safety of trekkers while in the forest. If you are still wondering ‘What are the rules and guidelines for gorilla trekking?’ below is a list of all gorilla trekking rules and guidelines that you must adhere to before the trek, during the trek, and when with gorillas.

Why you should adhere to rules and guidelines for gorilla trekking

  1. To protect gorillas
  2. Support conservation
  3. Ensure your safety during the trek
  4. To promote ethical wildlife tourism practices
  5. To prevent the spread of diseases
  6. Promote sustainability
  7. To ensure legal compliance

Rules and guidelines to follow when trekking to see gorillas

1) To protect the health of gorillas, always wash your hands before you head out to trek the mountain gorillas.

2) Always wear clean clothes each time you visit gorillas. Always clean your clothes before and after each trek in the forest.

3) let it be in your know that only eight (8) visitors are allowed to visit a group of habituated Mountain gorillas in a day. This is intended to minimize disturbance of the gorillas so as to ensure they behave normally.

4) When you encounter Mountain Gorillas, the ranger guides will inform you. Follow their instructions on how you will approach your gorilla group.

5) Before you set off for your trek in the forest, you are advised to use the restrooms at the visitors center since there are no restrooms in the forest.

6) Leave no trace. From the time you enter the park until the time you exit, make sure to leave no trace of any rubbish or whatever you bring into the forest. Make sure to go back with whatever you come with in the forest.


Gorilla trekking rules and guidelines to follow while in the presence of gorillas

1) while with gorillas, always maintain a low voice while communicating. It is okay to ask questions during the trek however, noise may attract unnecessary attention from gorillas.

2) Do not leave your group. Always stay in a tight group when you are near the mountain gorillas.

3) Maintain the set minimum distance of 7 metres (21 feet) from the Mountain Gorillas.

4) Always eat or drink before the trek and after the trek. Eating in the presence of gorillas may attract unnecessary attention.

5) Stay calm and submissive while with gorillas. In times when gorillas get agitated, they like to assert their dominance. When gorillas charge, stay calm and follow the guide’s example crouch down slowly.

6) Avoid looking the Mountain Gorilla in the eye. Staring gorillas in their eyes may make them agitated and uncomfortable.

7) Avoid touching Mountain Gorillas. Sometimes mountain gorillas may move closer to you, you are advised to avoid touching or feeding them since they are wild animals.

8) Flash photography is prohibited. When taking pictures, make sure your camera does not have a flashlight on. Always move slowly and carefully when taking pictures.

9) Always respect the allocated observation time of one hour. After this time elapses start your trek back to the starting point. In times when the Mountain Gorillas become agitated or nervous, your guide will end the visit early and start your trek back to the visitors center.

10) Always keep your voice low until you are 200 meters away from the location of the Mountain Gorillas.


Gorilla trekking healthy guidelines and rules

Mountain gorilla share upto 98 % of DNA with humans making them susceptible to human disease. To protect the mountain gorillas from contracting these human diseases, there are set healthy guidelines issued to trekkers which must be adhered to at all costs to ensure their longevity.

1) When you are feeling ill, or have a contagious disease like flue or diarrhea, please volunteer to stay behind. An alternative visit will be arranged for you or you will be refunded your money depending on the reservation guidelines. This is done to protect gorillas from contracting these diseases.

2) When with the gorillas and feel the urge to cough or sneeze, it is advised turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order to minimize the spread of viruses or bacteria.

3) Respect the 7 metres (21 feet) established observing distance at all times when with the gorillas.

4) Incase you need to ease your self while in the forest, it is advised to dig a hole that is at least 1 feet deep. After easing yourself, ensure that the wastes are covered properly.

5) Leave no trace in the forest, carry everything you come with back with you.

Note: Any breach of these rules may lead to the termination of tracking without any refund.

Reserving gorilla trekking permits for 2025 – 2026

Are you looking forward to visiting Uganda, Rwanda, or D. R Congo for a gorilla trekking safari, one of the things you must book in advance is the gorilla trekking permit. Reserving gorilla permits for 2025 early enough will save you from the last minute frustration and failure to get the gorilla permit availability.

Our team of experts can help you reserve your gorilla trekking permit to any gorilla trekking destination in East Africa. It is important to know that gorilla trekking permit prices vary depending on the country you are planning to visit. Rwanda is the most expensive compared to its counter parts of Uganda and D. R Congo.

What to carry for gorilla trekking

When going for a gorilla trekking safari holiday, a good packing list is essential. A number of items can be included in your gorilla trekking packing list however, here are some of the essential items to carry;

  • Energy giving snacks
  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Light Rain jacket
  • A camera
  • Insect repellent
  • Backpack
  • First aid kit
  • Long Trousers

Best time to trek gorillas in Uganda & Rwanda

If you are planning a gorilla trekking holiday to Uganda or Rwanda, the best season is usually the dry season. During the dry season, all the ideal gorilla trekking factors come into play making it the best time to trek gorillas. There are generally two dry seasons in Uganda and Rwanda; the long dry season that lasts between June and September and the short dry season that lasts between December and February.

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