After briefing for the gorilla trekking safari, you must be well dressed for the jungle. Some of the gorilla safari gears you must have include safari boots, long sleeved shirt and trousers, safari foldable hat, garden gloves Check more You are randomly allocated a gorilla family but the criteria used may be quite hard to determine. Sometimes gorilla families in Uganda or Rwanda are allocated according to age brackets, level of fitness, relations and much more. Just have an open mind for you to enjoy the entire experience of searching and finding the mountain gorillas.
As you start the gorilla trekking adventure, only a maximum of 8 tourists are allowed to visit each mountain gorilla family. The number of mountain gorilla visitors is restricted to maximum 8 for conservation reasons. This was set to minimize behavioral disturbance as a huge crowd will anguish the mountain gorillas which may end into them hiding.
Hand sanitise and wear a clean mask and carry a spare clean one a behavior adopted after the covi-19 pandemic to protect mountain gorillas and other primates from catching human communicable infections. Mountain gorillas have about 96% human genes which makes them susceptible to human infections.
Hire a porter in advance for your gorilla trekking safari. Porters help you carry your gorilla safari gears to lift off your shoulder the burden of this load. When you get tired, the porter may give you a push in order to get through to where the mountain gorillas may be spending the day, hiring a porter during gorilla trekking is one of the ways to directly give back to the local community.
Note that in Uganda Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park are the only homes for the mountain gorillas. At the moment Uganda has 19 gorilla families open for gorilla trekking. Uganda also offers gorilla habituation experience in the southern sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Gorilla permits for Uganda are sold and regulated by Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Rwanda has its mountain gorilla habitat in Volcanoes National park in the northwestern part of the country. At the moment 12 gorilla trekking families are fully habituated and opened to public visits but you must secure a gorilla permit from Rwanda Development Board
How To Behave on the way to The Mountain Gorillas During Gorilla Trekking Safari in Uganda and Rwanda
Mountain gorillas are free primates with no restrictions on where not to go in the jungle. The mountain gorillas may relocate but most probably not very far from there previous feeding location.
Each day a team of ranger guides wakes up earlier to patrol where these gorilla families might have nested and establish there possible daytime hangout spot. Some of these clues are what rangers use during the gorilla trek to help find the mountain gorillas.
You need to be cooperative with the ranger guide in order not to delay the trek as being hard headed may lead to arguments that may cause the mountain gorillas to move further in the forest therefore prolonging the gorilla trek.
Help trace for possible mountain gorilla clues like foot prints, look out for freshly fed on foliage, listen to unfamiliar sounds of the primates as this is part of the entire fun and adventure.
Other than the mountain gorillas, by keeping voices low, you open more chances to spot other primates like the black and white colobus, vervet monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys. Keen birders on gorilla trekking adventure get a double opportunity to spot a wide range of birds including Albertine rift endemics.
Mountain gorillas are naturally vegetarian as bamboo of there favorite but can also feed on fruits, soft stems, tubers, leaves and so much more. In order not to alter the nature of the environment where these mountain gorillas and others primates live and feed, you must leave nothing and carry nothing.
This is to keep hygiene in the forest and also prevent animals from exhuming the content as this is awful to these primates.
Besides the mountain gorillas may pick some of the contaminated leaves which may bare infectious germs that may Passover to the mountain gorillas and other forest dwellers. Mountain gorillas are susceptible to human infections like covid-19, cough, flu, cholera and these primates may succumb to these infections.
You need to keep calm when you locate the mountain gorillas so as not to look suspicious while standing before these primates.
This happened to protect exchanging any possible infections with the mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas are highly susceptible to human communicable germs that may cause there massive death. Mountain gorillas have about 96% human genes which brings them closer to getting infections.
Mountain gorillas may be huge but offer an intimidating outlook but they are cowards. The longer you stay with the mountain gorillas, you realize how vulnerable they are. Sometimes you may be pushed to get away from the rest of the group but you need to get back as soon as you realise this so that you are not also lost in the wilderness.
The gorilla safari destinations are huge with thick forest cover where you can be lost in the woods.
Although a lot has been documented about the mountain gorillas, there characteristic also change depending on family and individually. During the gorilla trekking safari, you can dig deep into the life of the mountain gorillas.
In case you wish to eat or smoke, do this atleast 200 meters away from the mountain gorillas to prevent chances of them grabbing it from you.
Sometimes the mountain gorilla aggression may result from a fight from another gorilla family trying to assimilate members from another family. Instead of causing a stampede in the forest, try to stay composed.
Do not stare in the eyes of the mountain gorillas when with them as they are shy animals. Staring at the mountain gorillas may agitate them. Also when mountain gorillas approach wait for them to pass and do not try to run away as this increases the risk of attack. When angry the mountain gorillas may thump hard there chests, pull grass around them and when it escalates walk on one foot. With all this drama, stay calm while with the mountain gorillas.
When you use flash photography, you may cause confusion amongst the gorilla family members.
Sometimes the infants and juveniles may try to curiously approach you and touch your cameras or back pack but try as much as possible to stealthily get away.
In case you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are with the mountain gorillas, turn your head away, cover your nose, mouth with atleast a handkerchief or in your elbow. This is to prevent spreading germs that may cause a communicable infection.
The rules of gorilla safaris need to be taken seriously because mountain gorillas are very sensitive primates that may go into hiding.
Mountain gorillas need to feed on enough foliage that can support there bulky bodies through the day and night. The feeding process of the mountain gorillas may be cut short by human presence. Also human presence disrupts chances for procreation.
So the visit to the mountain gorillas is minimized to one hour which tourists have to utilize to the maximum in order to capture great moment of the mountain gorillas that you turn to as a reminder.
In order not cause any suspicions, even when getting away from the mountain gorillas, lower your voices.
Other Rules Of Gorilla Trekking Safari
When you volunteer to stay behind, an alternative visit may be arranged for you or given a refund as per the gorilla reservation guideline.
Even though mountain gorillas are habituated to human presence in Rwanda or Uganda, conserving them is number one priority. According to the history of the mountain gorilla existence, in 1980s when the population census of these primates was carried out, a population of about 250 mountain gorillas was recorded according the Dian Fossey report.
This brought these mountain gorillas to the list of highly endangered primates in the world and immediately there conservation had to take precedence.