Disqualifying any one from his or long awaited Africa Safari is disappointing but during gorilla trekking this can happen. Many people save their hard earned money to have that moment with the mountain gorillas but it hurts to be bounced off the tourist list for the day.
Despite allowing tourists to be in the vicinity of the endangered mountain gorillas that only live in three African countries that is Rwanda, Uganda and D.R. Congo, conservation takes precedence. By the 1980s. the population of the mountain gorillas was sliding down the gutters with about 250 mountain gorillas living then in the world. Human activities like setting snares, poaching for trophies claimed the lives of these gentle giants.
A number of factors can be based on to disqualify a tourist from attending gorilla trekking Some reasons for not allowing you to do gorilla trekking tour include
Not having a gorilla permits
Falling sick before or during gorilla trekking
Not attending gorilla trekking briefing
Being under Age before gorilla trekking
Presenting An Invalid Gorilla Permit
Feeding the mountain gorillas
Provoking the mountain gorillas
Pausing unlawful Items During gorilla trekking
Getting a severe Injury During Gorilla Trekking
The entry ticket to gorilla trekking tours is the permit whether trekking in Uganda, Rwanda or D.R.Congo. Every day, a maximum of 8 gorilla permits per family per trek per day are opened for the public to book.
In Uganda the Uganda Wildlife Authority is responsible for regulating gorilla trekking activities, In Rwanda the Rwanda Development Board, and In D.R.Congo the Institute Congolais Pour La conservation (ICCN) and Virunga Foundation for mountain gorillas..
You have to present your gorilla permit or card so that you are cleared during briefing to attend gorilla trekking tour.
Despite the overwhelming demand to book the gorilla permits worldwide, the need to regulate visitors that can overwhelm the forest is key. Mountain gorillas are vegetarians so there food must be respected and not trampled on
One need to book a Gorilla permits way in advance atleast 3 months prior to avoid panic on the last day. No one is allowed to be part of the gorilla trekking team without a permit even if they have money.
The current cost of a uganda gorilla permit is $ 700 per person per trek taking you to Bwindi impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park. The Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500 per person per trek taking you to Volcanoes National Park. the D.R. Congo gorilla permit costs $450 per person per trek taking you to Virunga National Park.
Falling Sick Before Or During Gorilla Trekking
Contracting a communicable infection days before gorilla trekking or during gorilla trekking, you must have proof of negative results 72 hours prior to starting the trek using world renowned tests like PCR for Covid-19.
Mountain gorillas are susceptible to human infections like Corona, Flue to mention but a few. You are requested to volunteer and stay behind in case you get signs and symptoms of such pandemics. Take the full dose and carry a certificate to back this up.
When you report to the responsible body about your infection before starting the trek and back it up with evidence, the gorilla permit refund is applied according to terms and conditions.
Mountain Gorillas are highly susceptible to human infections and no gap must be left to allow such pandemics to lead to there massive deaths.
Not Attending Gorilla Trekking Briefing
Absconding from briefing before gorilla trekking is top reason for not allowing you to do gorilla trekking. A lot of changes in the mountain gorillas behavior are not documented yet they happen in the forest that is why a group of rangers rises earlier than anyone of patrol and establish the condition in the forest per gorilla family.
They present their report to the head ranger who disseminates the information to the ranger guides who are escorting tourists on the gorilla trekking tour. Sometimes the mountain gorilla moods are exciting or somber depending on whats happening.
Having prior knowledge of what to expect when you meet the gorilla family selected for you helps you enjoy the entire experience and not offend the mountain gorillas.
Being Under Age Before Gorilla Trekking
The age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 year by the time of attending the gorilla trekking. This is because of the sensitivity of the mountain gorillas that tease at times which may not go well with child below this age.
The nature of the terrain where mountain gorillas spend most of the day is steep and slippery. Even time take to locate the gorillas is unknown which may last from 2 hours to over three quarters of the day.
A child below 15 years may not withstand such difficulties and may delay the entire group or fail to complete the gorilla trekking expedition. This may frustrate the rest of the group and create some unrest in the forest amongst the members.
For such reasons, even if you have a gorilla permits already book, chances of disqualifying you are high.
Presenting An Invalid Gorilla Permit
Gorilla permits are sold per day and expire after the day they are scheduled to be used. For any reason if you miss gorilla trekking as per the day you are booked to be with the mountain gorillas, the ticket is deemed expired. You have no reason to present it later to claim that you are to be part of the gorilla trekking party unless there is a standing reason presented to the Authorities in advance.
Chances of rescheduling the booked gorilla trekking dates are available but terms and conditions apply. This may call for a surcharge at times and duration for rescheduling gorilla permits to has a limit. The dates to rescheduled the gorilla permits to as per your wish must have gorilla permit availability.
Presenting a gorilla permit with an upfront gorilla trekking date also disqualify you from participating on a particular day. Gorilla permits are booked according to numbers per family considering 8 as the maximum. Adding another person who is not booked for the day is disorganizing and overwhelming.
Chances of being left out even if your gorilla permit is still valid but for the future date are high.
Feeding The Mountain Gorillas
Mountain gorillas are wild so no feeding them as by the standing rules of gorilla trekking. They must look for the day’s meal and not depend on human provision not even for once.
They may look wanting at times but never eat before the mountain gorillas as a rule to avoid circumstances like them grabbing what you are eating.
The things you eat may not go well with the health of the mountain gorillas leading to there death. Not even a single gorilla must die from being careless. All humans must practice responsible travel to give gorillas a chance to rebuild there numbers.
So far the total population of world mountain gorillas is over 1000 and thanks to conservation this population is increasing with time.
Its possible to stop you from gorilla trekking if you feed the gorillas or even other primates in the wilderness.
Presenting A Gorilla Trekking Permit For Another Area or Country
Mistakes are possible but presenting a gorilla permit for another area especially in Uganda where the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Permits are booked per area may cause you to miss gorilla trekking.
Overnighting in another area of Bwindi forest yet the gorilla permit is booked somewhere else is one of the causes of such mistakes. Do not secure accommodation before knowing where your gorilla permit is booked. You have to pay attention to details in uganda so that you don’t have to wake up in the night to drive and catch up with briefing in another area.
In Rwanda, gorilla trekking permits are booked according to family so when you present your permit, you are directed which group to follow. Its quite easier here.
Although Rwanda, Uganda and D.R. Congo share the Virunga area where gorilla trekking happens, presenting a permit from one country in another country is an abomination. The permit may be valid but its for a wrong country.
In Rwanda gorilla trekking happens in Volcanoes National park, Uganda in Bwindi Impenetrable National park, In D.R. Congo gorilla trekking is in Virunga National park.
Provoking the mountain gorillas
Provoking the mountain gorillas agitates them so never do it. In case the ranger guide notices that you are trying to irritate the mountain gorillas, he or she may disqualify you from completing one hours with the mountain gorillas.
Such behavior aggravates the mountain gorillas and although they are serene, they react aggressively and walk away into deeper ends of the park. Remember the entire group of maximum 8 tourists have paid for this experience with the mountain gorillas. These actions may agitate the gorillas and cause them to dash for the forest.
Maintaining discipline as advised during briefing at the ranger station is key in spending that recommended hour infront of the mountain gorillas. It’s a once in a lifetime experience done nowhere else in the world.
Possessing unlawful Items During gorilla trekking
Carrying unlawful items during gorilla trekking is prohibited. You must declare reasons why you carry such items. Some of the items that may cause trouble during gorilla trekking include fire arms, drugs, military camouflage wear, and so much more.
These are prohibited by the government Authorities too so once you carry them and noted to possess them, you are not allowed to carry on with the trek
Getting severe Injury During Gorilla Trekking
An accident is un expected injury but if you are over hurt and cannot walk, you are disqualified from continuing with the trek. During gorilla trekking the leading ranger guide has to first establish the depth of the boggy ground before you are allowed to walk over it.
In case you get an accident and cannot carry on with gorilla trekking, the ranger guide has to call for rescue team to repatriate you to the headquarters. This is a rare occurrence but cannot be ruled out.
You cannot enjoy gorilla trekking with a terrible injury and this uncomfortable behavior may affect the way mountain gorillas perceive the group.
What Are The Rules Of Gorilla Trekking To follow
Keep a distance of about 8 meters from the gorillas when you meet them
Do not dump garbage in the wilderness during gorilla trekking.
Stay close to your gorilla trekking party when you locate the gorillas and do not surround them
Ask the ranger guide to dig a hole for you to defecate incase its inevitable and cover everything beyond recognition.
Never smoke or chew while infront of the mountain gorillas.
Do not provoke the mountain gorillas
Volunteer to stay behind if you catch any infectious disease like flue, Covid-19 and more.
What accommodations to book for gorilla trekking
A wide range of accommodation facilities are available for you to book according to your budget. They range from Luxury accommodations, Mid-range accommodation or Budget accommodations.
Each country has different accommodations but staying close or with the parks where your gorilla permit is booked is very clever.
Gorilla trekking accommodations in Rwanda include Sabyinyo Silverback lodge, Kinigi Guest house, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Hotel Mille Collins to mention but a few
Uganda Gorilla trekking accommodation include Silverback Lodge, Mahogany Springs, Lake Kitandara Tented Camp, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp, Buhoma Lodge, Bwindi View Bandas and so many others.
What Is The Best Time To Book Gorilla Trekking Safari In Africa
The drier months that is June to September or December to mid-January are more comfortable even the ground is less soggy, receives moderate humid conditions and more active in the park amongst other primates plus birds.
For the severe rainy seasons that is March to May and November, the rains falls without warning, receives less sun ray penetration causing water logging in the forest. You must wear safari boots that can withstand such conditions.
The gorilla feed from the slopes during wet seasons because the ground is somehow unbearable for them.