Read carefully the Gorilla Trekking Rules, Regulations and Guidelines if you are going for trekking either in Rwanda, Uganda or DR Congo. You need to read more about the tracking rules for enjoyment and safety reasons.
These Tracking regulations have been carefully developed to try to protect the health and well-being of the mountain gorillas and the safety of visitors. Mountain Gorillas are extremely susceptible to human diseases and infections. They may become strained if visited by so many people, if the visitors move too nearby or behave in ways gorillas find disturbing or threatening. These are wild animals and particularly protective of their young. Please obey all of these rules to the letter …
If a tourist shows signs of sickness, the park staff have the right to deny a visit to see gorillas so as to protect them from acquiring human illnesses. If you are not feeling 100% then please discuss this with your guides. Do not be the person accountable for any probable endemic. If you do sneeze or cough in the vicinity of the gorillas, kindly try to cover your mouth, preferably exclusive in your shirt so as to prevent any disease transmission.
2. Group frequency and size
Each gorilla group can only be visited once per day by 8 endorsed guests for every group. Tourists are eligible to stay around the gorillas for a period of one hour. This is to minimise interactive disturbance and stress. On rare occasions guides may be tempted to bend the rules and take extra people on a trek. Please be sure to make a complaint at the time if you see this happening and report it to park headquarters.
3. Minimum visitor age
Visitors must be at least fifteen years old so as to abate the risk of unveiling the primates to juvenile illnesses like mumps, chickenpox, measles and many more.
Taking Flash photos is not acceptable as it can sadden or scare the gorillas and may provoke an aggressive reaction.
5. Minimum distance
All visitors must remain at least seven metres or 21 feet away from the gorillas. Juveniles regularly come within one or two metres and slowly retreat. The guide’s instructions should be followed at all times. Keep your bag and other items in safer places where young gorillas cannot approach to investigate. These regulations attempt to minimise disease transmission, stress and behavioural disturbance, to reduce the chance of possible aggression towards visitors and to prevent the gorillas becoming too habituated to humans.
Visitors are often keen to break this seven metre rule, being wrapped up in the excitement of the experience, but please be careful not to. If you break the rules, the guides may removal you from the sighting and terminate the trek.
In some cases, guides may take you in nearer to the gorillas to make you happy and possibly get better tips. Please do not attempt this and report to park headquarters of any such behaviour.
Get to know that the forest holds nearly half of the world’s gorilla population and a grave epidemic disease could be calamitous for the species. Don’t allow this to happen.
6. Keep together
Guests should remain in a solid visiting group, without dispersion or surrounding the animals. This consents them plenty of space to go to where they want minus feeling being threatened, a thing that may aggravate a charge.
7. Keep low
where possible, tourists should sit or bend as they watch the gorillas. It can be very threatening to the gorillas if you stand tall and glare, since this mimics their own aggressive behaviours.
8. Keep still
Body language is important and visitors should not put up their hands or arms, point or stare. To gorillas, these behaviors represent aggression.
9. Do not disturb
Trekkers should not cut vegetation near to the gorillas to get a better view as this can bring serious fracas. The guides will clear away any undergrowth if deemed possible and required. If you are at the back of the group of visitors and cannot get a good view, make it known to your guide and he will try to put you at a better point.
10. Don’t run
If a silver back gorilla beats his chest, displays or charges, do not run away. Your guides will be on hand. While a charge may be fear-provoking, the safest thing to do is to remain motionless, keep low and look down. To our understanding, no tourist has ever been attacked by a wild gorilla in this forest.
11. Don’t eat
Eating, drinking and smoking are not permitted within 200 meters of the gorillas as these behaviours can be intriguing and cause problems if they approach to investigate. Food and other remains can be a source of infection.
12. Keep quiet
Visitors should be as noiseless as conceivable and undertone. Never shout, even if you are bitten by safari insect or hurt by enrage. Making lots of noise may cause some gorillas to respond belligerently, but most will modestly walk away.
13. Bury your doings
Please go to the bathroom before you set out. If you need to go to the toilet whilst in the forest, then you need to borrow a blade from the guides and make a 30 cm or 10″ deep hole and then fill it appropriately after that. Human wastes can be greatly transmittable to gorillas and other wild animals.
14. Leave no litter
All trash must be removed from the park and visitors are asked to be principally cautious not to leave behind small items, particularly used tissues, bottles or wipes.