If you are planning to do gorillas trekking, I am sure you have a lot of questions about the dos and don’ts thinking about going to meet these mammals that are almost extinct, you will feel that these are some of the protected animals in Africa. Definitely there are lots of dos and don’ts, mostly of them will be given to you at the briefing before the tracking but today I discuss some of those things you need to know prior to the tracking mountain gorillas.
Before gorilla trekking:
- The maximum number of 8 tourists will view a given group of habituated mountain gorillas in given day as this minimizes the risk of behavioral changes and exposure to diseases.
- Only people of 16 and above will be allowed to track the gorillas. There are porters to help the elderly and the frail.
- Ensure that you have clean hands as you go in to the gorillas, wash them before if need be.
During gorillas trekking:
- Always keep you voices low to watch out for other forest wildlife and not to scare the gorillas.
- Don’t drop any garbage inside the forest park. Ensure that you carry all the trash you move with like the water bottles.
- You will be led to where the ranger guides last spotted the gorillas the day before. It is from there that you will follow the trail to find the gorillas. The guides will inform you when you approach the gorillas.
When with the gorillas:
- Keep a distance of about 7 meters (21 feet away in all times from the creators. The further you are from them, the more relaxed they are and hence the best experience with them.
- Stay in the company of your group members.
- Lower your voices at all times. But, it is okay to ask the guide questions.
- Kind of obvious, do not eat or smoke near the gorillas as this may result into disease transmission.
- When gorillas become aggressive, you are advised to follow the ranger guides’ example like crouching down slowly, never look directly into the gorillas eyes, stay still as you wait for them to pass that is do not risk to run away as this causes them to attack.
- Do not take photographs with a flash light on. Flash photography is not allowed in the park!
- Do not risk going closer to touch the gorillas. Though habituated, they are still wild.
- The maximum time to spend in the presence of the gorillas is an hour however if they become agitated, the guide will advise to leave earlier, please adhere to this.
- When heading away from the gorillas, maintain the lower voices until you are 200 meters away from the gorillas.
Putting in mind that the gorillas are prone to human related diseases, the following precautions must be put into consideration;
- Respect the limit number of visitor imposed by authority per day as this reduces the chances of disease outspread, hence saving for the future.
- In case of an illness or suffering with a contagious disease like a cold, please endeavor to stay behind and your money will be refunded or an alternative visit will be organized for you.
- In cases where you want to cough or sneeze while close to the gorillas, please you are advised to turn away as you cover your nose and mouth to avoid spreading bacteria or viruses to the gorillas.
- Ensure you are 7 meters (21 feet) away from the gorillas. This will help in preventing them from getting infected with human related diseases.
- In case you feel like using the toilet, talk to the ranger guide and he or she will advise accordingly.
What to come along on Gorilla Safari:
- Wear well to do hiking shoes that will enable you hike up and down the jungle.
- Cover your ears with ear plugs if you are not comfortable with forest sounds but I don’t think it is that scary because you will be in a group and you may also need to listen to instructions.
- Carry packed food and enough drinking water.
- Carry rain gear, sunscreen lotion, a hat (as the weather is unpredictable) and insect repellent.
- You will also need to carry a camera to take photos keeping in mind that flashes turned off.
I wish you a great encounter with the gorillas.