What everyone needs to know about
General Rules and Regulations for Gorilla trekking
As you make your Gorilla trekking plans to Uganda plan when you know the following rules and regulations about the magical activity as set by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. It is very important that all trekkers familiarize with the following;
- You must always follow the instructions of your guide, note that your guide has been in contact with the gorillas and he understands everything very well.
- Please before you head out into the jungle to meet the apes, make sure you wash your hands always.
- It is always a maximum of 8 people that are allowed to trek a specific gorilla group per day, this helps to avoid behavioral disorders in these animals, at the same time it reduces on the air –borne diseases from the humans.
- Do not use the flash while photographing the giant apes.
- Do not make unnecessary movements while in the presence of the gorillas.
- You should always go for gorilla trekking when you are in very good health. Only healthy people will be allowed to trek. Additionally, one should be physically fit to trek because the activity involves long hiking with in steeply slopes taking many hours due to the movements of the gorillas.
- Do not leave any rubbish in the jungle make sure you carry your own litter back with you.
- Please avoid eating, drinking or smoking in the presence of the Gorillas. You may eat if you carry food but not within the 200 meters of the Gorillas, smoking should not be done at all.
- Avoid destroying the park’s vegetation unnecessarily this flora and fauna is strictly protected.
- Each and every Gorilla family is supposed to be visited only once a day during the morning hours.
- You will only be permitted one hour with the Gorillas but if the group of the gorillas becomes a bit restless and disturbed, the guide may decide to end the visit early.
- While trekking, avoid making noise in the jungle because you will even miss so much more if you make noise, the birds may fly away.
- Make sure you do not touch the Gorillas even if they approach you avoid touches because these are wild animals.
- Children under the age of 15 years are not allowed to go for Gorilla trekking.
- You must always keep around your group, do not make extra movements in the jungle follow the guide’s instructions.
- Keep a 7 meter distance while you are with the Gorillas, the more one keeps far away from the gorillas the more these animals will be relaxed for good photos. Please always try to keep a minimum of 7 meters away from the gorillas if you encounter them.
- After your visit you should always keep your voices low until you are far away from the group.
What you need to have on a Gorilla safari.
- Make sure you carry your packed lunch and drinking water because sometimes it is strenuous to trek.
- Carry a nice photo camera but avoid using the flashlights while capturing the giant apes. Films of 400 to 800 ASA are recommended.
- Make sure you put on comfortable safari hiking shoes just to cater to the steep and muddy slopes in the forest.
- For those with jungle sound problems, you can carry your ear plugs just to feel comfortable while trekking.
- Carry sunscreen lotions, insect repellents, a rain coat because rainfall is unpredictable you may trek with rain over head, you may also carry a hat to protect your head while in jungle.
Gorilla Health Rules.
Following the fact that Gorillas share 98% humans DNA, it is proof that Gorillas are prone to Humans diseases. It is therefore important to follow the following health rules just to make sure you minimize on the risks of negatively attacking the Gorillas’ health.
- Do not litter rubbish from your food stuffs into the Gorillas’ home the jungle please pack everything you came with and go back with it.
- Do not go beyond the number of the people that are supposed to visit the group. Only 8 people are the maximum to visit a group. The less people help to reduce on the diseases transmitted to the gorillas.
- In cases where a visitor needs a long call you can just ask the guide to dig a deep hole with his tool and then use it , afterwards fill it up very well.
- Maintain the distance of 7 meters from the gorillas just to avoid disease transmissions.
- If you feel unhealthy, just volunteer to stay behind and a refund will be arranged for you.
- In case you feel like coughing or sneezing in the Gorillas’ presence, turn your head and ease yourself a distance away from the gorillas.
Rwanda: An increase on the Gorilla permit tariffs
The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) on the 6th of May 2017 in Kigali announced the increase of the prices of the gorilla permits from 750 USD to 1,500 USD applying to all the visitors immediately without any delay. There is also a freshly introduced Gorilla package which is exclusive and it allows booking the entire family of the Gorillas at a price of 15,000 USD and it includes special personalized tour guide services. It should however be noted that this price increase shall not in any way affect those who already purchased their permits at the time of this announcement.
All the tourists that will visit other National Parks in Rwanda, say Nyungwe and Akagera for a minimum of three days in addition to gorilla trekking will receive a discounted permit of 30%. In the same way conference tourists, those who stay pre or post conference dates just to trek the Gorillas will be entitled to a 15% discount. This price increase was highly aimed at the need to strengthen the conservation efforts and contribute more to the development of the local communities living around the Volcanoes National Park, the home of the Gorillas just falling in the same line with the Rwanda’s high-end tourism strategy.
Along with the new tariffs, the tourism revenue sharing rate for communities neighboring the park, will also increase from 5% to 10%, which will multiply the absolute revenues received by the local communities. Over the last 12 years, more than 400 community projects have been completed including hospitals, schools, water supply systems to facilitate clean water and business development centers. These are all good projects and they directly benefit people living adjacent to the National Park.
In her own words Ms. Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Executive Officer at Rwanda Development Board (RDB) said.
“Gorilla trekking is a highly unique experience. We have raised the price of permits in order to ensure sustainability of conservation initiatives and enhance visitors’ experience. We also want to make sure that the communities living near the park area receive a bigger share of tourism revenues to fund development projects and empower them economically.”
Additionally, fresh high-end lodges are opening in Musanze area and all plans are ongoing just to improve the visitor experiences in Kinigi, improvements include renovation of the information center to equip it with modern offices and tourism services such as conservation education, children’s learning space as well as digital facilities.
Mountain gorillas (gorilla beringei beringei) are an endangered and scarce species with only around 880 remaining in the whole world. Of those in the Virunga Massif, Rwanda accounts for 62% of the gorilla population. Strict conservation measures have significantly contributed to a rise in gorilla numbers. There are currently 20 families habituated for tourism and research in Rwanda, up from just 9 families in the year 2010.
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Uganda: Discounted Rates on the permits in April, May and November
- UGX 150,000 per permit for only East African Citizens.
- $450 per permit for only Non Foreign Residents.
- $400 per permit for only Foreign Residents.
- UGX 100,000 per permit for only East African Citizens.
- $ 100 per permit for only Foreign Residents.
- $ 100 per permit for Non Foreign Residents.
Best time to go Gorilla trekking.
It is very important to know that tourism in Uganda runs on two seasons that’s dry and wet seasons. These seasons drop down to what we call the tourism high and low seasons as well. In a High season, Uganda expects more travelers and that’s when most prices on tours rise, for example the Gorilla permits rise but later reduce in the low season.
The High season exerts a lot of pressure on Gorilla trekking permits which requires a visitor to book a Gorilla permit in advance or else they miss out. It is still advisable to know that December is the busiest month of the year in Uganda because during Christmas season that’s when the Ugandans have Holidays and vacations into the wild places especially National Parks. It is therefore advisable to book your accommodation in time to avoid inconveniences.
The low season happens during the months of April, May and November (Wet season) these periods of time experience high rainfall and some lodges and camps tend to close down; forest trails and roads are really in bad condition during this season. The sceneries of the Savannah becomes greener animals enjoy their time grazing because it is a low season and there are lower rates on things.
The best of the best wildlife visiting in Uganda are the dry seasons and these seasons are there during the months of June to Mid-September and during December to February. Mountain Gorilla trekking is a crucial part of any safari one can do in Uganda. All the rainforest habitats are by default so wet that rain cannot be completely avoided.
One should therefore mark the months of June to Mid-September and December to February (the dry seasons) as the best times to go for Gorilla trekking simply because these are the drier months of the country. During this time the skies are clear with less rains and more of bright sunshine. On the side of other wildlife, the Savannah reserves and vegetation are less and animals tend to gather around the water areas just to drink making it simple to view several animals.
The best weather is during the periods of June to July and January to February (Less or no rainfall) whereas the worst weather is during the periods of March, April and May (top of the wet season).
During the low season, it is still very fine for you to visit Uganda since it is even cheaper because the Gorilla Permit is reduced from $600 to $450. This is one way of encouraging visitor to come even when it’s a rainy season. Lodges and camps tend to reduce their prices during this season just to attract people to book them.
Visiting in Low season is still fun because you will have to enjoy the jungle with relatively low crowds of people, lodges are not that full so it’s all your zone. It may be called a rainy and low season but it does not mean that people do not travel completely; people travel very well but the number reduces as compared to the High season. And this low season is combined by both the rain and the sunshine and once a gorilla permit is booked on a rainy day you still have to go on and move with the schedule because there are no changes and no re-scheduling on Gorilla permits no matter what it takes. After all some people enjoy Gorilla trekking with rain overhead.
Weather forecast in the Gorilla Tracking Region