Congo Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations
Congo Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations are the rules and guidelines put in place for travellers to follow so as to protect and conserve the gorillas and their natural habitat for future generations. Planning to visit the Congo for Congo gorilla safaris? Then among other aspects to consider and acquaint yourself with is the Congo gorilla trekking rules and regulations that you are to follow while on a gorilla trekking safari in the Congo to encounter any of the gorilla taxa in the country say the endangered mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park and the eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park.
Gorillas are near humans for they share up to 98% DNA with humans, thereby making them susceptible to almost all infections and illnesses that do affect humans. Also, gorillas do have feelings just like humans, and therefore get stressed, angered, happy, sad, and more. Travellers do visit only the fully habituated gorillas in the Congo, the wild gorillas are not trekked. Gorilla habituation is the process of initiating and having the gorillas acquainted with humans and allow human interaction for a while. Gorilla habituation process can take up to 2 years, depending on the gorilla family.
Given that the gorillas are wild animals though habituated to allow human interaction; are susceptible to human infections and as well do have feelings just like humans, rules and regulations were put in place to protect both the traveller and the gorillas, as well as conserve the host areas of the gorillas for future generations, the following Congo gorilla trekking rules and regulations were put in place;
- Only persons that are 15 years and above are allowed to visit the gorillas. This is in place to prevent the spread of childhood killer diseases like mumps, measles, and the like.
- Sick travellers are not allowed to take part in gorilla trekking. If on the day you are to do gorilla trekking you wake up with a cold or any infectious disease, you are not to take part in the activity. This is to protect the gorillas from catching whatever illness you may have given that they are very susceptible to human illnesses.
- Only 8 people per day can visit per gorilla family. This is done to minimise behavioural disturbances, stress and any risk of infection spread.
- Travellers are to spend a maximum of only hour with the gorillas once encountered. This is also in a bid to prevent behavioural disturbances, stress and also risk of catching infections.
- Maintain a 7 meter distance away from the gorillas at all times. If in any case some curious gorillas do approach you, do try to retreat to a reasonable distance. If however you cannot retreat, then stay put and follow your guide’s instructions.
- Do not use flash photography while with the gorillas. This is because the flashes do frighten the gorillas which may provoke aggressive behaviour.
- Always stay within your group, do not spread out or surround the gorillas. This leaves the gorillas with enough space to move about and not feel threatened.
- Do not make noise and any unnecessary movement when with the gorillas. Gorillas do have their own form of communication and your sound and gestures may be misinterpreted by them and then act accordingly.
- When a gorilla especially a silverback thumps its chest or charges at you, do not move or run; instead pay attention to your guide’s instructions.
- Do not eat or drink near the gorillas, this should be done at least 200 meters away from the gorillas.
- If you may need to cough or sneeze, do turn away from the gorillas and cover your mouth with your elbows. This prevents the spread of any bacteria that you may unknowingly be carrying.
- Do not smoke in the park. This could result into the park catching fire and then destroying the habitat of the gorillas.
- Do not cut or clear the bush just to get a clear view of the gorillas. The guides shall do that for you, if they deem it really necessary.
- Should you need to use the toilet, ask your guide to help you dig out a hole for you. After use, make sure to cover the hole properly that the gorillas and other park wildlife cannot open it. Faecal matter can be a source of infections to the gorillas and other wildlife in the park.
- Do not litter in the park. Make sure to carry all your rubbish, including food wraps, back to the park headquarters and damp them in the rubbish.
Congo gorilla trekking rules and regulations should be followed at all times, by travellers on a Congo gorilla safari in either Virunga National Park or Kahuzi Biega National Park. to take part in Congo gorilla trekking, you need to book a gorilla trekking permit which costs only USD400 per person per trek, and usually USD200 during the off peak season. You can get the Congo gorilla trekking permit from Virunga National Park or Kahuzi Biega National Park, or have your tour operator book it for you. Congo gorilla safaris can be done all throughout the year, just check your calendar and decide when you would like to take up one of our available Congo safari packages.
Congo gorilla safaris are the most sought after in the Congo, usually coupled by hiking the Nyiragongo Mountain and visiting Tchegera Island. Reach out to your preferred but knowledgeable and experienced tour operator to have you put together one of the most memorable Congo gorilla safari packages, or check out any of those we have here. While in the parks enjoying gorilla safaris, be sure to remember to adhere to the Congo gorilla trekking rules and regulations.