Gorilla Trekking – Dos & Don’ts
Gorilla Trekking is one of the top wildlife adventures you can overtake in Africa. However, since the advent of gorilla tourism, strict rules have been put in place to ensure that mountain gorillas are protected well. That is why within all the destinations where tourists go for gorilla trekking, there are various precautions that one should put into consideration. These rules and regulations are strictly followed so that both tourists and mountain gorillas are protected as well ensuring smooth running of the gorilla trekking activity. So the following should be put into consideration;
- Protect the gorillas – if you are sick or have any infectious diseases, don’t go. If you don’t feel well you need to sit this one out to safeguard the well-being of these endangered animals.
- Remember your manners – if you cough or sneeze turn away and cover your nose and mouth to reduce the chances of transmitting bacteria or viruses to the primates.
- Don’t overstay your welcome – expect to spend only the allotted one hour with the gorillas, departing when the time is up.
- Keep your distance – stay at least 5-7 meters (21 feet) away from the gorillas, not because they are dangerous but because they are wild and we can transmit diseases to them.
- Behave yourself – keep the noise levels down (from within 200m), don’t point and don’t use your flash when taking photographs.
- Go prepared – take warm and waterproof gear for the cool mountain conditions in these often wet forests and wear comfortable walking shoes.
- No snacking and smoking – you are not allowed to eat and drink or smoke around the gorillas.
- Clean up – wash your hands before going gorilla trekking.
- Keep your hands to yourself – You may not touch the gorillas even if they come close to you as these curious apes sometimes do.
- Hang onto your trash – don’t litter.
- Remain calm – if a gorilla charges, do not run away. Crouch down slowly and avoid direct eye contact, until the gorilla moves off.
- Toilet etiquette – if you need to go then ask your guide to dig a hole in the forest and make sure it gets covered up afterwards.
- So having put the above precautions into consideration, you should now strive to get the best out of your gorilla trekking activity. Here are some of the tips to register the best memorable experience.
- Keep yourself covered – long pants, gaiters and socks help keep the bugs (red ants) at bay and gloves will protect you from stinging nettles and thorny branches.
- Get reasonably fit – the trek is usually a physically challenging and tiring mission through rough terrain, so you want to be relatively fit.
- Be equipped – carry enough water, waterproof bags for your camera and insect repellent as well sunscreen and a hat.
- Stay warm and dry – take warm and rainproof clothing with you to cope with the cold conditions up in the mountains.
- Join an organized gorilla trip – book through a tour company to simplify your travels and get the gorilla permits arranged for you beforehand.
- Choose your timing – try to avoid trekking in the rainy season (March to April and October to November) when the going gets tougher.
So I bet that when you happen to put the above into consideration, you will have your life time experience.