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Gorilla Tracking Information

 

Gorilla tracking is quite possibly the reason why most foreigners decide to visit Uganda. In this country, there are two national parks, which are inhabited by the endangered mountain gorilla – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Impenetrable National Park. As mountain gorillas are a very endangered species, there are certain rules to be followed:

 

  1. 8 visitors per group per day. This ensures, that the amount of stress the group is exposed to due to the intrusion in their environment is kept at a minimum and that the risk of contagion due to human-borne diseases is lowered.

  2. Do not approach closer than the minimum distance of 7 meters / 21 feet from the gorillas. This is to control disease transmission and to not aggravate the animals.

  3. Maximum time with the gorillas is one hour. Another effort to minimise stress caused by the presence of humans. However, it is not guaranteed that you will actually spend an entire hour with the gorillas. Should your guide decide, that it is prudent to cut the visit short, he will do so.

  4. Do not touch! Should it happen that you come to within touching range of a gorilla, do not follow temptation to do so. Always remember that these are wild animals and many times stronger than you.

  5. Do not feed! This applies to any animal living in the wild.

  6. Do not smoke, eat or drink while with the gorillas. Eating or drinking can lead to disease transmission through the dropping of morsels of food or droplets.

  7. No flash photography. The flash of a camera irritates the animals and causes stress.

  8. Do not litter. This should be common sense, but please take extra care in the park.

  9. Keep your voice low. While within hearing range from the gorillas, please to not shout, laugh or raise your voice in any way in order to not stress the animals.

  10. Wash your hands before heading out to track the gorillas.

  11. Do not attempt to track the gorillas if you are feeling ill or know that you have a contagious disease. Gorillas are very susceptible to human diseases, so please respect this rule. Should you forego tracking because of illness, an alternate visit can be arranged for you or a refund of your money will be granted.

  12. If you need to cough or sneeze, turn your head away and cover your mouth and nose to limit the spread of bacteria.

  13. In case a gorilla charges: Do not panik. It is usually just a display of dominance. Crouch down slowly, do not look the animal in the eyes and wait for it to pass. Do not run away, they are way faster than you.

  14. Stay in a tight group.

 

Finding the gorillas can be very quick or can take all day. They are wild animals and roam free, which means it is impossible to predict which group will be where at any given time. So, to be on the safe side, it is good to follow some advice on how to dress and what to carry along:

 

  1. Footwear should be comfortable hiking shoes suitable for wear in a rainforest and on muddy steep slopes.

  2. Be sure to carry rain gear. You are in a rainforest.

  3. Sunscreen and a hat are advisable. Being in a rainforest does not mean that it rains all the time and the equatorial sun can be quite harsh on skins not used to it.

  4. Carry insect repellent. Do not underestimate the nuisance those biting little buggers can cause.

  5. Make sure you have enough drinking water with you and a packed lunch, just in case you do spend the day out there.

  6. Bring a camera. It would be a shame to not be able to share your experience with folks back home.

  7. Binoculars are always good to have on you. The jungle is teeming with a variety of birdlife.

 

If you follow these simple rules and pieces of advice, there should be nothing to hinder your gorilla experience. Still, always remember that there is no 100% guarantee of an actual gorilla sighting. However, cases of them not being spotted are very rare and far in between. Just remember that you are in the wild looking for wild animals. It is not in the hands of humans to determine the actions and movements of animals.

 

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