Post Covid-19 gorilla trekking safaris are now ongoing and travellers are allowed to visit and trek the endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, the endangered mountain gorillas stand a high risk of contracting the deadly corona virus. In order to avoid the transmission of covid19 from travellers to the endangered gorillas, responsible conservation bodies in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo had put guidelines for gorilla trekking to ensure safety of the endangered gorillas and travellers but these guidelines have been changing from time to time as the pandemic slowly fades away. In addition to the initial gorilla trekking rules and regulations, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Rwanda Development Board have laid out standard operating procedures to prevent a possibility of covid19 transmission
Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures for gorilla trekking in Africa
All arriving passengers are no longer required to take any tests before or upon arrival in Kigali as well as at Entebbe international airports. However, testing centres are readily available for those who wish to carry out the tests individually.
Wearing of a face mask in public places is no longer mandatory in both countries but highly encouraged.
Visitors visiting to trek mountain gorillas in Rwanda are require to take a PCR test with in 72hrs and specifically in Rwanda before they can be allowed on the trek. For those visiting Uganda (Bwindi Impenetrable Forest/Mgahinga Gorilla Park) this provision is not applicable as Uganda doesn’t ask for any tests before getting on the trek or arriving in the country.
During the actual trek, face masks are not necessary as these may affect your breathing during this rigorous exercise of trekking.
At Gorilla Trek Africa, we provide our travellers with face-masks for those who wish to use them during travel. It’s advisable to change and use fresh masks after a short period of time to avoid any risk. Using a single facemask for a log period of time is highly discouraged.
Other wears for gorilla trekking include: • Hiking boots • Rain gear/jacket • Gardening gloves • Hat • Sun glasses • Scarf • Long sleeved shirts/blouse • Long pants Travellers are also asked to bring insect repellants to prevent bites from mosquitoes and other poisonous forest insects. More so, remember to carry enough bottled drinking water and energy-giving snacks to keep you string through the trek.
Other Standard Operating Procedures for gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo
Besides wearing a facemask, conservation bodies have put standard operating procedures for all travelers visiting to trek gorillas. These are read and explained to travelers during the pre gorilla trekking briefing at the start of the gorilla safari.
- Hand washing: It’s a mandate for everyone visiting gorillas to wash hands with soap and running clean water. The recommended time for hand washing is roughly 20 seconds or more.
- Hand sanitizingis also recommended for all travelers trekking gorillas. Carry your sanitizer to the jungle and sanitize often to keep safe and avoid any risks
- Do not trek when ill. Travelers with any kid of sickness especially the respiratory diseases such as cough and flu and discouraged from visiting the gorillas.
- Keep a 10 meters distance: While with the gorillas, travellers are advised to keep a distance of 10 meters away from the endangered species. This is to avoid close contacts with the gorillas, which can lead to the spread of the deadly disease.
- Turn back your face when coughing. The fact that gorillas easily catch respiratory diseases, travelers are advise to turn back their faces from the gorillas when coughing
- Do not touch gorillas: Touching is one of the easiest ways to spread covid19.
- Do not eat or drink in presence of gorillas. Feeding gorillas is dangerous to the endangered gorillas
- Flashlight cameras are not allowed when taking pictures for mountain gorillas. The flashlight frightens the gorillas forcing them to behave wildly.
The other things to know about gorilla trekking for anyone planning a gorilla safari to Africa, you need some key information before making a final decision on where and when to trek gorillas. The key information you need to know about gorilla trekking include:
Where do gorillas live?
- The endangered mountain gorillas only reside in the jungle forests of Bwindi, Mgahinga, Virunga and Volcanoes National Park. It’s only in these parks that travellers get to meet face to face with the gorillas.
Cost of gorilla trekking:
- How much is a gorilla safari is another common question by future travelers. Well, you need a permit to allow you access these endangered species. Rwanda sells the most expensive gorilla permits at $1500 each. However, Rwanda Development Board is offering discounted gorilla permits to foreign residents in Rwanda $500 for post cvid19 gorilla trekking safaris but this offer ends Dec 31st 2022. In Uganda gorilla permits costs $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents and UGX 250,000 for East African citizens. Uganda wildlife authority also offered post covid19 discounted gorilla permits at $400 for foreign non residents, $300 for foreign residents and UGX 150,000 for East African citizens until June 2021. Crossing over to Congo, each permit costs $450 but it’s worth it.
- Best time for gorilla trekking
- Dry season in June, July, August, September, December, January and February is the best time for gorilla trekking. During this time, there are less or no rains, which ease movement up and down hills in search for the gorillas. However, the high demand for permit during the peak/dry season requires advance booking. Alternatively, you can trek gorillas in low/wet season in March, April, May, October and November when there are fewer visitors and availability of permits is a guarantee even for last minute bookings.
Which gorilla company to book with?
- Gorilla Trek Africa is your number one gorilla safari company to book gorilla trekking tour. We offer guided tailor-made gorilla tours to Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our excellent services have earned as numerous excellent travel advisor reviews being ranked number one gorilla travel agency in Rwanda and the whole of East Africa.
- Age limit for gorilla trekking
- All travelers visiting gorillas should be aged 15 years and above. Anyone below 15 years is not allowed to take part in this lifetime experience. However, if a child has few days to celebrate his/her 15th birthday, his/her parents can sign a consent letter to UWA or RDB seeking permission to allow the child trek gorillas. The parent takes full responsibility for whatever happens to a child during gorilla trek. Conclusively, mountain gorillas stand high risks of contracting corona virus. Travelers are advised to follow the standard Operating procedures and guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus to these endangered species. This will help to promote sustainable gorilla safaris in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.