Despite the many hours spent before meeting gorillas, travelers visiting to see mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are allowed to strictly spend an hour with the gorillas. Many people especially potential travelers have always wondered why the responsible government would only allow travelers to only spend an hour with gorillas! This question of why only spend an hour with gorillas is one of the frequently asked questions about gorilla trekking Gorilla trek Africa brings you details as to why gorilla trekking is limited to an hour. The trekking time to spend in the jungle before meeting mountain gorillas in uncertain. Travelers can spend between 30 minutes to 8 hours to meet gorillas in both gorilla national parks. The gorilla trekking time depends on the location of gorillas, traveler’s physical fitness and the speed of moments or gorillas. One hour of gorilla trekking also applies to the eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park Congo. Mountain gorilla families living in low altitude areas are easy to find compared to those in higher altitude areas. Within an hour, travelers are expected to observe the behaviors of gorillas, learn their lifestyles, take pictures, capture live videos and enjoy this magical encounter with their close relatives. Among the reasons why gorilla trekking is restricted for an hour include among others:
Mountain gorillas are endangered species
There are roughly 1006 mountain gorillas surviving in the whole world. These gorillas only live in the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest/Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. it’s only these forests that travelers can see mountain gorillas in the whole world. Uganda is home to half of the world’s gorillas. The endangered nature of mountain gorillas is due to their close relativity with human beings sharing over 98% of human genes. This makes them susceptible to human communicable diseases especially flue, cold and cough. For this matter, UWA and RDB restrict time to spend with gorillas to an hour to reduce the time travelers spend with the rare mountain gorillas.
Need For Conservation
The fact that gorillas are endangered species, governments restrict trekking time to an hour for conservation purposes. Gorillas need free time to be alone in their natural habitat with no people around them. A crowd of people around gorillas causes discomfort and tress to gorillas which is against conservation measures.
To allow gorillas do their routine work in peace
Gorillas live in families and have daily routine work just like in a human family. A gorilla family comprises of between 9 to 35 members each of whom has a different role to play in the family. An hour o trekking is, therefore, to enable and give gorillas enough time to perform their tasks with no disruption. Adult females will feel shy to breastfeed their babies in the presence of visitors and so other gorilla family members. The daily routine of gorillas involves waking up early at 6:00am, to leave for another destination. The day involves feeding, playing and social interaction as a family. When it comes to evening, gorillas build a fresh nest to spend a night.
How can I spend more time with gorillas
Travelers who want to spend extended time with the endangered mountain gorillas have a chance to take part in the experimental mountain gorilla habituation experience. Done in Rushaga sector south of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park, gorilla habituation experience is an hour’s interaction with gorillas. Travelers almost spend a full day in the jungle with gorillas. The four hours in the company of a gorilla family is a magical experience to learn observe and enjoy the lifestyles of mountain gorillas in the jungle. The experience is all about training wild gorillas to make them with human presence before they are declared free for trekking. In other words, gorilla habituation experience is the pre gorilla trekking experience. Travelers join a team of gorilla doctors, researchers, and conservationists training gorillas. The whole experience takes between 2 to 3 years and its done every day with or without visitors. Unlike in gorilla trekking which comprises of 8 travelers visiting a gorilla family, the number of travelers in gorilla habituation experience. Endeavor to buy a gorilla habituation permit costing $1500 each but the experience is worth it.
Rules and regulations of gorilla trekking
Besides spending an hour with gorillas, there are other gorilla trekking do’s and don’ts travelers must follow. The rules and regulations of gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo include:
- Keep a distance of seven meters away from gorillas
- Do not use a flashlight camera
- Avoid direct eye contact with gorillas
- Do not trek when ick
- Do not run when a gorilla charges
- Keep within your group
- Do not litter in the park
- Keep your voices low
- Carry your valid gorilla permit
When an hour with mountain gorillas comes, be keen, stay calm, keep a distance and utilize this magical time with the endangered gorillas to avoid the risk of wasting any second when with the gorillas