Mountain gorilla tracking is an adventurous activity loved by many and a must do activity for adventure tourists. Mountain gorillas are great apes in fact the largest of the apes family that live in the forested mountainous areas of southwestern Uganda, northwestern Rwanda and southeastern DRC which are the only places on the planet where mountain gorillas can be viewed by tourists are they relax in their natural habitants. This incredible encounter can be very enjoyable and much more exciting but lets look at how tourists can ensure their safety while the national parks as well as that of the greatly endangered mountain gorillas.
Not Straying A Way From The Tracking Groups
Mountain gorillas in habit national parks that act as homes to a number of wildlife and therefore while on a mountain gorilla hike, tourists are expected to keep in their tracking groups to avoid getting a stray which may not be safe at all in the national park. Keeping in your tracking also gives one an opportunity to discover more about the diverse ecosystems because the groups are led by guides who usually take about the major wildlife species encountered.
While facing the gorillas, tourists are expected to minimize noise in order not to give a wrong impression to the mountain gorillas. They are very sensitive mammals that can be provoked and distracted by noise. While encountering the gorillas tourists are strictly not allowed to use flash photography because it can be provoking and trigger gorillas to attack the tourists.
Keeping A Reasonable Distance From The Gorillas
Mountain gorillas are some of the closest wild animals to humans but much as they are it might be not be safe to get close to them because they are wild animals and the human instinct in them makes them very sensitive to people getting too close to them yet they are seeing them for the first time. A 7 meters distance is usually recommended however important to note is that this is good for both the gorillas and humans as well because keeping this distance reduces the chances of disease spreading.
Not Tracking When Sick
As earlier mentioned, mountain gorillas have 98%DNA similar to humans which makes them prone to human diseases. Tourists who are sick are therefore not allowed to track and if you feel unwell do not go tracking to ensure the well being of the mountain gorillas. Research has proved that many mountain gorillas have been lost to diseases that are human related.
Avoiding Littering While In The Forest
It’s not good to litter while on a mountain gorilla hike because mountain gorillas are always on the move and easily land on contaminated litter, which can easily make them get sick.
Generally speaking, mountain gorilla tracking is very safe for both the tourists and the gorillas if tourists endeavor to follow the guide’s instructions.
Mountain gorilla safaris can be carried out at any time of the year but can be experienced during the dry season when it’s easy to move/hike through the forested mountains. Due to the long insecurities in DRC, mountain gorilla tracking is safer in Rwanda (volcanoes national park) which has 10 habituated gorilla families and in Uganda (Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga gorilla national parks) that have 11 and 1 habituated mountain gorillas families respectively.
Tourists interested in this great adventure can go gorilla tracking in either Rwanda or Uganda by acquiring tracking permit, which is sold at $750 in Rwanda and $600 in Uganda. Important to note is that the Ugandan permits are sold at $400 during the low tourist season.