Gorilla trekking in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a life changing experience and the most sought after by most trekkers. A sight at the giant ape that shares about 98% of their DNA with humans is a memorable experience that you shouldn’t miss out in your life. The Virunga National Park is among the only 4 national parks in Africa and world at large where the rare mountain gorillas are protected. Whereas gorilla safaris are popular in Rwanda and Uganda, tracking mountain gorillas in the jungles of Virunga National Park, DR Congo equally rewards the efforts. Besides the critically endangered mountain gorillas, Congo is also popular for fascinating Eastern Lowland gorillas that are inhabited in Kahuzi Biega National Park. However, DR Congo is still recovering from insecurity.
Below are some of the rules and regulations in Virunga National Park
A maximum of eight (8) tourists are allowed per gorilla group each day. This is intended to reduce the behavioral disturbance to these endangered species as well as the risk of their exposure to human infectious diseases.
You are advised to always wash your hands before going to mountain gorillas
While on your way to trek a gorilla family, make sure that you maintain silence at all time but this doesn’t mean that you don’t ask question, feel free to ask any questions to enable you get the best out your safari and also catch a glimpse of other forest species like birds and primates.
Don’t leave any rubbish in the park. Make sure that you return everything that you came with to the visitor center where dustbins are found.
You will be required to keep a distance of about 7 to 8 meters at all times away from these primates.
Stay tight to your group when you are around the gorillas.
Do not smoke, drink/eat when you next to mountain gorilla. Eating/drinking in the gorilla habitat may cause some food particles to drop which in turn may claim the lives of these endangered species.
If the gorilla charges against you, you are required to stand still and make sure that you avoid contact with the ape, don’t try running away since this will increase the irritation.
If your camera has a flashlight, you are advised to turn off the flashlight when taking photos of these impressive creatures
Only one (1) hour is allowed for visitors to have a face to face encounter with mountain gorillas in the wilderness
Only people above 15 years are permitted to track a gorilla group
Do not touch a gorilla.
Always wear your gorilla trekking masks while in the forest. The masks will be given to you at the station where you will depart.
If you have flue, diarrhea, cough you may not be allowed to go for gorilla trekking. Mountain gorillas share about 98% of their DNA with humans. This means that they are most susceptible for human infectious. In case you cough, you are advised to cover your mouth.
In conclusion, gorilla trekking rules and regulations listed above are helpful for anyone who is planning for his or her safaris in DRC. They are guidelines to be followed while enjoying your time with the great primates in their natural habitat. Following these rules helps in protecting the apes from risk of human disease spread which may claim their lives.