Gorilla Trekking Eligibility

Gorilla trekking eligibility: While you might want to trek gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda, there are some conditions which must be specifically met for you to be able to undertake gorilla trekking. These gorilla trekking eligibility factors go beyond the normal visitor legibility checks of entry visas, criminal activity, and the like – that apply to any other park or activity.

There are cases of people coming to Uganda or Rwanda and not being able to see gorillas because of these eligibility factors. This is why it is important for us to share this information with you so that you can understand what is required of you before you can undertake gorilla trekking.

All our clients have been able to enjoy hassle-free gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda because we work closely with them to make sure that the tour runs as smoothly as expected.

This information applies to Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo – the only three countries in the world where you can see mountain gorillas in the wild.

Gorilla Trekking Eligibility

Age Restrictions

What is the minimum age for gorilla trekking? The minimum age for trekking gorillas is 15 years. This age limit applies to gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The reason for the age restrictions is that children can more easily transmit human illnesses to gorillas than adults do. And since we share more than 97% of our genetic markup, gorillas easily catch human diseases.

The other reason lies in how hard it is to predict or direct a child’s reaction after seeing a gorilla. A reaction like excited screaming could create a situation where the mountain gorillas think something is wrong and thus become violent.

Park authorities strictly enforce this rule and there you should be certain that there is no getting around it.

This age restriction is a major concern for parents who wish to bring their children for an adventure such as gorilla trekking.

If you are planning on travelling with children who are below 15 years of age, gorilla trekking will end up being an adult-only adventure. Alternatively, you could reschedule your trip (if at all that is possible) for a future date when the child has reached the required age.

Of course, this is more difficult when the child is much younger and rescheduling means many years. In a situation like that, most parents end up doing the trek alone but planning other activities that involve the young ones such as game drives, community visits, launch cruises etc. These are usually part of most of our wildlife safaris which include gorilla trekking.

Gorilla Trekking Permit

For you to track and see mountain gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda, you will need a gorilla permit issued by the relevant tourism authorities.

In Uganda, the Uganda Wildlife Authority is the only seller of gorilla permits to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Your Tour operator may purchase the permit on your behalf at 700 USD per permit per person. Each permit is valid for one day.

In Rwanda, the Rwanda Development Board ( RDB )is the seller of gorilla permits to Volcanoes National Park. The Tour operator can also purchase this on your behalf at 1500 USD per permit, per person. A permit is only valid for a single day.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the ICCN is the equivalent authority in charge of issuing gorilla trekking permits. Gorilla trekking permits from DRC will cost you 400 USD to see gorillas in Virunga National Park.

You Must Be in Good Health

Given that humans and gorillas can transmit diseases to one another, only healthy people must visit mountain gorillas in Bwindi and Mgahinga in Uganda or Volcanoes in Rwanda. The health requirement applies to infectious diseases that can easily be transmitted through the interaction of any form. These are illnesses such as flu/colds and any other infectious diseases.

Before boarding to go for gorilla trekking, you should have your doctor check your health status to make sure that you are in optimal health. If you are found to be ill, you will not be allowed to go into the forest for the gorilla tracking.

However, if you take all the right measures and fall ill while in Uganda, or a few days before, you can talk to the representatives of the Uganda Wildlife Authority for a refund.

Physical Fitness for the Long Trek

This might fall in with your health checkup from your doctor but we must indicate it on its own. Tracking mountain gorillas through their home in the rainforests is a very intense activity that could last anything from 40 minutes on your luckiest day to 7 hours on a long day.

The trek goes through a very steep terrain which walks you through various undergrowths and shrubs that are towered over by the big ancient trees. And while all of this is worth it, health complications are not the result anyone would want.

If you feel like you are not quite physically fit for the adventure, we recommend you plan in time and start practising some months before your trip. Because if anything could be done to enjoy the experience, you should do it – and we promise it is better than it sounds.

Conclusion

These are the major eligibility cases for gorilla trekking. Other rules do come into effect once you have been allowed to enter the forests and start tracking the mountain gorillas.

This article also leaves out the other requirements such as visas, yellow fever vaccination, immigration checks and so forth. That doesn’t mean that they are any less important, and you should, therefore, have all of the prerequisites taken care of.

This article also leaves out things you should pack for gorilla trekking. The obvious reason is that packing lists are not strictly enforced for the safety of everyone, and the mountain gorillas. You still need to pack right to be able to enjoy your gorilla trek. Here is an extensive article we created, that elaborates what you should pack for your gorilla trek, and why – that has helped many of our guests in planning for their gorilla experience.

For any inquiries about these gorilla trekking legibility requirements or any other information that you could need about visiting Uganda or Rwanda, feel free to ask us via the contact form, and we shall be eager to help you.

Thank you for taking the time.

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