Rules to follow when trekking gorillas in Virunga
Virunga national park rules to follow while trekking mountain gorillas are designed to protect mountain gorillas and the trekkers who go to encounter them. Mountain gorilla safari in Virunga national park is an activity that gives you an opportunity to spend 1 hour with any of the 8 gorilla families that are fully habituated in this park.
About 1/3 of the remaining population of mountain gorillas do live in Virunga national park and they are listed among the endangered animals on the continent. Gorilla trekking activity is done following rules and regulations that are taught by the park wardens at the briefing point. Below are some of the rules to follow when trekking gorillas in Virunga national park of DR Congo;
Gorilla trekking starts with a briefing at the park offices where trekkers are taught about the rules and regulations of the trekking activity.
Trekkers that are ill or have signs of transmitted diseases like flue or cough will not be around to trek mountain gorillas. If they have time, they can trek in the next few days or will be refunded part of their money.
8 people are allowed to trek a single gorilla family a day and this is done to reduce on the risk of diseases that can be transmitted to mountain gorillas.
Trekking mountain gorillas is done by those that have valid gorilla trekking permits and believed to be 15 years and above.
While at the briefing point, before heading to the jungle to search for mountain gorillas all trekkers must wash their hands to clean germs and they must also sanitize.
While going to the jungle, trekkers must wear their mask but since the masks have side effects when you wear them for a long time, trekkers will always remove them at certain points in the jungle.
Trekkers are advised not to dump rubbish anywhere in the jungle but they are asked to keep their rubbish and look for the bins outside the jungle and put it there.
While in the jungle and you want to ease yourself, you should let your ranger guide know so that they dig a hole for you which will be covered after.
When you meet the mountain gorillas in the jungle, you are advised to stand 7 meters away from the mountain gorillas. The mountains gorillas might not keep a distance but when the trekkers see them moving towards them, they can move behind.
Trekkers must put on their masks when around mountain gorillas and this is done to avoid the spread of diseases to these primates. Mountain gorillas are vulnerable animals meaning they can easily get diseases from human beings such as flu and cough.
Trekkers that want to cough or sneeze must move away from the mountain gorillas group and cover their nose and mouth while doing so to avoid the spread of bacteria or viruses.
While around mountain gorillas you are advised to keep your voice very low but in case you want to ask your ranger guide anything related to mountain gorillas you can always ask him but still in a low voice.
Trekkers are not allowed to smoke or drink or eat around mountain gorillas. Eating around mountain gorillas is allowed because the gorillas can grab your food and in the end can harm you. Foods and smoke can also transmit diseases to gorillas.
While around mountain gorillas and they charge, you are asked to follow what the park wardens taught you at the briefing such as eating green vegetation like them, moving on four legs, avoid looking directly in their eyes and give them away in case they want to pass.
While taking pictures you are not allowed to use cameras that have a flashlight
While around mountain gorillas don’t touch them because they will not be knowing what you mean, they can think you want to harm them and they charge at you.
You are given a maximum of 1 hour around mountain gorillas and in this period, you are able to learn about their habits watch them do daily activities, take photos and learn about their behaviors.
After spending time with mountain gorillas, you must keep your voice low until you are far away from the gorilla family.