Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking Rules- Guide & Advise to Visitors during trekking.
Gorilla trekking in Kahuzi Biega National Park is Congo’s flagship tour once combined with Nyiragongo Hike and Mountain Gorilla Tours in Virunga National Park and Congo’s tour is complete once gorilla trekking and hiking adventure is completed in the Virunga Mountains and Itombwe Mountains . Gorilla trekking in Congo is more than just the thrilling experience of being in proximity with these magnificent apes but its also about the picturesque environment, vibrant culture and the sure al timeless atmosphere of the Kahuzi Biega National Park.
The shadowy bamboo forest provides breathtaking vistas, prior to the trackers being engulfed in the mysterious intimacy of the rain forest. The forest is brought to life with the sound of radiant birds and the noise of the equally uncommon golden monkeys. For nature enthusiasts the environment adds to the unforgettable gorilla safari experience.
Gorilla trekking in Virunga Mountains & Itombwe Mountains takes between 1-4 hours depending on the gorilla group you are visiting. Find a list of Rules to help you during the gorilla trekking in the jungle.
Congo Wildlife Authority (ICCN) has clear rules and regulations to protect both gorillas and the humans that trek them. The ranger guides will do their utmost to find the gorillas for you. These conservation rangers are in frequent radio contact, constantly monitoring the health, safety and whereabouts of the gorilla populations.
Although no tourist has ever been seriously hurt by a habituated gorilla, you should always remember that an adult gorilla is several times stronger than a human, and can be disturbed by human activity, particularly if the gorillas are nursing infants or sick – or simply not in the mood to be disturbed!
ON THE WAY TO THE GORILLAS
a) Please always keep your voices low. You will then also be able to observe the great bird life and other wildlife in the forest.
b) You will be taken to where the guides observed the gorillas the day before. From there you will follow the gorilla’s trail to find them. Look out for the gorilla’s nesting sites along the way
c) Do not leave rubbish in the park. Whatever you bring into the forest should be carried back out with you
d) A maximum number of 8visitors may visit a group of habituated gorillas in a day. This minimizes behavioral disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases.
e) When you approach the Gorillas, the guides will inform you to get ready.
WHEN YOU ARE NEAR THE GORILLAS:
a) A 5-meter distance should try to be observed at all times (15 feet) from the gorillas. This is to protect them from catching human diseases.
b) You must stay in tight group whey you are near the gorillas.
c) Keep your voices down at all times. However, it is OK to ask the guide questions.
d) Do not eat or drink while you are near the gorillas. Eating or drinking inevitably will increase the risk of food/drink morsels/droplets falling, which could increase the risk of transmission of diseases
e) Sometimes the gorillas charge. Follow the guides example (crouch down slowly, do not look the gorillas directly in the eyes and wait for the animals to pass). Do not try and to take picture and do not attempt to run away. Running away will increase the risk.
f) Flash photography is not permitted! When taking pictures move slowly and carefully.
g) Do not touch the gorillas. They are wild animals. They might look cuddly but!
h) The maximum time you can spend with the gorillas is one hour. However, if the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide will finish the visit early.
i) After the visit keep your voices down until you are 200 metres from the gorillas.
GENERAL HEALTH RULES:
a) Remember gorillas are very susceptible to human diseases. The following are ways to minimize the risk your visit might poses to them:
b) Respect the limits imposed on the number of visitors allowed with the gorillas each day. This minimizes the risk of disease transmission and stress to the group.
c) If you are feeling ill, or you are carrying a contagious disease, volunteer to stay behind. An alternate visit will be arranged for you, or you will be refunded your money.
d) If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the gorillas, please turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order to minimize the spread of bacteria or viruses.
e) Always stay 5 metres (15 feet) away form the gorillas. The further back you are, the more relaxed the group will be.
f) Do not attempt to touch the gorillas.
g) Do not smoke, drink or eat when you are with the gorillas.
h) Do not leave any rubbish (e.g. food wrappers) in the Park; foreign items can harbor diseases or other contaminants.
i) If you need to defecate, whilst in the forest, please ask the guide to dig you a hole with his panga. Make sure the hole is 30cms deep and fill it in when you are finished.