Age restriction for gorilla trekking in Bwindi
The age restriction for gorilla trekking in Bwindi is normally asked by travelers that are intending to visit the park and would want to move with their children. According to the rules and regulations of the gorilla trekking which were set to protect mountain gorillas and the trekkers, only persons aged 15 years and above are allowed to trek the mountain gorillas in Bwindi gorilla park and also other national parks that do harbor mountain gorillas. Travelers that are 15 years and above don’t have to worry if they will be allowed to trek gorillas all they need is to purchase a gorilla permit.
The age restriction for gorilla trekking in Bwindi is set by the Uganda Wildlife Authority which is a government body in charge of tourism in the country. The minimum age for gorilla trekking in Bwindi is 15 years and age is determined by asking the traveler their passport details or the national identity cards. The age limit applies to other national parks that harbor mountain gorillas such as Mgahinga national park, volcanoes national park, and Virunga national park.
Travelers that are intending to visit Bwindi gorilla park and would want to travel with their children can still come along with them because there are always activities at the park or lodges which children can do while you go for your gorilla trekking activity. The activities include biking, playing games, nature walks around the lodge, and swimming activities.
Why age restriction for gorilla trekking is at 15 years?
Age restriction for mountain gorillas is set at 15 years because, they believe that these children are very young to complete the whole trekking activity, to follow the rules and regulations of gorilla trekking such as keeping voices low and also being able to deal with gorillas in case they charge. Mountain gorillas are very calm animals but they turn out to be aggressive when provoked and it’s assumed that children might not handle the situation when the mountain gorillas charge for the children can scream or run away.
When the mountain gorillas charge the old people are likely to follow the rules and regulations as taught at the briefing point by the park wardens. The old people can move behind quietly or even walk on 4 legs trying to eat the grass which young ones might fail to do and just run away or scream.
Gorilla trekking requires one to be fit enough to go through thick vegetation, move to high elevations and move downwards to valleys searching for mountain gorillas. The young ones might get tired along the way and this can slow the speed of the trekkers, they can also get lost on the way if they fail to keep within their circle. The children can shout in the jungle when they see different animals yet gorilla trekking requires trekkers to keep low voices.
Another reason as to why gorilla trekking is not done by children below the age of 15 years is because these young ones tend to be having transmitted diseases such as flu and cough and these can be transferred to mountain gorillas the fact that they are vulnerable animals.
When can a child below 15 years be allowed to trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi?
There are circumstances where a child below the age of 15 years is allowed to trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi gorilla park. For a child to trek mountain gorillas below the age of 15 years, the parents must send the pictures of the child to the Uganda Wildlife Authority that show the child is physically fit.
Another situation where a child might be allowed to trek gorillas is when they are 14 and will be 15 years by the time of gorilla trekking or a few months to 15 years at the time of trekking. Here a parent will be asked to send the passport details to confirm the age of the child.
If your child is below the age of 15 years and they are allowed to trek gorillas, you will have to buy for them gorilla permits so that they be part of the gorilla trekking activity. The permits are sold by the Uganda wildlife authority and can still be got with a help of a trusted local tour operator at the same fee. Age does not matter when buying the permits for the price will remain the same. Each gorilla trekking permit is $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 for citizens of East Africa. Travelers are advised to book the gorilla permits in advance most especially if they are to visit the park in the high season to avoid disappointments because the permits sell out quickly.