Gorilla trekking procedures in Bwindi
Gorilla trekking procedures in Bwindi are a series of steps taken to accomplish the gorilla trekking activities in the park. The gorilla trekking procedures in Bwindi are put in place to ensure the safety of the mountain gorillas, and the travelers while in the park. Bwindi gorilla park has a number of procedures that tourists must follow in order to have a successful once in a life gorilla trekking activity. Bwindi gorilla park is located in the southwestern part of the country in Kabale, Kanungu, and Kisoro districts.
Bwindi is home to the highest population of mountain gorillas in the entire world. The other mountain gorillas are found in Mgahinga national park, volcanoes national park, and Virunga national park. Mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi gorilla park happens in 4 sectors of the park and these are Nkuringo, Buhoma, Ruhija, and Rushaga.
The gorilla trekking activity is done by those that have gorilla trekking permits that are obtained from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. A traveler must be 15 years and above to get this trekking permit and for the elderly, there is no maximum age. A single gorilla trekking permit is $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 citizens of East Africa. Trekkers must move with their permits to the briefing point on the day of trekking.
The gorilla trekking procedures apply in all the four sectors of the park. Gorilla trekking procedures in Bwindi start early in the morning from the lodge. The trekkers must wake up for morning breakfast at the lodge and if they want, they can move with packed lunch as well. Trekkers are transferred to the briefing center by their safari guides or hotel drivers.
On arrival at the briefing point, the trekkers are asked to wash their hands and sanitize to kill germs and also reduce the spread of the coronavirus which can be transferred to gorillas since they share 98% human DNA.
The park wardens gather the trekkers, check if they have valid permits and then collect them because they are not taken in the jungle. Trekkers are briefed about the dos and don’ts of the gorilla trekking activity, later groups not exceeding 8 are formed, allocated families, and these are led by armed ranger guides in the jungle.
While forming groups, trekkers that are seen with any signs of transmitted diseases are not allowed to trek. They will be given back some of their money or must get another day. Travelers that have excess luggage get porters to carry it for them at an affordable fee. These porters are always people from the nearby areas that are looking for money for fees, and also taking care of their families.
While heading into the jungle, all participants which include trekkers, rangers, and porters must put on their masks and this is done to prevent the spread of covid 19 and also other transmitted diseases. Heading into the jungle, armed ranger guides must lead the trek, and others must be behind the trekkers. The rangers must make sure that trekkers keep in the same group and also protect them from dangerous wild animals.
There are different points in the jungle where trekkers do have breaks to relax and armed ranger guides are always telling them the different information about mountain gorillas, other park animals, and the park. In the jungle, you will meet different park animals such as duikers, buffaloes, elephants, giant forest hogs, monkeys, baboons, birds, and much more.
After 2-7 hours of searching, you will meet the mountain gorilla family assigned and you will be given 1 hour around the group while observing the rules and regulations as taught by the armed ranger guides. During the 1 hour with the mountain gorillas, we do believe you will be able to learn about their habits, watch them do daily activities, take photos, and record videos.
After spending some good time with the mountain gorillas, those that had packed lunch can have it in the jungle while others are relaxing. Trekkers must keep their voices low even after trekking till they move so far from the gorilla family. Trekkers will meet their driver guides at the starting point who will transfer them to the park offices to collect their gorilla trekking certificates.