With Congo Gorilla Trekking Safaris, you encounter the mountain gorillas found in Virunga National Park which is also a UNESCO Heritage site. This park is located on the eastern side of the Democratic Republic of Congo and borders both Uganda and Rwanda. The park covers an area of 7800 km2 and is home to over 200 gorilla individuals mostly situated in the southern part of the park.
Congo Gorilla Trekking Safaris in the Virunga national park has some strict rules and regulations that are supposed to be followed by the trackers on their congo gorilla safari expeditions. These include; group size, the groups to track per day as well as the time allowed spending with the mountain gorillas. This is also done to ensure the well being of these endangered animals. This is because the gorillas are susceptible to many human diseases due to the great closeness between humans and mountain gorilla.
Gorilla Safari Group Size: It’s only a maximum of eight individuals per day that are allowed to trek, this helps to reduce the spreading of diseases from humans to the mountain gorillas.
Restrictions on Age: It’s only 15 years and over individuals allowed to trek
Hours of Visiting: gorilla trekking takes place during day time and it’s between 8:00 am to 7:00 pm
Time limit with gorillas: It’s strictly 1 hour allowed to spend with the mountain gorillas.
Congo Gorillas, Rules & Regulations (The do’s and don’ts) in Virunga National Park
- Protecting the mountain gorillas is the first rule; this means that if the tracker is sick or has any infections shouldn’t be allowed to come in contact with the gorillas.
- Manners are recommended- always turn away your face while coughing or sneezing and remember to cover the nose as well as the mouth to help reduce the bacteria transfer to the mountain gorillas.
- Don’t overstay with the gorillas- End ever to stay for the only recommended time with the gorillas; it’s usually one hour that is allowed.
- Keeping distance from the primates- it’s always recommended that you stay away from mountain gorillas between 5 to 7 meters because they are wild animals and can easily catch diseases from humans.
- Well behaving while trekking: the rangers always advise the trekkers to keep noise levels as low as possible, avoid pointing or using a flashlight when taking photos of the mountain gorillas.
- Being prepared: Remember to always carry waterproof & warm gears for the cool conditions within the mountains since it sometimes gets wet within the forest and comfortable walking shoes are of great advantage.
- No smoking and no snacks- Visitors are not allowed to drink to eating as well as smoking during gorilla trekking.
- Cleanliness is recommended: Always wash your hands before engaging in gorilla trekking.
- Keep hands intact- don’t touch the mountain gorillas at any time, always keep hands to yourself to avoid direct contact.
- Avoid littering within the forest and keep the trash to yourself
- Always remain calm– Avoid direct eye contact in case the gorilla charges and stay calm until it moves away.
- Toilet manners: A ranger will be willing to dig a hole for you and after making sure it’s fully covered.
Cost of Congo Gorilla permits
Those planning to track mountain gorillas in Virunga national park, you are advised to book with us and the Congo gorilla permits costs ($400) per person.
The mountain gorillas in Virunga national park can be visited anytime during the year, however, some paths are hard to navigate during the wet seasons of (May/April and November & October), in this season, Congo Gorilla Trekking Safaris permits are reduced to ($350) per person. Other months are okay for gorilla trekking since it’s a dry season. Mountain gorillas can also be found in Uganda where a gorilla permit is $600 in high season and $600 in the low season. For Rwanda, the gorilla permit is sold at $ 1500 for both high season and Low season.
4 Tips to Help You Plan Congo Gorilla Trekking Safaris
- Common in all three countries that offer gorilla tracking, a permit should be purchased in advance. It is much better if you could directly book your Gorilla tracking permit through Virunga National Park. A permit goes for US$400, a fee low-priced than that of the other two countries. Mountain gorillas can be visited any time of the year though some paths become hard to navigate during the wet seasons of May to October.
- A yellow fever vaccination is a requirement because you won’t be allowed into the country minus proof of the inoculation. Hepatitis A, typhoid, meningitis and rabies injections not forgetting the anti-malarial are also recommended.
- An application for a visa required to enter the DRC should have been submitted in advance. This costs US$100.
- The exact gear needed while in the jungle needs to be prepared. The trek can be strenuous and equipment like the strong trekking shoes, woolly and or the moisture-impermeable socks, comfy mountaineering clothes, rainwater gear, a primary support kit and a lightweight backpack with plenty of room for food and drink. A waterproof camera is also very much suggested as nothing wrecks a high-quality camera like the tropical forest’s heavy shower.
What to Expect On Congo Gorilla Trekking Safaris
On Congo Gorilla Trekking Safaris, head out on their Congo safari knowing what they hope to discover. The long and uncomfortable journey on a plane, in the 4x4s and the pirogues, makes this a worthwhile experience not easily forgotten. Congo is an ever- stabilizing state in the world and it is likely to become more and more accessible and popular to the tourists who seek true African authenticity. Thus the time to visit is now.