With only four remotest national parks in the world, gorilla tracking is incomparably a magical experience of a life time in Africa. These tremendous creatures reside only in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They are listed as critically endangered species in the world by IUCN and they are fewer than 880, out of this, over 480 individuals are all residing within the jungles of Uganda while the rest reside in Rwanda and DRC. Gorilla trekking is one of the most sought after experience in the world but unfortunately, there are countless reasons that may stop visitors from tracking these tremendous wild creatures.
Below is a list of reasons that may stop visitors from tracking mountain gorillas.
First and foremost, trekkers can easily be stopped from trekking mountain gorillas based on their health status which means that those visitors who prove ill or develop skin rush; cough or flu may not be allowed to go for the trek. This is one of the rules and regulations that are issued to every trekker. The reason visitors are not allowed to trek gorillas when they are sick is basically to prevent the spread of diseases from humans to the gorillas. These creatures share about 98% of their genes with humans which makes them to be susceptible to human diseases and that is why trackers are recommended to be in their good health and medical conditions if they are to go for gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. However, the Uganda Wildlife Authority or other tourism authorities from respective countries where gorilla trekking takes place will consider their terms and conditions on how to compensate or arrange another date for such visitors.
Forgetting the date of the gorilla permit has become a common reason that many trekkers are stopped from trekking gorillas. In many occasions, we become busy with duties, forgetting that the date that you arranged or booked to track gorillas has passed and we end up traveling the later date. Gorilla permits are only valid for dates that you have booked meaning if you travel late, the gorilla permit will have expired. Such visitors won’t be permitted to track gorillas and this will call for purchase of another permit. If you booked for a gorilla safari on 7th September make sure you travel early enough and track gorillas on exact date and not 8th September!! For visitors who may book with a tour company or agent, they will at least try to help as they are in position to talk to Uganda Wildlife Authority for the case of Uganda and explain to them some of these cases.
Similarly, traveling late to the tracking station or visitor centre after other trackers have been set off to track gorillas may also make the park management to stop you from tracking gorillas. This is a reason why visitors are always recommended to spend a night a nearby lodges just around the park headquarters or visitor centre so that they can be able to report early enough.
Forgetting to carry your gorilla permit has also turned to be one of the reasons why visitors may be stopped from trekking gorillas. A gorilla permit is a must to have if you are to track mountain gorillas and permits are supposed to presented on arrival date to the park headquarters or visitor centre where you will check in and then proceed for an early morning briefing and trekking. Once you reserve your permit, the park authorities will issue you with an electronic card for Uganda and a document for the case of Rwanda. Currently, Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development Board have improved on their systems and they are in position to track visitor’s records provided he or she has an ID number for reservations. But it is important that you avoid some of these disappointing things in your safari by simply traveling with a copy of your gorilla permit otherwise the park management is in position to stop you from tracking mountain gorillas.
The other reason that may stop you from gorilla trekking is your age. Gorilla trekking is also done by people above 15 years, and this means if you are below you won’t be allowed to trek mountain gorillas.
In conclusion, there are numerous reasons that may stop visitors from tracking gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. With a few reasons that have been listed, we hope they will guide you to have a memorable experience of life time.