How many hours can one spend with mountain gorillas? – Despite the many hours spent hiking into the jungle looking for a Mountain Gorilla family, if you are visiting to see Mountain Gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda, you are allowed to strictly to spend one hour with the Mountain Gorillas after meeting them. Many people especially potential travellers have always wondered why the responsible government would only allow travellers to only spend one hour with the habituated Mountain Gorillas.
Great Adventure Safaris brings you details as to why Mountain Gorilla tracking is limited to one hour. The time spent in the jungle before meeting the Mountain Gorillas in uncertain. you can spend between 30 minutes to 7 hours to meet a Mountain Gorilla family allocated to you in both Gorilla National Parks. The Mountain Gorilla trekking time depends on the location of a Gorilla family, traveller’s physical fitness and the speed of movements of the Gorillas.
The one hour of Gorilla tracking also applies to the Eastern lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain Gorilla families living in low altitude areas are easy to find compared to those in higher altitude areas. Within one hour, you are expected to observe the behaviors of Gorillas, learn their lifestyles, photography, capture live videos and enjoy this magical adventure with their close relatives. Among the reasons why Gorilla trekking is restricted for one hour include:
There are roughly 1080 Mountain Gorillas surviving in the whole world. These Mountain Gorillas only live in the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s only these tropical rainforests that you can see the Mountain Gorillas in the whole world.
Uganda is home to almost half of the world’s Mountain Gorilla population. The endangered nature of Mountain Gorillas is due to their close relativity with human beings sharing over 98% DNA of human. This makes them susceptible to human communicable diseases especially flue, cold and cough. For this matter, Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development Board restrict time to spend with the Mountain Gorillas to one hour to reduce the time you spend with the rare Mountain Gorillas.
The fact that the Mountain Gorillas are endangered species, respective governments restrict trekking time to one hour for conservation purposes. Mountain Gorillas need free time to be alone in their natural habitat with no people around them. A crowd of people around Gorillas causes discomfort and tress to the Gorillas which are against conservation measures.
Mountain Gorillas live in families and have daily routine work just like in a human family. A Gorilla family comprises of between 8 to 35 members each of whom has a different role to play in the family. An hour of trekking is therefore, to enable and give the Mountain Gorillas enough time to perform their tasks with no disruption.
Adult females will feel shy to breastfeed their babies in the presence of the visitors and so other Gorilla family members. The daily routine of Gorillas involves waking up early at 6:00am, to leave for another destination. The day involves feeding, playing and social interaction as a family. When it comes to evening, the Gorillas build their fresh nests for the following night.
If you want to spend more time with the endangered Mountain Gorillas, take a chance to take part in the experimental Mountain Gorilla habituation experience. This experience is only done in Rushaga sector the south of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Gorilla habituation experience is a four hours interaction with a semi-habituated Gorilla family which start counting when you find the fresh trails where they last nested.
You almost spend a full day in the jungle with a semi-habituated Gorilla family. The four hours in the company of a Gorilla family is a magical experience to learn, observe and enjoy the lifestyles of Mountain Gorillas in the jungle. The experience is all about training wild Gorillas to make them with human presence before they are declared free for trekking.
Gorilla habituation experience is the pre Gorilla tracking experience. You will join a team of Gorilla doctors, researchers, National Park rangers and conservationists training Gorillas. The whole experience takes between 2 to 3 years and it’s done every day with or without visitors. Unlike the normal Gorilla tracking which comprises of 8 people in a group visiting a Gorilla family, the number of people doing a Gorilla habituation experience is only 4 in a group. Endeavour to buy a Gorilla habituation permit costing USD1500 per person per trek but the experience is worth it.
Besides spending one hour with the Mountain Gorillas, there are other Gorilla trekking rules and regulations that you must follow. The rules and regulations of Gorilla tracking in Uganda and Rwanda include:
Keep a distance of seven meters away from Gorillas
Do not use a flashlight camera
Avoid direct eye contact with Gorillas
Do not trek when you are sick
Do not run when a Gorilla charges
Keep within one group
Do not litter in the National Park
Keep your voices low
Carry your valid Gorilla permit
When one hour with Mountain Gorillas, be keen, stay calm, keep a distance and utilize this magical time with the endangered Mountain Gorillas to avoid the risks of wasting any second when with the Mountain Gorillas.