Where to find the gorillas in Congo
Congo gorilla safari encounters are so rewarding since it’s the only home in West Africa with both mountain and lowland gorillas. The mountain gorillas in Congo are found within Virunga national park in Virunga massif. Uganda’s Mgahinga national park and Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park are located on the same massif.
The lowland gorillas (Grauer’s gorilla) are found in Congo’s kahuzi biega national park. It’s the only park where a tourist can see these gorillas in the wild protected by the mountain forest.
Why the Congo gorilla safari rules
Congo gorilla trekking safaris are the key tourist activities in Congo alongside hiking Mount Nyiragongo. Gorilla trekking is an extremely sensitive activity, and for anyone to indulge in it, they should adhere to the recommended rules and regulations.
Gorillas are susceptible to human diseases and therefore protecting them from contracting diseases means conserving them.
There many numbers of tourists who trek gorillas each single day and therefore regulating their actions in the forest helps to conserve the gorilla habitat and the gorillas themselves.
Prior gorilla trekking safari rules
Prior to gorilla trekking in Congo, each tourist must book a gorilla trekking permit that costs about USD400-USD450. Permit booking is best done by a local tour operator in Congo for all prior bookings.
Ensure to have a trekking stick, this is given to you as you head for the trek to help with movements within the jungle.
A maximum number of 8 tourists are allowed to trek a single group of habituated gorillas each day. This is mainly to minimize behavioral disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases.
Always wash your hands before you move out to the gorillas, to reduce risk of any kind of disease spread.
Gorilla trekking activity rules
Do not make noise within the jungle, try to lower your voices. Asking your guide questions is however allowed.
Carry your camera but remember that flash photography is not allowed, so take a recommendable camera for capturing these amazing memories.
When you get close to the gorillas, these simple rules are a must observe for the good of the gorillas and the tourist.
Maintain a 7m distance away from the gorillas at all the times. The more you keep a distance, further you give them space the more they become free and comfortable with your presence.
Always remember to stay in tight groups during the whole trekking process.
Don’t smoke, drink or eat in the forest. Eating or drinking increases the risk of food/drink droplets falling, which could intensify the chances of spreading diseases.
Sometimes the gorillas can charge and become furious towards visitors. In this case, follow the ranger’s example (crouch down slowly, gorillas are shy, so do not look them directly in the eyes and do not be tempted to run as this may aggravate the situation).
Do not try to touch the gorillas, they are still wild animals.
The maximum time you can spend with the gorillas is one hour. However, if the gorillas become upset or frightened, the ranger guide may end the trek early.
After the trek and meeting the gorillas, keep your voices down until you are 200 meters away from the gorillas even with the excitement.
Join the many who take time to trek these endangered species of the mountain gorillas. The gorillas in Congo are the most peaceful jungle apes that live in the wild so raw.