Gorilla Trekking Age Limit
Gorilla Trekking Age limit is the minimum age limit that a traveler is allowed to have before they are allowed to engage in this breathtaking activity. Gorilla trekking is a very much sought after activity that many travelers all over the world are including on their safari to Africa. Mountain gorillas are apes that are only found in the Virunga Conservation Area and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The Virunga Conservation Area is made up of Virunga National Park in the Congo, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. It is only in these three countries that mountain gorilla trekking takes place.
Mountain gorillas were until recently declared critically endangered with very few of them found in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo. Currently, the mountain gorilla population in the Virunga mountains increased from 480 to 604 individuals as per the census conducted in 2016 by the Protected Area Authorities in the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda for the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The gorilla population in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park alone grew from 400 to 459 as per the census conducted in 2018. This gives rise to the mountain gorillas from 1000 to 1063 individuals only. This increase is thanks to the conservation efforts of stakeholders in these three countries.
For the fact that mountain gorillas were critically endangered, a number of rules were put up to protect and conserve them for generations. One of the rules clearly set is that persons below the age of 15 cannot take part in gorilla trekking. There is no age restriction when it comes to seniors, for as long as one can manage or hire help, gorilla trekking can be done by even a 100+-year-olds.
Why is there a gorilla trekking age limit?
A number of reasons justifying the gorilla trekking age limit have been mentioned and among them include;
- Mountain gorillas have genes that are almost the same as humans, 98% DNA to be precise. This makes the mountain gorillas prone to catching illnesses just like humans and since there are a number of childhood diseases that children normally carry, a gorilla trekking age limit was set to protect the endangered mountain gorillas.
- Children below the age of 15 are also quite unpredictable in behavior. They can be very impulsive, too excited or really freak out when they encounter the mountain gorillas. This unpredictability of the young ones can cause the mountain gorillas to charge say if the children decide to shout at the gorillas, throw stones or whatever at the gorillas or even make weird sounds that the mountain gorillas can mistake for another.
- The gorilla trek can sometimes be very strenuous that children cannot manage them. The long hikes through thick vegetation cover and rough terrain can drain children below the age of 15 thus having them not take trek totally.
However, there have been instances where children below the age of 15 have been allowed to trek. This is very rear and it necessitates parents or legal guardians of the persons in question to prove that they can do the trek and that they are nearing the age of 15. The parents are also required, if the children are allowed to trek, to sign a disclaimer of sorts that the authorities will not be liable if the child fails to finish the gorilla trek. There are sedan chairs, bamboo stretchers, and porters that can be hired to help the children if need be and they can only be got from the starting point of the trek, not somewhere in the middle. Have a trusted tour operator help you with this such that you can have a memorable gorilla trekking safari with your family. This is only possible in Uganda.
Should your child be allowed to trek mountain gorillas, purchasing a gorilla permit is the next step. It should be noted that the gorilla trekking permit cost still remains the same irrespective of the age of the tracker, young and old alike pay $700, $1500 and $400 for Uganda, Rwanda and the Congo respectively. $600 is for foreign residents and UGX 250000 for East African citizens applicable in Uganda only. Gorilla permits need to be booked way in advance, this will have you having much easier sectors to track from and also secure your gorilla trekking permit for a particular day. Get in touch with a trusted tour operator to help you with everything for a successful gorilla trekking safari.