Gorilla Tours

The Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) is one of the two subspecies of the Eastern Gorilla. There are two populations. One is found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, within three national parks: Mgahinga, in south-west Uganda; Volcanoes, in north-west Rwanda; and Virunga in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Virunga National Park (covering an area of 790,000 ha) comprises an outstanding diversity of habitats, ranging from swamps and steppes to the snowfields of Rwenzori at an altitude of over 5,000 m, and from lava plains to the savannahs on the slopes of volcanoes. Mountain gorillas are found in the park, some 20,000 hippopotamuses live in the rivers and birds from Siberia spend the winter there.
Although mountain gorillas are now extremely rare and listed as one of the most critically-endangered species, successful conservation work has helped to secure the remaining populations.
The Eastern Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) is a subspecies of Eastern Gorilla that is now only found in the forests of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Many live within the boundaries of Kahuzi Biega National Park.
Kahuzi-Biéga National Park is in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, 50 km west of the town of Bukavu in the Kivu Region, near to the western side of Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border. The park is one of the last refuges of the rare Eastern Lowland Gorilla and was the original site where Dian Fossey (protege of Dr. Louis Leakey) studied gorillas before relocating to Rwanda.
Gorilla Tour

Before Setting Out
In order to minimize the behavioral disturbance to the gorillas, we have set limits on the numbers of visitors allowed. A maximum number of 8(eight) people may visit the gorillas at a time. If however the gorilla group is small, the group of visitors must be reduced to 6(six).These size to avoid-born diseases. Once we enter the forest and/or the jungle, we ask you to keep your voices low when speaking. This will help you observe other animals and birds in the forest and/or jungle. In addition to ,the Mountain gorillas, others mammals you could observe include Golden monkey, various species of antelope, bushbuck and buffalo.
From here we will walk to the area where the guide left the gorillas yesterday (ask the guides how long the estimate the walk will take). From there we will follow the gorillas’ trail to find them. If we pass the place where the group spent night, you will be able to see their nests. Gorillas make new nest each night.
There are stinging nettles and biting ants in the park. The guides will try to point them out, so that you can be careful not get stung. Please don’t leave any rubbish in the park. Take everything you brought into the forest and/or jungle back out with you. Put food, film boxes, handkerchiefs and rubbish back in your pockets or bags. As we approach the gorillas, the guides will inform you to get your camera gear ready. The porters remain behind, so take everything you need in with you. Don’t leave any valuables with the porters.

With the Gorillas
All visitors should stay together in a tight group when near the gorillas. Please stay behind the guides all times. The guides will keep you back at a minimum of 7 meters from the gorillas. This is to protect them from the danger of catching human diseases and to minimize behavioral disturbance. Keep your voice down all times. It is OK to ask questions. Please don’t point at the gorillas when walking, as they might think that you are throwing something at them. If nettles or ants sting you while you are with the gorillas, please try no to cry out.
When taking photos, move slowly and carefully. Flash photograph is not allowed. If some vegetation is in your way, please don’t attempt to clear it yourself. Ask one of the guides and he will try to ensure you have a clear view if he feels it will not disturb the gorillas." DO NOT TRY TO TOUCH THE GORILLAS" It is dangerous for them because of the risk of catching human diseases. It could also be dangerous for you. If one of the gorillas moves towards you, follow the example of the guides and move back slowly to a safe distance of 7 meters. Sometimes the animals charge. If a gorilla charges at you, please follow the guide’s example. You should crouch down slowly, look down and wait for the animal to pass. Don’t attempt to take a photo at this time and DO NOT RUN AWAY, as this could be very dangerous.
TIMING
The maximum time that we will spend with the gorillas is ONE HOUR. If for some reasons the group becomes too nervous, we will have to leave before the hour is up, but the absolute maximum is one hour.

AFTER
After your visit, please keep your voices down until you are 200 meters from the gorillas. If you want to stop for a picnic or a rest, ask the guides to find a suitable place that is far enough from the gorillas
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Health Rules
Some of these rules are repeated above, to reinforce the point that he gorillas are extremely susceptible to human diseases and we need to minimize the risk that our visit potentially poses to them.
Before we enter the park, it is important that we ask if anyone in the group of visitors is ill. If anyone of our visitors feels that he/she is ill or could be carrying a contagious disease, we ask that he/she volunteer to remain behind. You will be given full reimbursement of the money that you paid to visit the gorillas. Once we enter the forest, if the guides find that you are ill, they have the right to refuse your visit to the gorillas and you will not be granted a reimbursement. This rule is necessary to protect the gorillas from the possibility of catching human diseases. Even, the slightest common cold can be deadly to a gorilla.
If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze while with the gorillas, please turn away from the animals and try to cover your nose and mouth to minimize the spread of bacteria or viruses that you might be carrying unknowingly.
Do not leave any rubbish in the park. Take care of your handkerchiefs, food wrappers.

DISEASE THREAT

  1. If you have to defecate while in the forest and/or jungle, please ask the guide to loan you his machete to dig a 30 cm hole, and then fill it in when you are through. Feacal wait can be highly infectious.
  2. No smoking, drinking or eating while with the gorillas.
  3. Stay back a minimum of 7 meters from the gorillas.
  4. Do not attempt to touch the gorillas.
  5. Please respect the limits (6 and/or 8) imposed on the number of visitors allowed with the gorillas each day.
  6. Keeping the numbers down and following the other health rules minimizes the risk of disease transmission to this VULNERABLE POPULATION OF MOUNTAIN GORILLAS.

AGE
The maximum age for gorilla visits is 15 years.Any young person of questionable age may be asked to furnish proof of age.

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