What is the age limit for gorilla trekking in Uganda?

How old do you have to be for a gorilla trek? The minimum age limit for gorilla trekking in Uganda is 15 years and above. This is a standard age limit set and enforced across all the major gorilla trekking destinations in Africa. When booking a Uganda gorilla permit, visitors are required to share their passport details to enable the tour operator to confirm the date of birth.

On an actual gorilla trek, guests first undergo verification before they embark on a search for mountain gorillas. This is to ensure that guests visiting the family of mountain gorillas in their respective destinations fall within the acceptable age limit.

Why is the minimum age limit set at 15?

The acceptable age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 and above. Persons below 15 are categorized as children and often, they find it challenging to deal with negative reactions, especially when the mountain gorilla charges.

Mountain gorillas are generally calm and gentle mammals, but at times, they can become aggressive. More so when they feel threatened/if they misinterpret some actions of the trekkers. When a gorilla has charged, children may find it hard to keep calm/lay low. It is even worse when the silverback approaches them. Such incidents can result in screaming/they can be tempted to run away, something that may fuel up the gorillas’ reaction.

When a gorilla has charged, the park ranger guide often advises visitors to keep calm and act submissive. This can only be observed by someone mature because they can control their emotion.

Mature guests can’t easily get carried away. Adults can easily observe the different gorilla trekking regulations and instructions. There are several gorilla trekking guidelines that visitors get to know during the briefing and the search for gorillas, they must be observed. They include respecting the social distance of 7-8 meters away from the family of mountain gorillas. More so, visitors are expected to keep their voices low. Covering their mouth when coughing or their nose when sneezing, and other safety measures/regulations.

Not mentally Ready

Children are usually not mentally ready for adventures like gorilla trekking. Unlike children, the adults usually embark on a gorilla safari when prepared. They know what want to get and children usually join parents just to accompany them but they may not even be that excited about the vacation. Besides, overall gorilla trek requires some level of fitness which children may not.

Children are prone to infectious communicable diseases like cough and flu, which pose a risk to mountain gorillas’ health too.

Sometimes Children below the age of 15 can be allowed to trek the gorillas

However, there are instances where children below 15 years may get a chance to trek mountain gorillas in Uganda.

There are instances where children below 15 years can be allowed to participate in the trek to see mountain gorillas. The first instance is when the child is almost celebrating his/her 15th birthday. With this, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) can give a chance to such a child to engage in the trek to see gorillas. Secondly, children below 15 years old can be allowed to participate in a trek to see mountain gorillas if he or she is fit enough and prove to be mature. UWA officials may require details of the child, and the parent can share a copy of a valid passport.

Age Limit for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Thirdly, persons below 15 years old can have a chance to enjoy a gorilla trek if he or she is accompanied by their parents. UWA may require the parents to sign a consent or indemnity form to protect the organization from responsibility. Especially in case of any mishap during the trek to see mountain gorillas. When allocating gorilla groups, the park official can ensure that he or she assigns a gorilla family that is located near the point where the gorilla trek begins. But this may require you to hire a porter to assist you. Especially with a Sedan chair if the child becomes tired. You can communicate with your tour operator in advance to have your sedan chair booked.

What should you do in case the child is too young for gorilla trekking?

There are several exciting activities that children can engage in while parents embark on gorilla trekking. These include simple nature walks or community visits, visiting the nearby schools, and playing some games in the safari lodge with the staff.

How fit do you need to be for Uganda gorilla trekking?

Your fitness level matters a lot when you think of a gorilla trekking vacation in Uganda or any destination. Gorilla trekking involves trekking via the rainforest and at times, you may come across muddy areas, steep slopes, and other conditions. These all require you to have some level of fitness to make a round trekking adventure. We recommend that you do some exercise to prepare you for adventure challenges in the jungles.

How strenuous is gorilla trekking in Uganda?

Gorilla trekking is generally a strenuous primate adventure and involves spending some time in the jungles as you search for mountain gorillas. It is completely different from the usual game drives or normal nature walks in the Savanna National Parks. The conditions in the tropical rainforests where mountain gorillas live are generally unpredictable and you may require about 2-6 hours to have a complete gorilla trekking experience.

How much is the Uganda gorilla trekking permit?

A gorilla permit is what gives you a chance to engage in a gorilla trekking adventure. A single gorilla permit in Uganda is issued at USD 800 per person and this is applicable for foreign non-residents. The foreign residents on the Uganda gorilla tour can obtain a valid gorilla permit at USD 700 while the Africans outside East Africa pay USD 500 per person. The East African citizens are issued gorilla permits at Uganda shs.300,000 per person.

How safe is the gorilla trekking adventure in Uganda?

Generally, the gorilla trekking adventure is safe and secure for all guests on the Uganda gorilla tour. On an actual trek with Uganda gorillas in the wild, visitors are accompanied by an armed park ranger guide to ensure you have a safe trek. Besides, the gorilla families visited have also undergone thorough training or habituation meaning they are familiar with human presence. The habituation process takes about 2 years before a gorilla group is opened for actual gorilla tourism.

How to prepare for gorilla trekking in Uganda?

Besides exercising, you also need to consider packing right for your trip. Among the key items to have on your packing list include a safari hat, sturdy walking boots, long socks, a rain jacket, sunscreen, and snacks. A good camera for photography and also include extra batteries plus additional storage like a memory card.  long trousers, a sweater, insect repellent, first aid kit, insect repellents, and others.

Where to go to see gorillas in Uganda?

On a gorilla tour in Uganda, visitors can trek only the rare mountain gorillas –the subspecies of Eastern gorillas. These live in the two National Parks; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. These two National Parks are situated in the far Southwestern part of Uganda. They hold about half of the world’s 1063 mountain gorillas.

The highest concentration of habituated gorilla families exist in Uganda including Mubare –the oldest gorilla group to undergo habituation and also the first of its kind to open for gorilla trekking. Others include Habinyanja. Rushegura, Bitukura, Busingye, Kahungye, Nshongi, Katwe, Christmas, Rwigi, Kutu, Nyakagezi group and a lot more.

Now that you know the age limit for gorilla trekking in Uganda, book your gorilla tour now and create a signature of memories. 

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