Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in southwestern Uganda. There is a minimum age required for gorilla trekking in both Uganda and Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park) which are set up by the Wildlife managing Authorities for both countries. The gorilla trekking age limit set by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is a minimum age of 15 years for trekkers that come to watch the habituated mountain gorillas. A person below 15 years of age is considered to be a child who cannot deal with the apes in case of any negative change.
Gorilla trekking is not entirely a safe process and these animals are still wild though habituated therefore they can change their behaviors against the tourists but people above 15 are believed to be matured enough and can cope up with the changes of the apes.
Why Uganda Gorilla trekking age limit is 15 years.
Gorilla trekking age limit in Uganda currently is 15 years and anyone below this age is considered a young and vulnerable person and therefore not fit to trek the gorillas. In most cases, persons below 15 have unpredictable characteristics that may lead to change of the primates’ behaviors. An example is when a gorilla tries to fume or come near a visitor in the presence of a child, she may decide to run or scream hence disorganizing the gorillas. Here the gorillas may react by attacking the trekkers as a way of defending itself and the family. Therefore, the only way of minimizing such incidents is by discouraging 15 below trekkers in the park.
Another reason why the trekking age limit is 15 years for both Uganda and Rwanda Gorilla national Parks is because these national parks are strenuous to hike and therefore requires a physically fit individual. People below 15 years of age are rendered weak and vulnerable and therefore cannot cope up with the difficult hike in Bwindi, Mgahinga and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Some parts of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park like Nkuringo and Rushaga are so steep and hence difficult for children to hike.
The gorillas share 98% DNA with humans therefore they can easily be affected by human diseases. Children (below 15) usually carry communicable diseases like flu, cough which can easily be transmitted to the mountain gorillas hence leading to their death and decrease in their number. The mountain gorillas are very rare species and they can only be spotted in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo in their natural habitat. This therefore means that the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development Board look for all possible ways of protecting and conserving the few remaining gorillas thereby limiting children from trekking.
Instances where children below 15 years of age can trek.
In Uganda, children below the age of 15 are sometimes allowed to trek the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The minors can trek as long as their parents follow the right procedure. The parents have to proof to Uganda Wildlife Authority how physically fit their child is even though he or she is still a minor. The parent should provide the current picture of the child to UWA for examination who will then give you the feed back. Adventure in the Wild safaris, help you to deal with all those processes quickly as long as you contact us. We shall also book the gorilla trekking permits for your child from UWA.
In most cases, children whose birthdays are nearing 15 years may trek the mountain gorillas. For example, a child who is in his/her late 14 and about to clock 15 years is most likely to trek as they are considered matured in the mind and physically. The parent of the child will have to submit in a letter to the Uganda Wildlife Authority requesting and informing them about the age and physical status of the child. An attachment of the child’s valid passport and current photos will be very important for easy clarification of your child by UWA. After the approval is given, our company will request you to make payments for the permits and we book for your child a trekking permit in advance.
Another instance where a minor is allowed to trek is when they are doing the trekking activity together with their parents. The parents have to sign a consent and liability forms from Uganda Wildlife Authority so that the parents is in charge of anything that may happen to the child while in the park. Adventure in the Wild Safari will help you to pick your liability forms from UWA office, scan and send for you to sign and then send back. On approval, we shall book for your child his/ her gorilla trekking permit.
Why Adventure in the Wild Safaris.
Adventure in the Wild Safaris is a local tour operator within Kampala operated by local people who are fully aware of both Uganda and Rwanda’s tourism. We deal with many parks in East Africa including Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. When interested in gorilla trekking with your child of 15 years and below, please contact us or otherwise bring your child along and leave him/her with our trained staff. Your child can be taken for a guided nature walk, cycling, birding among others as you do your gorilla trekking.
Adventure in the Wild safaris can also organize for you a combined gorilla trekking and wildlife safari including boat cruise, game viewing and cultural performances. You can opt to book our 3 day gorilla safari and 5 Day Gorilla and Wildlife Safaris. Please contact or send us an email in case of any question regarding gorilla safari for minors.