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Gorilla Watching Rules for Uganda Visitors

To protect the gorillas and visitors, the following rules must be adhered to:

  • No one with a communicable disease, such as flu or diarrhea, is allowed to visit the gorillas.
  • Do not surround the gorillas but remain in a tight group.
  • Leave a distance of at least 5m between you and the gorilla. If they approach you, move back slowly.
  • Flash photography is strictly forbidden.
  • Do not eat or smoke with 200m of the gorilla.
  • f you need to sneeze or cough, turn away from the gorillas and cover your nose and mouth.
    Do not spit on vegetation or soil while in the park.
    When with the gorillas, avoid making loud noises or sudden movement.
    Contact time with the gorilla is strictly limited one hour.
    No person under 15 years is allowed to track gorillas.
    All litter must be removed from the park for disposal.

To be able to track gorillas, you must follow all the rules that are instructed by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA)

On the way to see the mountain gorillas:

  • A maximum number of 8 visitors may visit a group of habituated gorillas in a day. This minimizes behavioral disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human borne diseases.
  • Always wash your hands before you head out to the gorillas.
  • Do not leave rubbish in the park. Whatever you bring into the forest should be carried back with you.
  • On your visit, you will be taken to where the guides left the gorillas the day before. From there you will follow the gorillas’ trail to find them. Look out for the gorillas nesting sites along the way.
  • When you approach the gorillas, the guides will inform you when to get your cameras ready.
  • Please always keep your voices low. You will also be able to observe the great bird life and other wildlife in the forest.
  • When you are with the gorillas
  • Keep a minimum of 7 metres from the gorillas. This is to protect gorillas from human diseases transmission.
  • You must stay in a tight group when you are near the gorillas.
  • Keep your voices low at all times. However, it is okay to ask the guide questions.
  • Do not eat or drink while you are near the gorillas to reduce the risk of disease transmission.
  • Sometimes the gorillas charge. Follow the guides example crouch down slowly, do not look the gorillas in the eyes, wait for the animals to pass. Do not attempt to run away. Running away will increase the risk of attack.
  • Flash photography is not permitted when taking pictures, move slowly and carefully.
  • Do not touch the gorillas, they are wild animals.
  • The maximum time visitors are allowed to spend with the gorillas is one hour to limit their disturbance. If the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide will end the visit early.
  • After the visit, keep your voices down until you are 200 metres away from the gorillas.

General health rules

  • Remember gorillas are very susceptible to human diseases. The following are ways to minimize the risk your visit might pose to them:
  • Respect the limit imposed on the time that visitors are allowed with the gorillas each day. This minimizes the risk of disease transmission and stress to the gorilla.
  • If you are feeling ill, or have a contagious disease when you are already at the park, please volunteer to stay behind. An alternative visit will be arranged for you, or your money will be refunded as per gorilla reservation guidelines.
  • If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the gorillas, please turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order to minimize the spread of bacteria of viruses.
  • Always stay 7 metres away from the gorillas. The further back you are, the more relaxed the group will be.
  • Do not leave ant rubbish e.g., food wrappers in the park. Such items can harbour diseases or other contaminants.
  • If you need to go to the toilet while in the forest, please ask the guide to dig you a hole and ensure that you cover it when you have finished.
  • Any breach of these rules may lead to termination of tracking without any refund.