While other safaris can accommodate nearly everyone, gorilla trekking has its specific age group. Before you think about this lifetime adventure, it is important that you get to know if you are eligible to undertake gorilla safari in Uganda and even other destinations in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Getting a permit is a strenuous factor of its own and minimum age another significant that should be put into consideration when it comes to mountain gorilla safaris. You realize that even in the society certain things are done by a specific class of people and you will wonder why children aren’t part of this tremendous primate adventure. The fact that children can easily get frightened by these huge apes which at the end renders them to scream loud something that may make these apes to charge against visitors while in the forest.
Because of this, the set minimum age plays a significant role as such behavior can be avoided if such people can withstand the behavior of these rare specie as visitors are always considered as foreigners in their home and they can easily cause harm to such people. To minimize such bad experiences minimum age is applied for primate adventures in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. For visitors who intend to undertake this life changing adventure, you must be above 15 years or else you won’t be allowed as this is the accepted age limit that is the agreed age by all the park authorities in respective countries.
Anyone below 15 years is said to be a child by all standards and they are not accepted to go for mountain gorilla trekking in any of the listed protected areas. It is believed that persons below 15 years are very vulnerable to human infectious diseases that can easily spread to these critically endangered species in the course of trekking. To reduce such risks, respective conservation authorities and stakeholders agreed on the above mentioned minimum age.
As well, it is also very challenging for one to predict how the children under 15 years can behave in the course of face to face encounters with these dramatic creatures in the wild. It is believed that children may simply opt to run away rather than scouting or bowing down when the gorillas charges against them something that may make the gorillas to also follow trekkers despite the fact that they are habituated. Note that gorilla trekking is not safe throughout and given that these are wild animals, their behavior can easily be triggered based on the mood and surrounding factors. Persons above 15 years are believed that they can easily help themselves just in case of any dangerous behavior while in the jungle and most importantly, they are adults meaning they can understand and abide by the set rules and regulations in the destination. Like humans, mountain gorillas are equally emotions; they are fearful and scared by strange occurrences in their habitat take for instance the flash lights from the cameras. They can become irritated depending on what they feel, in most cases get overwhelmed and feel challenged in their habitat and the best that they can do is fight back in self defense.
Also, these wild creatures also thrive largely within thick forests and given the nature of the habitat, children may not be in position to catch up with the map of the area and in case of any off trail it can be a challenging to trace. Besides, they are naturally playful and can slow down the whole process. Usually, the tour operator or park authority will request for you to present a copy of your passport when you are booking for your gorilla trekking permit. And in case they find out that, you are less than 15 years, you will automatically not be issued with a permit.
Even when you succeed in getting a permit up on booking, still you may not run away for ever and you will be spotted on the actual trek. Prior the actual trek, an early morning briefing is conducted by park official all tourists are required to present their original copies of passports for verification and for any doubts you might be required to present a birth certificate and when it is confirmed that in deed you are under the set age limit, you won’t be permitted to go for gorilla trekking.
In conclusion, gorilla trekking is a strenuous experience that needs some physical wellness in you and persons below 15 years may not be in position to bear with steep slopes and thick forests as they look out for a gorilla family as the time is unpredictable as when a group can be found.