Gorilla trekking is one of the best and memorable experience in Uganda or Rwanda. Many tourists travel to Africa purposely to see these beautiful creatures and most of them worry about their lives because they don’t know what lies ahead of them while in the jungle. Tourists need to know that before embarking on gorilla trekking in either Bwindi Impenetrable national park or Volcanoes national park that the rangers or guides take through them on how to behave when with the gorillas, what to take for gorilla trekking and how they can protect themselves in case the gorillas charge at them. You might be asking your self what makes gorillas to charge you and how do they charge. You should bear in mind that 98 % of gorilla charges are always intended or faked to check whether the people coming to them are friendly or enemies. The gorillas move in groups and the head of the group is Silverback and blackback as the second leader so these two are in charge of protecting other members and they charge when they notice an intruder or lead you to their fellow members once they notice your friendly. Below are the reasons that make gorillas charge during trekking;
The park authorities always habituate gorilla groups first for about 1-2 years, habituations is intended to make gorillas get used to humans and stop being wild at them, the fully habituated gorillas families will turn wild again when its not visited frequently and it will always charge at people whenever they approach it.
Gorillas normally pretend to be minding their own business when actually they are observing every movement of the visitors. The visitors are advised to keep submissive while in the presence of the gorillas and avoid behaviors that may make gorillas angry like jumping up and down or screaming in case the insect bites, Keeping eye contact to a particular gorilla. In human life they always say that keeping an eye contact is a form of confidence but when it comes to gorillas its dangerous because they are shy so keeping an eye contact with them makes them uncomfortable and they may charge at you.
Un habituated silverback is wild and it is not used to human presence, when such a silverback takes over a habituated family, it will always be aggressive and charge at people not allowing them to meet other members.
Gorillas are wild animals and they are not used to bright colors, they stay in the wilderness where their surroundings are ever dark or dull for example soils and trees, so wearing bright colored clothes like orange, red, pink may affect their mood negatively and they charge at you. So its advisable to wear dull colored clothes like black or green when going to meet gorillas.
When you are close to the mountain gorillas, Its advised to keep at least a distance of 7 meters, mountain gorillas remain wild animals however much they are habituated, so getting too close to one of their members will make them suspicious and take it as an attack which will make all of them charge and attack you. If mountain gorillas come close to you its better to retreat in a comfortable manner to a safe distance so as to keep order and enjoy their presence.
The maximum number of people to visit a certain mountain gorilla family is 8 people, If the number exceeds 8 the mountain gorilla will be uncomfortable and may decide to hide or charge at you because they are not used to many people or crows.
In Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo there is a specific time for spending with the mountain gorillas which is one hour per group, this time is set to allow gorillas do their activities such as feeding, breast feeding and many more, if a certain group of mountain gorillas is visited many times a day or for a long time this will make them uncomfortable and hide or charge at you. This act will spoil your day and safari.
It’s advisable to avoid making unnecessary noise when you’re in the presence of mountain gorillas in Volcanoes, Bwindi or Mghahinga Gorilla National Park. Mountain gorillas are used to quiet and calm environment so if you make noise or shout trying imitate their words they will automatically charge at you. It’s better to leave your guide help you to talk to them rather than making your noise and causing problems.
Trekking mountain gorillas in either Uganda, Rwanda or DR. Congo is a desirable experience which needs one to take photos videos and memories for remembrance, it’s advisable to turn off the flash cameras when taking videos or photos of these beautiful creatures since flashes rise their curiosity and they may end up charging at you hence causing problems.
When trekking in the wilderness or jungle in Bwindi, Virunga or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, you might meet a wild mountain gorilla group and since it is not used to the presence of people, the group will be aggressive and charge at you thinking that you’re the enemies, In this case your tour guide will give you instructions to follow so as to create order and make sure that your safe.
When visiting mountain gorillas, your advised to keep a distance of at least 7 meters, tourists are told to keep at a safe distance to avoid distracting the mountain gorillas. If you accidentally surround the gorilla family they will interpret it as an attack and they will try to hide or attack you.
The main aim of visiting mountain gorillas is to have a chance and experience how it feels to be with these beautiful apes in their natural and wild state. Mountain gorillas stay in the wilderness or jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable national park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Volcanoes national park, these area usually dark and at some point, you need a torch to create more visibility. You should avoid torching directly at these creatures in the eyes especially the young mountain gorillas and silverbacks because their fellows might charge and attack you. This act will decrease the chances of spotting more creatures .
Mountain gorillas have family issues like human beings. You might visit a certain mountain gorilla family when its in a bad mood due to fights or other issues, these apes will charge at you because at that time they can be in need to be left alone , you will be attacked incase you try to be adamant or refuse to retreat .
In case these creatures attack you, its advisable to pretend as if nothing has happened and try to be submissive, mountain gorillas run faster than humans so never at any time run away. Since gorillas like to be superior try to lie down and be humble they will obviously know that you’re a friend and spare your life.
The tours featured throughout our website are intended to give you ideas for what’s possible when you travel with us. Treat them simply as inspiration, because your trip will be created individually by one of our specialists to match your tastes and budget.