What if my child is less the age limit but is physically fit? Can he trek gorillas?
Gorilla trekking is best described as a lifetime experience and most significantly, it comes with strict rules and regulations of which age limit is one main area of concern. Usually, before you set off to take part in this life-changing experience, it is significant that you take time and look at all the requirements that you need whether you intend to track mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The most important factor every intending trekker must look at is the accepted age limit or rather the minimum age for one to take part in this tremendous primate adventure. Gorilla treks are conducted in habituated groups of Bwindi National Park, Mgahinga National Park-southwestern Uganda, Virunga National Park eastern DRC and Volcanoes National Park Northwestern Rwanda.
Mountain gorillas are listed as the most endangered species with not more than 1004 of them now left on earth. Given their current status, a number of measures have been put in place to ensure that they are well-protected and that they continue thriving for now and future generations.
The one important measure is age limit where all the 3 countries where these creatures thrive have agreed that only persons above 15 years are eligible to purchase a gorilla permit that allows a person to track one habituated family.
There are many reasons that explain this and they include-the fact this creature share about 98 per cent of their DNA with humans, they susceptible to human infectious diseases and usually, children are prone to contagious diseases that can easily spread to these creatures and to avoid such cases, the policy was devised that in order for someone to take part in this lovely adventure he or she must be above 15 years.
The other reason is that it is not easy to predict children’s behaviour or how they can react in the presence of a group of mountain gorillas especially at a time of magical encounter with them in the wild. Such unpredictable behaviours may make these creatures charge which may cause harm to other people as well.
In most cases, children can easily be frightened and in the process, they can shout or even opt to run away thus irritating gorillas. Also, treks to see mountain gorillas can be that tiring and requires some physical wellness for you to hike through the thick rainforest and steep slopes.
However, to a certain extent, the age limit can be reconsidered especially if the parents can prove that the child is about to get to his or her 15th birthday. Meaning, he or she is in the late 14th and strong enough to hike through the rainforest in search of habituated family. This means that a parent of that child must provide details of the minor or a child and this should include the current photos and passport.
Gorilla trekking minimum Age and permits
To be part of gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda or DR Congo, a permit is a must to have and only persons above 15 years are eligible. In Uganda, you can obtain one at $700 per person, $1500 for those of you who wish to track gorillas in Rwanda Volcanoes National Park and $400 in DR Congo. You can obtain your permit through a ground tour operator/company by contacting the reservationist or through reservationist of respective authority and in Uganda, you can contact reservationist at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), in Rwanda-the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and in DRC-the Virunga national park authority. You are encouraged to book for your gorilla permit early enough to avoid any kind of disappointment.
In conclusion, in order for you to track gorillas, a number of strict measures do apply and age limit is one of them. This is of benefit to you as a trekker and also to gorillas themselves.