Trekking with mountain gorillas in Africa takes travelers hiking through dense forest in East and central Africa in the Virunga conservation region stretching within borders of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. Gorilla tracking in Africa takes a group of 8 visitors in search for an assigned gorilla group guided by local expert tour guides, escorted by armed trained guards and porters to help carry tourists backpacks. Watching gorillas in the jungle is an incredible experience and unbeatable and absolutely worth all the hustles of hiking.
Is gorilla trekking responsible
This is a very important question, Mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringe) are endangered species which were at a verge of extinction had it not been the conservation and protection efforts of Dian Fossey the American Primatologist who dedicated her life to protection of mountain gorillas in central and East Africa. By the late 1970’s the entire gorilla population numbers had gone less 400 individual gorillas which was quite alarming. Gorillas were nit protected and were facing quite a number of problems like uncontrolled poaching, civil wars, encroachment on their habitat, diseases.
Gorilla trekking has greatly promoted conservation of mountain gorillas in the different national parks located; Uganda – Bwindi impenetrable forest & Mgahinga national park, Rwanda – Volcanoes national park and Democratic Republic of Congo – Virunga national park.
From the 1990’s gorilla numbers have steadily increased with increased popularity and conservation efforts with the most recent ongoing census in the Virunga conservation region showing numbers upto over 1000 gorillas existing today. Gorilla tourism has been very fundamental for improving gorilla numbers as its the main income generating source for funding for managing and ensuring protection of gorillas in their habitat.
In Rwanda, sales from gorilla permits contribute over 90% of Rwanda Development Board overall country’s wildlife conservation efforts as well community development projects or locales neighboring wildlife national parks.
Gorilla trekking has become a valuable adventure activities for the governments as well as local communities. The locals are employed in tourism, poachers have turned into security guards and park wardens. The survival of mountain gorillas has become a community and overall country responsibility.
Gorilla tourism is carried out in a responsible and organized way, with a set of rules, which are strictly set out for visitors going to visit Gorillas. Gorillas share 98% human DNA, which makes them very vulnerable to human infections, but with low immunity levels, which means if they caught a human infection, they can even die from it.Therefore a number of rules apply for gorilla trekkers including Not going to trek when ill, maintaing a distance of 7 meter from the gorillas and many others.
In conclusion gorilla trekking is the major income earner for gorilla conservation works hence the great need to encourage travelers to involve in gorilla tours in Africa. Each gorilla permit sale ensures protection, medical services, security for gorillas in the jungle. In addition gorilla tourism create hope and opportunity of local communities surrounding national parks. These are communities which are hazily populated with high poverty levels, with the introduction of profit sharing model, local communities benefit from gorilla tourism