Who can track the gorillas
Trackers must be fit and in good health. Tracking in thick forest at heights of up to 3,000 metres, traversing steep-sided mountains and ravines, can be arduous, especially if it is wet. To protect gorillas from disease, no children under 15 are allowed to go gorilla tracking. People who are ill on the day of the tracking may be denied. To minimize the possible transmission of human diseases, visitors are asked to maintain a distance of seven metres (about 22 feet) from the gorillas.
Gorilla tracking permits
Only a limited number of permits are available in each gorilla park. It is therefore essential to book well in advance. Permits need to be paid for at the time of the initial safari booking so that they can be purchased immediately. A delay in payment can result in permits not being secured for the intended dates. A percentage of the gorilla permit fee goes to communities living around the gorilla parks.
Gorilla tracking permits are non-refundable, except for medical reasons, in which case a medical certificate must be provided. Gorilla viewing can occasionally be denied at short notice because of National Park or border closures, security changes or gorillas moving out of range. In such rare circumstances, refunds are at the discretion of the authority and are not within the company’s control. Obtaining a gorilla permit therefore is not a guarantee of seeing a gorilla.
Gorilla tracking rules
At the National Park headquarters, ranger guides explain the rules for tracking gorillas. These are designed for both you and the gorillas’ protection and must be followed.
One hour is allowed with the gorillas, at a distance of at least 7 metres. Flash photography is not permitted, so fast film is useful (400-1600 ASA). Personal DVD recorders are allowed. Professional film makers require permission to film in the National Parks and need to purchase filming permits. This can be arranged through the Volcanoes Safaris sales team.