Gorilla trekking in Congo is a life changing experience that anyone shouldn’t miss out while in his or her safaris in Africa. Gorilla safaris in DR Congo are conducted both in Kahuzi Biega National Park where Eastern Lowland gorilla trekking adventures take place and Virunga National Park for mountain gorilla tours. Spending one hour on face to face encounter with these magnificent primates sparks a thousand imaginations for a few endeavors that make it up to beautiful protected areas of this country. Gorilla adventures have become the most sought after by most trekkers but what is age limit for gorilla trekking in Democratic Republic of Congo?
The minimum age for gorilla trekking safaris in DR Congo is very crucial. The age limit for gorilla trekking in Congo is fifteen (15 years) and above. There are several reasons that explain this; the rare mountain gorillas are among the world most critically endangered primates and they remain about 880 in the entire world. Persons below 15 years fall under the category of children! Such persons therefore are prone to infectious diseases and so they can easily transmit them to the mountain gorillas at an encounter with these endangered apes in the wild. To curb this crucial impact, the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) together with stakeholders that are involved in protection of these endangered species came up with this minimum age for gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega National Park.
Also it is difficult to predict how children below 15 years can behave at a moment when they meet these amazing creatures on face to face. Persons under this age may tend to take off other than submitting to the mountain gorillas in case the apes charge against human presence in their community and by doing so, these primates can be forced to forced to follow visitors who are tracking them given the fact that they are wild animals even if they are fully habituated.
Mountain gorilla adventure isn’t all that secure and the fact that they are wild animals in the jungles the way behave may also change based on the atmosphere surrounding them. However, persons beyond 15 years are can help themselves in case of anything and they are mature to understand and obey all rules for gorilla trekking in the course of the trek. Like any wild primate, these endangered apes are also emotional; they become fearful and scared especially for strange things that take place in their refuge say flashlight cameras. This kind of behaviors can make the mountain gorillas charge against humans based on what they may perceive, feel or get overwhelmed or when they feel challenged in their home so the best way is for them to revenge to protect themselves.
Children below the age of 15 can easily be frightened by mountain gorillas which may make them to start screaming and this kind of behavior can easily culminate into an intense irritation behavior between the primates in the forest. They will take such behavior like there are intruders in their habitat of which they can turn to be harmful to humans at a moment. To minimize this kind of experience, the age limit for gorilla trekking in Democratic Republic of Congo is strictly fifteen years and above across its two protected where mountain gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas are trekked each day. The thick vegetation and many trails in Virunga National Park may also be a challenge for children below 15 years to locate in case they get off track.
Finally, children are naturally playful and this behavior can slow down the speed of trekkers and it affects the guides work as well as other members’ experiences given the limited hours that is given for trekkers to be in the forest with mountain gorillas. To avoid this behavior, the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) has managed to restrict children from gorilla trekking by use of a gorilla permit which anyone who is interested in this life time experience must have. The tour operators or conservation authorities will request for your passport copy to ascertain if your age and if you are identified to be less than 15 years, you will not be allowed to go for gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park.