Gorilla tracking is one of the most carried out tourism activities in Uganda and Rwanda. Each year, so many tourists visit Uganda and Rwanda to have close encounters with these primates that live in the forests of Bwindi and Mgahinga in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Congo. This activity however, has some rules and regulations and among them is a rule that restricts people of a certain age from trekking mountain gorillas. So what is the minimum age / age limit for gorilla tracking in Uganda, Rwanda & Congo? This is exactly what i want to air out in this article but before we proceed, i have taken time to write articles about how best you can organize gorilla safaris in either of these countries and also pointed out a few gorilla tracking companies that will organize for you exceptional gorilla tours. You might want to check out my Uganda gorilla trekking review, Rwanda gorilla trekking review and Congo gorilla trekking review
So did you just travel with your young ones and doubt their eligibility for tracking mountain gorillas? If they are 15 years and above then you need to worry less because that’s the minimum age limit for gorilla tracking in Uganda, Rwanda & Congo. Any persons below that age are not accepted unless special arrangements are made between the tourist and each of the responsible bodies that govern gorilla tracking in any of these countries.
These special arrangements can only favor children who are 14 plus years old, at least 5.8 inches tall (6.0 inches tall to be safe) and just months away from making 15 years. You shouldn’t question this because i have made similar arrangements before only that i did it for Rwanda! Uganda definitely has it as well but your success rate depends majorly on how you request the authorities and convince them to allow your 14 year old to join you on the trek.
Usually a letter is written prior to accompany your passport as you purchase permits but to be on a safe side, endeavor to delegate this task to your tour operator because they are more knowledgeable about this and perhaps, they could also have established relationships with officials that issue permits which might just simplify the entire process. Fact is it becomes hard for a tourist to convince these officials personally but through an operator, you might not find a lot of complications. Please note that gorilla tracking cannot be considered a very safe activity and usually a lot of precautions have to be taken.
These mountain gorillas have emotions too and can mean to be aggressive at times especially when scared by camera flashlights. A kid who is at least 15 years of age can easily take precautions and also be attentive during the pre-briefing meeting which is ideal for any trekker. These forests are also thick with just tiny paths in between, implicating any unguided funny movements are not recommended especially for kids who might find a hard time tracing their way back.
Lastly, kids are naturally playful and might slow the pace of the person responsible for them which indirectly affects the rangers and the group at large despite the limitations on the amount of time you are supposed to spend in the forests. A kid who is at least 15 years of age will easily follow instructions and be less playful whilst on the trek. The minimum required age is 15 but like said before, you could have some favor if your child is 14 and about to make 15. Any child below the age of 14.5 will not be allowed to trek mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo.