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-----------------Towns and Cities------------------
---National Parks and Wildlife Reserves---
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Katonga Wildlife Reserve
Kibale Forest National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park
Lake Mburo National Park
Mga Hinga National Park
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Murchison Falls National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park - Ishasha
Queen Elizabeth National Park - Mweya
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Semliki Game Reserve
Semliki National Park
--------------Special Interest Areas---------------
Budongo Forest Reserve
Crater Lakes Kaberole District
Kalinzu Forest Reserve
Mabira Forest Reserve
Mpanga Forest Reserve
Ngamba Island Reserve
For those planning on trekking Mountain Gorilla's in Uganda, Rwanda or the D.R.Congo the following briefing imformation would apply equally well in any of the 3 countries where you may trek Mountain Gorilla's.
Much of the extract has been taken from the printed leaflet by the Uganda Wildlife Authority 'Gorilla Rules' with additional information added.
HOW ARE YOU CONTRIBUTING TO THE CONSERVATION OF THE MOUNTAIN GORILLAS:
The mountain gorillas (Gorilla Gorilla Berengie), the world's most endangered ape, is found only in small portions of protected afro montane forests in northwest Rwanda, southwest Uganda and eastern DRC. The mountain gorilla is one of many species unique to these forests. The forests are also home to many wonderful birds, primates, large mammals, reptiles, insects and plants and also ensure continued water and medical plant resources for the local communities.
The mountain gorillas are divided into two populations and current figures estimate the total population to be about 600 individuals. One population is found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP), in S.W. Uganda, covering about 330km2, and the ecologically homogenous (salem flora and fauna), covering three contiguous National Parks in three countries.; Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcano National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, covering an approximate total area of 300km2.
The threats to the remaining gorilla population and its habitat are many. One of these threats is the possibility of disease transmission form humans to gorillas and vice versa. In order to address the issue of potential disease transmission to the gorillas and to mitigate behavioral disturbances to this fragile population, the gorilla rules have been developed.
By following these rules and through the purchase of the permit, YOU too are contributing to the conservation of the mountain gorilla. Uganda Wildlife Authority uses the funds generated from the sale of this permit for the management of the National Parks. A percentage of the funds raised from Park entrance fees are also donated to local communities living adjacent to the parks to contribute to their development and improve natural resource management in the region.
BEFORE DEPARTING ON YOUR GORILLA TREK:
Always wash your hands before you head out to the gorillas.
ON THE WAY TO THE GORILLAS
a) A maximum number of 6 visitors (8 in DR Congo and if trekking one of the larger groups in Rwanda) may visit a group of habituated gorillas in a day. This minimizes behavioral disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases.
b) Please always keep your voices low. You will then also be able to observe the great bird life and other wildlife in the forest.
c) DO NOT leave rubbish in the park. Whatever you bring into the forest should be carried back out with you.
d) You will be taken to where the guides observed the gorillas the day before. From there you will follow the gorilla's trail to find them. Look out for the gorilla's nesting sites along the way!
e) When you approach the Gorillas, the guides will inform you to get ready.
WHEN YOU ARE WITH THE GORILLAS:
a) A 5 meter distance should try to be observed at all times (15 feet) from the gorillas. This is to protect them from catching human diseases.
b) You must stay in tight group whey you are near the gorillas.
c) Keep your voices down at all times. However, it is OK to ask the guide questions.
d) Do not eat or drink while you are near the gorillas. Eating or drinking inevitably will increase the risk of food/drink morsels/droplets falling, which could increase the risk of transmission of diseases
e) Sometimes the gorillas charge. Follow the guides example (crouch down slowly, do not look the gorillas directly in the eyes and wait for the animals to pass). Do not try and take pictures and do not attempt to run away. Running away will increase the risk.
f) Flash photography is not permitted! When taking pictures move slowly and carefully.
g) Do not touch the gorillas. They are wild animals. They might look cuddly but!!.
h) The maximum time you can spend with the gorillas is one hour. However, if the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide will finish the visit early.
i) After the visit keep your voices down until you are 200 metres from the gorillas.
GENERAL HEALTH RULES:
a) Remember gorillas are very susceptible to human diseases. The following are ways to minimize the risk your visit might poses to them:
b) Respect the limits imposed on the number of visitors allowed with the gorillas each day. This minimizes the risk of disease transmission and stress to the group.
c) If you are feeling ill, or you are carrying a contagious disease, volunteer to stay behind. An alternate visit will be arranged for you, or you will be refunded your money.
d) If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the gorillas, please turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order to minimize the spread of bacteria or viruses.
e) Always stay 5 metres (15 feet) away form the gorillas. The further back you are, the more relaxed the group will be.
f) Do not attempt to touch the gorillas.
g) Do not smoke, drink or eat when you are with the gorillas.
h) Do not leave any rubbish (eg. food wrappers) in the Park; foreign items can harbor diseases or other contaminants.
i) If you need to defecate, whilst in the forest, please ask the guide to dig you a hole with his panga. Make sure the hole is 30cms deep and fill it in when you are finished.
An essential reference website for those planning to be part of a visit to a Mountain Gorilla family should checkout Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe (Mountain Gorilla & Rain Forest Direct Help)
http://www.berggorilla.de (English language text version also) Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe has been dedicated to the conservation of gorillas, especially the mountain gorillas, and their habitats since 1982.
Concept: Uganda Travel Planner (U) Ltd. http://www.traveluganda.co.ug Copyright Uganda Travel Planner 2001-2007