We all know how the COVID 19 pandemic has disrupted travel worldwide. With the vaccines now being effectively distributed, countries are opening their borders once again. If you are planning to dust off your backpack and catch the next plane, then the best choice at the moment is the famous gorilla trekking in Africa.
However, gorillas and humans share similar DNA, and this makes them vulnerable to our illnesses, especially human-borne respiratory infections. Though it is soon to say how wild gorillas will react to the COVID 19 virus, it is our responsibility as sensible tourists to take the necessary precautions to keep us safe and also these endangered species.
To make life easier for everybody, this guide is to help you plan your post-covid gorilla trekking in Africa more wisely. Follow these basic steps and you are all set for your unique and magical wildlife experience with the mountain gorillas.
Best place for gorilla trekking in Africa
If you are looking for memorable gorilla safaris and wildlife adventures, then try visiting Uganda, Rwanda, or DR Congo. These are the only regions in Africa where mountain gorillas are commonly seen. In Uganda, the gorilla trekking takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Trekking in Rwanda mainly occurs in Volcanoes National Park. It is home to 12 habituated mountain gorilla groups and is one of the best places to see the mountain gorillas in Africa. Before the virus outbreak, 96 people were permitted every day. Now, the number is reduced to only 72.
Best time to visit
Although gorilla trekking in Africa is possible throughout the year, it is better during the dry seasons from June to September and from December to February.
Procedures for gorilla safaris during COVID 19
1. Before traveling
About 120 hours before your journey to Rwanda, a passenger locator form needs to be filled out and submitted with passport information, travel details, hotel booking confirmation, and a recent negative PCR COVID-19. Upon submission, you will receive a confirmation email with your Unique Health Code. This code needs to be presented on your arrival.
2. After arriving at the airport
At the airport, you will have to produce a COVID 19 negative certificate and undergo a basic check-up for symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath, or loss of speech. You may also have to take another test, the result of which will be available in 24 hours, and in the meantime, you will be quarantined in the hotel that you have booked prior to the journey.
3. On your trekking adventure
There are authorities monitoring the SOPs and measures at the different national parks. Compulsory wearing of face masks, keeping social distance from both the gorillas and other trackers, and COVID negative test certificate dated less than 24hrs are some of the common regulations.
Getting permits for gorilla trekking
Permits can be easily availed through a local tour operator or by directly contacting the corresponding authorities like Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development Board, depending on the place you are visiting. You will have to pay USD1500 for the permit in Rwanda, USD700 in Uganda, and USD450 in DR Congo.
If by any chance your trip is canceled, then you can easily get a refund. There is also an option to reschedule to a future date at no extra cost.
Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!
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