This AOS destination is mainly for the gorilla tracking. The mountain gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Berengei) of whom only about 600 still exist, is one of our closest living relatives, yet ironically, it is mankind that poses the greatest threat to its survival. To visit these noble creatures in their own environment is an experience you will never forget. Accompanied by a park guide and a bush cutter, we track these gorillas through the rain forest. The gorilla families have been habituated to tourists and their whereabouts are monitored daily by the guides and park officials. It may be necessary to trek for quite a while through the dense forest vegetation (up to 5 hrs) in order to reach the family designated for your visit.
As gorillas are sensitive to human diseases, the park authorities will not allow anyone they consider to be in poor health to visit the gorilla groups and children under 15 years of age are not allowed to visit. You need not feel that you are exploiting these animals – for years they have been ruthlessly hunted for their hands and heads, which have been sold as a souvenir ashtrays and lampshades. In addition, large numbers have been killed whilst trying to stop poachers stealing babies for sale to zoos, where they have never lived long. As a result, the ever-growing number of tourists to see them is an important factor in their survival.
The gorilla fees help to set up and finance patrols that are instrumental in protecting the gorillas from poachers and their lethal snares. It is also important to note that, although the groups have been habituated, they have not been tamed and their behavior is not demonstrably different from that of the non-habituated groups. Nobody forces them to stay with us for the allotted hour, and they can fade into the forest as you appear, if they wish to do so.