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Understanding the Minimum Age Requirement for Gorilla Trekking

The Uganda Wildlife Authority, Rwanda Development Board, and Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature have established the minimum age for gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo respectively.

The minimum age for gorilla trekking is 15 years old, meaning children under the age of 15 years will not be allowed to trek mountain gorillas.

However, we can help your kids who are as young as 10 years to trek gorillas in Uganda.

Our success rate with under-age waivers is good.

Get in touch with us here.

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5 Main Reasons why Gorilla Trekking Age Limit was introduced

Below are some reasons why the gorilla trekking age was established:

  1. Children are, in most cases, prone to communicable diseases and can easily spread them to mountain gorillas, which are vulnerable during the trek.
  2. Another reason for setting the minimum age for trekking gorillas is that it’s unpredictable how children will react when they see mountain gorillas.
  3. Children may easily become frightened, panic, and run away, potentially leading to a dangerous situation where a mountain gorilla could attack. The responsible authorities, like UWA in Uganda, request a client’s copy of a passport to verify their age, or you may be asked to bring a copy of your passport on the morning of gorilla trekking. During the briefing before embarking on gorilla trekking, rangers will prevent anyone underage from trekking with mountain gorillas.
  4. The minimum age for gorilla trekking has been established because sometimes mountain gorillas may become irritated by human presence in their natural habitat. In case gorillas exhibit threatening signs of attack, there are specific rules to follow to de-escalate a potential gorilla attack. However, children might get scared and scream when gorillas start showing signs of aggression, increasing the risk of a gorilla attack on the group.
  5. Mountain gorillas inhabit higher elevations that require a certain level of physical fitness. Children may become very tired and cause the trekking group to lag behind. Additionally, children are naturally playful and may wander off the designated trekking trail, making it difficult to trace a lost child in the jungle.

Children under the age of 15 are not the only ones prohibited from gorilla trekking; individuals with infectious diseases like coughs and flu will also not be allowed to trek with mountain gorillas.

This is because mountain gorillas can easily contract human diseases, and their immune systems are vulnerable, which can lead to the death of many.

So how do you go gorilla trekking with kids?

gorilla trekking with kids

While there is an age limit in place for gorilla trekking, it is still possible to trek with children who are at least 10 years old and in good physical condition.

These children should also be active in sports and have prior hiking experience.

A tour operator, such as ourselves, can assist you in this process.

We will draft a letter to the Executive Director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, accompanied by a supporting letter from you, requesting an underage gorilla trekking waiver.

The approval process typically takes about a week.

Once it is successful, you will need to present the same letter at the park headquarters to allow your child to trek with you.

Additionally, you will be required to sign another waiver on-site, acknowledging your responsibility for any actions or shortcomings caused by your child during the trek.

Below is an example of what the main underage waiver looks like:


And below is the document you have to sign to finalize the process:


In conclusion, if you are under the minimum gorilla trekking age, you should not book gorilla permits, as you may end up wasting time and money.

Gorilla permits should always be booked in advance before arriving in the country due to high demand, as you might travel there and find no permits available.

We can help your kids who are as young as 10 years to trek gorillas in Uganda.

Our success rate with under-age waivers is good.

Get in touch with us if you need this service.

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