Can You Look at A Gorilla in The Eye?
Can you look at a gorilla in the eye? This is one of the common asked question by the travelers who are planning for gorilla trekking tours, as wondering about their huge size and strength.
Can you look at a gorilla in the eyes? The answer is no! If you attempt to look directly into the eyes of a gorilla ‘’silverback, they may think you want to challenge them and the best advice to avoid such challenges during your Gorilla trekking tour always look down.
For such matter, a typically gorilla family is headed by one dominant silverback who provides protection with an open eye to challenge and defeat anyone or anything that interferes with the peace of the family –group.
One of the gorilla trekking key rules and regulations is not to look at gorilla’s eyes. You looking directly in gorilla’s eyes ,they will feel threatened and you have to look down modestly.
Therefore, during trekking time a traveler or tracker have to be humble in the presence of a silverback gorilla. If you attempt to look directly into the eyes of a gorilla, it means to them that you’re an enemy who has come to disrupt the family and you are ready to challenge the gorillas.
However, direct eye contact with gorillas can therefore, trigger the silverback to charge and fight you in defense of his group. If you want to keep peace with gorillas, always avoid direct eye contact with gorillas.
Naturally, gorillas are very shy creatures, like humans, so staring directly into their eyes makes them feel uncomfortable and insecure and when disrupted by your direct eye contact, they can aggressively charge at you to defend themselves.
On your gorilla trekking experience, tourists will be briefed at the park headquarters about the rules or guidelines of trekking mountain gorillas. During the trekking time you will be accompanied by a park ranger guide through the process and in case of any changes in gorilla’s attack, the visit will end early to avoid miss attacks which may lead to loss of life or wounded.
Other gorilla’s rules and regulations;
Before a tourist head out for gorilla trekking you should make sure you’re in good health because mountain gorillas are vulnerable to human diseases which can easily cause death yet they are critically endangered.
When in the presence of mountain gorillas, you’re advised to look away or cover your nose while sneezing and if illness is detected you might return back to the lodge.
While trekking mountain gorillas, tourists are not allowed to use cameras with flash light which make gorillas scared and if you’re using a phone with flash camera better switch it off, to avoid uncomfortableness in gorillas.
Visitors are not allowed to smoke, eat and drink in the inhabits of gorillas because food stuffs dropped might cause some infections or diseases to our cousins.
While trekking mountain gorilla’s tourists are advised to keep their voices lower, loud voices will make gorillas feel threatened.
You should stay in tight groups during the time of observation. When mountain gorillas attempt to charge at you always stay calm.
Travelers planning to visit or trek gorillas in Uganda, you can trek them in two national parks Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park and Mgahinga Gorilla national park, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and two national park in Democratic Republic of Congo –Virunga national park and Kahuzi Biega national park. Gorilla trekking experiences –Uganda charges USD700 ,Rwanda Charges USD1,500 and Congo offers the cheapest permits at USD400. Gorilla trekking is an activity that starts early in the morning after briefing about gorilla’s rules and regulations .You will then hike into the forest in search for them with a park ranger ,hiking may take 30 to 7 hours to allocate gorilla depending on their movements on that particular day .After locating gorillas ,trackers will be allowed an hour to be in the presence of human close relatives that share 98% DNA.
While planning to go for a gorilla trekking trip, it’s good to keep in mind that endangered mountain gorillas live on higher elevation that often receive rain and you will need to hike in tropical forest to find gorillas. So you need to carry with you right essentials like water proof hiking boots. garden gloves, long sleeved, warm clothes, rain coats, enough mineral bottled water and insect repellents among others.