It is very true that minimum age for gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Volcanoes National Park in Uganda and Rwanda respectively is 15 years and above. This is seriously enforced in both Uganda and Rwanda. There however some instances where a child below 15 years may trek gorillas. That said and done, all park authorities are very serious when it comes to age limit to the extent that passport details will be requested before a gorilla permit is issued. On the day of trekking gorillas, each tourist will also be requested to produce an original passport so as to make sure that all those that will trek gorillas are of the right age.
Instances where a child below 15 years may trek gorillas
There two instances where Uganda Wildlife Authority may allow a child below 15 years to trek gorillas. When the child is about to celebrate his or her 15th birth day, both Uganda and Rwanda gorilla authorities may extend sympathy to such a child and allow him or her to trek gorillas. The second instance where a child below 15 years may trek gorillas is when much as he/she is below the required age expresses maturity and is physically strong. If the above are assessed and the child qualifies, authorities may decide to give that child a chance to trek gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda. If you have a child in such categories, please contact Encounter Africa Safaris who will in turn contact Uganda Wildlife Authority if it will be possible for your child to trek gorillas and if it is approved, we will let you know. Uganda Wildlife Authority reserves all rights to allow or not to allow children below the age of 15 to trek gorillas.
The second option for where children below the age of 15 years may trek gorillas is where the parents express their desire for their children to trek gorillas. Parents are supposed to confirm and should be willing to trek with their child. In the event that parents are confident and willing to adhere to the above, they will be informed to sign a document or agreement know as THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA WAIVER AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY AGREEMENT such that if anything happens, the parents will be liable. For more information about Uganda Wildlife Authority waiver and release of Liability, kindly contact Encounter Africa safaris. Do you have a child below 15 years but almost nearing his/her 15th Birthday and you want him/her to trek gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park? Do not hesitate to contact Encounter Africa safaris for details.
Encounter Africa safaris will assist you in contacting Uganda Wildlife Authority and picking the WAIVER AND RELEASE LIABILITY AGREEMENT on your behalf. We will scan and send you a copy which you should sign and return it us by email so that we forward it to Uganda Wildlife Authority. Once this is received and confirmed, Uganda wildlife Authority will then issue a gorilla permit for your child and he/she will be able to trek gorillas in Uganda.
There so many reasons as to why children below the age of 15 years are not allowed to trek gorillas both in Uganda and Rwanda. Notable reasons include the fact that children tend to have communicable diseases that may be easily transmitted to mountain gorillas which are already endangered. Children are also un predictable since you can never tell how they will behave when they encounter a given family of mountain gorillas. In order to avoid all these, by law, all children below 15 years are not allowed to trek gorillas except on the above mentioned instance and subject to permission from UWA in Uganda and Rwanda development board for Volcanoes National Park.