Although extremely worthwhile, the trek to reach the gorillas can be very arduous! The slopes of the volcano are steep, you may well end off scrambling off the beaten path, and the air is thin here at 3000m above sea level.
We are informed about the Gorilla Code of Conduct which we are to adhere to at all times:
1. Minimum distance you should get from any gorilla should be 7m. This is to prevent the transmission of airborne diseases that can travel considerable distances.
2. No visit should be longer than one hour from first sighting of the animals. The longer the viewing time, the greater the exposure to human diseases.
3. We recommend that you should not take food with you on a visit to the gorillas. If food is taken then it should be eaten a minimum of five minutes walk from the gorilla group and all remains must be removed from the park. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, to prevent the attraction to, and conditioning by, human food, secondly disease from humans can live on these food remains.
4. You should go to the toilet before commencing the visit to the gorillas. If you have to go to the toilet then you should dig a hole of at least 50cm and treat the faeces with antiseptic solution before filling the hole. This is to avoid the contamination of the gorillas by human germs. Gorillas are known to eat faeces and soil hence these precautions.
5. Please remove all litter. Absolutely nothing must be left including biodegradable litter. This is to preserve the ecology of the park and to avoid the spread of diseases.
6. If you are sick you should not visit the gorillas. This is to prevent exposing the gorillas to human diseases that they may not have any resistance to. If you do need to sneeze or cough in their presence, turn your head away and cover your mouth.