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Visiting the Congolese gorillas in virunga National Park

Visiting the gorillas is an incredible experience. The animals are truly enormous, but they are also good-natured and playful, living up to their reputation as "gentle giants."

You will have the opportunity to observe the gorillas for up to an hour. Gorillas may surround you while playing and eating in the trees, or the family may be at rest in an open grassy area. As you walk through the family you must keep a distance of at least seven meters. If a gorilla family consists of more than ten individuals, then we allow a group of six tourists to visit. We have five families that can be visited and have a maximum capacity of 26 tourists per day.

The treks leave from one of three patrol posts, with several rangers and trackers to accompany you. Bukima post, the most popular with tourists and closest to Goma, has a basic tented camp for overnight stays. Treks can take from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours to reach a gorilla family, often moving through dense forest and across steep hills, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. Weather conditions can range from sunny and warm to cold and rainy, so come prepared for both.

Because Mountain Gorillas share 98% of our DNA, they are highly susceptible to human disease. Any person can unknowingly transmit dangerous bacteria or a virus, including the common cold. For this reason, visitors represent a potential threat and are required to wear a surgical mask provided for you when you reach the gorilla family. If you don't feel well, have a fever, diarrhea, or a persistent sore throat; please do not visit the gorillas.

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