Gorilla Trekking Age Limit. How old must you be to track gorillas

Gorilla trekking is one of the most enjoyable wildlife encounters. You get to go through dense jungles and spend time with endangered mountain gorillas in the wild. The feeling of being in the presence of these gentle giants is impossible to describe and unforgettable.

These gorillas can only be seen in the Virunga Massif, which lies Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Gorillas are very sensitive animals, and disturbances in their habitat can affect their behavior and well-being.

Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development Board are in charge of protecting and conserving the endangered mountain gorillas. In order to reduce any disturbances that may be caused by inexperienced or unfit trekkers, they set age limits for gorilla trekking.

Uganda Safari Holiday

What is the age limit for Gorilla Trekking?

The minimum age for gorilla trekking is 15 years. This means that children under the age of 15 will not be allowed to trek mountain gorillas. On the other hand, there is no maximum age limit for gorilla trekking.

Reasons for the Age Limit

Physical Demands

Gorilla treks can take 1 to 6 hours of hiking through dense forests and sometimes steep terrain before you find the gorillas. These hikes tend to be strenuous and so young children may become tired and slow down the tracking group.

Young children are also more likely to have accidents as they may encounter steep slopes, thick vegetation, and uneven ground that need a reasonable level of physical fitness and stamina.

hiking to the gorillas

Children’s Safety

Young children may not be able to fully understand the trekking guidelines such as maintaining silence in the presence of gorillas.

Also, children’s reactions to seeing mountain gorillas can be unpredictable. They might become frightened, panic, or run away, which could endanger both the trekkers and the gorillas. Besides, children are naturally playful and may wander off designated trekking trails yet tracing them in the thick forest may be difficult.

Health Reasons

We share around 98% of our DNA with gorillas and the risk with that is that we can transmit diseases to them, and vice versa. Gorillas can catch communicable diseases like cough and flu from humans which young children are more likely to suffer from. These diseases could potentially infect the gorillas during close encounters.

Photography guidelines

Conservation Priorities

Mountain gorillas are an endangered species, with only a few hundred individuals remaining in the wild. Conservation efforts in Uganda and Rwanda are focused on protecting these endangered animals and their fragile forest habitats.

Limiting the age of gorilla trekkers helps reduce the number of visitors which in turn reduces the overall impact of tourism on the gorillas’ natural environment. This helps to ensure that their natural behaviors and ecological needs are prioritized.

Preparing for Gorilla Trekking with Children

While the minimum age limits for gorilla trekking are in place to regulate participation, children above 15 years of age can still participate in the activity and need to be prepared well for the experience.

Before planning a gorilla trekking adventure with children, you should consider the following:

  1. Choose a reputable Tour Operators: You need to choose a reputable tour operator with experience in organizing family-friendly gorilla trekking expeditions. As Primate World Safaris, we have been in operation for more than 10 years and have created amazing gorilla adventures for many families. We prioritize safety, sustainability, and responsible tourism practices.
  2. Prepare Your Child: You need to prepare your children for the physical and emotional challenges of gorilla trekking by discussing what to expect during the trek. Please emphasize the importance of following the guide’s instructions, respecting wildlife, and practicing responsible behavior in the forest.
  3. Pack Appropriately: Remember to pack essential items such as sturdy hiking boots, lightweight clothing, insect repellent, sunscreen, and a refillable water bottle for you and the children. You should also consider bringing snacks and entertainment options to keep them engaged during breaks in the trek. You can also take a look at this complete packing list for gorilla trekking to guide you on what to bring along for trekking
  4. Talk to our team: There are some tracking zones where the terrain is slightly easier. By letting us know of this ahead of time, we can plan such that your gorilla trek is in a slightly easier area.
  5. Think about getting Porters: Porters help pull or push you as you navigate the steep tricky terrain of the thick forests where gorillas live. Considering that you have day packs for you and your children, porters might come in handy. We can organize and get some local porters from the nearby communities to help you carry you throughout trek at an extra cost.
  1. Consider Alternative Activities: If you intend to travel as a family and some children are below 15 years old, other activities can be arranged on the day of gorilla trekking. These may include guided nature walks, community visits, or birdwatching.

Talk to our team to advise on what would work best for your family.

Other Gorilla trekking guidelines

  • Do not visit the gorillas if you have a cold or other infectious illness
  • Human waste should be buried 30cm (12 inches ) deep
  • Maximum number of visitors is eight persons per gorilla group
  • Maintain a 7m (21ft) distance from the gorilla
  • Do not eat or drink while you are near the Gorillas.
  • If you must sneeze or cough cover your face and turn away from the gorillas, as they can catch coughs and colds from humans
  • Visits are limited to one hour per gorilla group per day
  • Do not use flash photography.


Gorilla trekking is a bucket-list-worthy experience that offers you the opportunity to connect with nature and support conservation efforts of the mountain gorillas. But, it’s important to be aware of the age limits before planning to go for this experience.

Remember that while there is an age limit in place, it’s still possible to go gorilla trekking with children who meet the minimum age requirements and are physically fit.

If you intend to travel as a family and some children are below 15 years old, we can arrange other activities for them while you go trekking. In our experience, when communication is done right and ahead of time, there is always a way for us to organize your trip so that you and your children have a fully enjoyable experience that caters to everyone’s needs.

We would love to hear from you about any questions you have about gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda, or any other thing in which we can help. If you are thinking about planning a trip, take a look at some of our itineraries to inspire your next great adventure.