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Gorilla Hikes / Asthma

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
144 posts
23 reviews
Gorilla Hikes / Asthma

We are in the beginning stages of planning a trip to Uganda/Rwanda and have been using this forum extensively as part of that planning (thanks to everyone for the great information you have been posting). As you can imagine, visiting the Gorillas is one of the main reasons for our trip. My wife has asthma. Although it will not impair her hiking abilities (we hike a lot), the combination of altitude and effort might require her to take out her inhaler. I have read over the health rules as it pertains to these hikes. Does anyone have any sense of whether the use of an inhaler on the hike would cause any concerns with the guides?

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
16,413 posts
13 reviews
1. Re: Gorilla Hikes / Asthma

You should tell the rangers (or have your guide tell them) in advance so that they can assign you a place in one of the more accessible groups. (We only tracked them in Rwanda, where the different groups have greatly varying degrees of accessibility; not sure if this is true of the groups in Bwindi.)

There was a woman with asthma on one of our hikes. She didn't tell the rangers beforehand and we were assigned the most remote group (Susa). She had a very difficult time--the combination of the altitude and the arduous terrain took a lot out of her and she seemed genuinely miserable. So it's really in your best interest to be up front with the rangers (and pay for one of the walking sticks they offer at the trailhad--this is not a time to prove your vigor!)

Regarding the inhaler: their primary concern is that people will spread bacteria or viruses to the gorillas. Since asthma isn't communicable, it shouldn't be a problem. That said, if she starts coughing a lot in the presence of the gorillas, they may lead her away. I don't know for sure, but it wouldn't surprise me if they did not want her to use the inhaler near the gorillas.

Hope that helps. You're in for one of the most unforgettable experiences of your lives!

Edited: 22 January 2010, 04:14
7 posts
2. Re: Gorilla Hikes / Asthma

I think it would be unwise for many members to advice on the issue. I am sure you all look forward to this unforgetable moment, and you certainly do not want to be disappointed on the spot itself, so my sugestion is why not contacting UWA (uganda Wildlife Authority) and asking them the same question

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
144 posts
23 reviews
3. Re: Gorilla Hikes / Asthma

Thanks everyone for your replies. We are close to booking the trip and your insights are appreciated.

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
39,807 posts
445 reviews
4. Re: Gorilla Hikes / Asthma

From experience the ONLY items you are allowed to take on "the final approach" to your group is your camera! Your Back pack, bumbag etc., are left some distance back with your Porter. Gorillas have been known to 'aquire an interest' in your equipment, such as handling a Camera Tripod or trekking pole. That is why you must not eat or smoke in their presence.

An Inhaler may cause a problem. Do check.

5. Re: Gorilla Hikes / Asthma

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