Is Gorilla Trekking Safe?
Visiting mountain gorillas only takes place in the Virunga volcanic chain which stretches covering parts of Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park of Rwanda, Congo’s Virunga national park and Uganda’s Mgahinga national park. Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable national park is another place where one can visit gorillas with half of the total mountain gorilla population which is about 880 individuals according to the 2012 gorilla census. Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda and Uganda is the leading foreign exchanger earner and hence a great need for the respective countries to ensure the security of gorilla tourism.
The nature of mountain gorillas is very intriguing that you would actually consider to travel all the way to Africa’s tropical rain forests to track these human like endangered creatures in their natural habitant. The biggest question of all at the back of your mind when your in the early stages of planning your adventure is whether its safe to actually meet gorillas at a close range??
Looking at the side of security, In Uganda and Rwanda, armed tourism police has been places all round the forests to ensure maximum security of travelers. It should also be noted that trackers are escorted by armed tourism police who follows behind the group.
On the side of gorillas
Gorillas are just like man, gentle, peaceful and can only become a threat to trackers when they sense danger, but otherwise, once you follow all your guides instructions, you have nothing to fear. A tour to go see gorilla in Africa is one of the most enjoyed African journey and this is the reason why quite a number of travelers are going into Rwanda and Uganda just to trek these gentle giants.
The actual gorilla safari in Africa importantly begins with briefing from an experienced ranger guide about how to conduct during the hike. At this point, you are given an overview of how the whole tracking experience will be and guidelines.
On a single day, small groups of 8 people are led into the forest to go track a gorilla group for one hour led by two ranger guides one at the front of the group and the other at the end of the group. The front guide clears the thick vegetation with his machete while the back guide makes sure no one gets left behind in the forest. Trekking with the gorillas requires you to be in good shape as it involves hiking and climbing through slippery terrain.
The ranger guide constantly receives communication from his colleagues who go into the forest early morning to trace the actual location of the gorillas. Your guide will be informing you as you get nearer to the gorilla positions. A number of rules have been set that trackers have to follow so that they don’t threaten gorillas.
- Its important to keep a distance of 7 meters from the gorillas, if a gorilla comes very close to you, remain still until it goes away.
- speak quietly
- Don’t make sudden movements as they may feel threatened
- Be very submissive, don’t look directly into its eyes, i may think your challenging it
- Don’t use flash camera, it may scare the gorilla