Gorilla trekking is one of the most intimidating adventures compared to any wildlife experiences thus leaving majority in wonders if it is really safe. When one thinks of a gorilla trip, safety becomes an area of concern! But the truth is that this primate adventure is indeed a wonderful one and remarkably a lifetime experience that any traveler needs not to miss to take part while on safari in Africa. A close interaction with these huge apes while in their natural is ideally very safe that you need not to have worries about compared to even other wildlife safaris that you may imagine about. First, to ensure that visitors are safe while on actual trek, there are set rules and regulations that every trekker must observe at all times and these are briefed to visitors before they depart in search of their assigned habituated gorilla family. While in the wild, the park ranger guide who accompanies visitors also keeps reminding his group of the same dos and don’ts. Despite efforts to secure your stay in the wilderness, your safety starts with you first and this means you have to be keen and always observant enough!
Briefing is usually done at the park headquarters mainly to outline the general manner in which every trekker should behave while in the jungles with these creatures. Note like other species, mountain gorillas are equally wild creatures and they are humble, gentle unless irritated just like any creature that they can charge against you and perhaps cause harm that is why there are set rules and regulations governing the whole experience.
In most cases, the ranger guides are too specific when it comes to maintain a distance of about 7 meters away from these creatures at all times. No eating, smoking, drinking is allowed in the presence of gorillas. Direct eye contact should be avoided as they can misunderstand it as being hostile a factor that may make them irritated. Just in case a group of these massive creatures get close to you, you are expected to stand still, avoid touching them and let them go. You are supposed to keep your voices low at all times while in the jungles searching for these creatures. While taking their photos, flashlight cameras are not allowed and if yours has one, you are advised to turn it off before taking photos. With also these dos and don’ts well observed, your safety with these creatures becomes a sure deal.
Besides, treks are conducted within habituated groups only and to habituate one, it takes a period of about 2 years as a way to make them familiar to humans. Also, park officials are very keen on the dangers that are likely to occur and they are updated on current security issues. In addition to park rangers, there are also other security organs that work together with rangers to ensure that the area is safe and secure and they include tourism police as well as Uganda Peoples Defense Forces. So far, Uganda Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park as well as Rwanda Volcanoes National Park are very safe destinations unlike the DR Congo which is still recovering from insecurities.
While on a trek, no trekker goes to the forest alone but rather with one armed park ranger guide and tracker. All these is intended to boost visitor safety in the wild and no need for you to be surprised once you find a person with a gun. A side from this, you should consider observing the set rules and regulations a must. Your dress code also should be environmentally friendly and please, avoid any bright colors. Normally, interested trekkers on this adventure need to have good waterproof hiking boots that are light weight, rain jacket, gardening gloves, first aid kit, insect repellents, long sleeved shirt/t-shirt, trousers, socks and others.
In conclusion, gorilla trekking is a very safe adventure and can be done at any time of the year. You ought to observe the set rules and regulations and you will have the best of this primate experience. For any plans to track mountain gorillas in Uganda simply contact our selected tour operators and partners listed on this website.