Gorilla trekking is one of the key reasons why thousands of tourists visit Rwanda or Uganda because it is an exceptional activity conducted within only three countries of the World that include Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In most cases, the issue of safety and security as far as gorilla trekking is concerned has been a subject of debate for tourists across the globe. But did you know that a face to face encounter with the mountain gorillas is safer than encountering any other wildlife species? Yeah that’s the fact and on your next gorilla safari, do not be worried of the experience;

Safety of Countries

When it comes to security of the countries, Rwanda and Uganda are very safe for tourists to visit. Most tourists are always scared of guerillas and not gorillas, which is why the Governments of these two countries are doing the best to make sure that tourists are safe. When venturing into the jungles, tourists track gorillas in the company of armed rangers and an experienced tour guide.

The Actual Gorilla Visit

When it comes to interaction with the mountain gorillas, it is totally safe because these creatures are very gentle and not aggressive as they are portrayed. Before tourists are allowed to go on gorilla treks, these great apes undergo a habituation process for over three years to make sure that they get used to human presence. Tourists are only allowed to track habituated gorilla families that are now used to the presence of humans hence are not dangerous to tourists who visit the Parks to track them. Habituation of the mountain gorillas usually takes 2-3 years then mock trials are conducted before they are fully tracked by tourists.

Gorillas are very peaceful creatures! If you have ever watched the King Kong movie, you will see how these creatures are portrayed which is contrary to what they are. They are very friendly until provoked, and will respond by beating their chest. However, the fact that they are wild animals, is should not be ignored that they can turn aggressive and hence to ensure safety and security, several rules and regulations (guidelines)-with dos and don’ts exist to ensure safety of the tourists and tourists as well.

Protective Set Guidelines

Before a tourist is allowed to enter the National park for gorilla trekking to search for the Mountain gorillas, he or she has to first attend a pre-tracking briefing at the park Headquarters–to understand what to do or not to do during gorilla trekking. What every tourist needs to understand is that the critically endangered mountain gorillas are not aggressive and dangerous as long as they are relaxed and not disturbed.

You will be guided by Rangers

The park rangers are very clear and critical on the issue of distance (7 meters away from the Mountain gorillas) which is the accepted distance for tourists when observing the Mountain gorillas. If the mountain gorillas come closer, do not run away but extend away slowly or sit until these animals move away from you.

Pay Respect to Your Hosts

Like in human behavior it is important to respect the homes of the hosts. You are just a visitor not the owner of the home. Tourists are not allowed to eat or drink in the presence of the Mountain gorilla family. You can eat when you are not in the presence of these creatures. Tourists are advised to avoid staring directly into the eyes of the Mountain gorillas because these animals can perceive it as a provocation and hostility. In case they charge, you look away which shows submission

Speak quietly when tracking or when with the mountain gorillas because noise startles them and avoid making fast and sudden moves because it is perceived as a threat to these exceptional primate species.

Also, avoid using flash cameras when taking photographs because it also scares them and can make them to charge. These stringent rules and regulations (guidelines) are supposed to be followed by every tourist/gorilla trekker with non exception of everyone. In case the rules and regulations are followed to book, there is no way that the Mountain gorillas-known to be Gentle Giants would become aggressive to anyone.

In conclusion

Mountain gorillas are safe to be tracked within Rwanda and Uganda because they have undergone 2-3 years’ habituation to make them used to the presence of humans and there are no guerillas due to the increased security around the National parks and the countries in general.

Thinking and imagining of traveling this season, most people will have at the mind relaxing or chilling with a cocktail and picture with perfect scenery. Prior to traveling, you need to plan for your journey first whether it will be budget or luxury. When you are planning, you need to remember that you do not need a big budget because a big budget means big spending.

What should I consider when choosing a destination?

Before you select which type of trip to undertake, whether luxury, you should have to consider the following

Looking for less expensive destinations to travel to

To many travelers, finding a destination that cannot drain your savings should be made a priority. Before you do anything, look at your savings before to choose the destinations to travel too.

Travel in Groups

For any safari lets say if you are to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda, Uganda or Congo, it will be more enjoyable and adventurous to trek since you will not get bored when you are with people who speak the same language. Travelling in group will help you save money as you will have to share some of the cost. These include transport fairs, tour guide salary, and at times accommodation if you are to book a twin or double room.

Look for discounted packages

You are advised to   look for packages with lower rates. In particular you should look at accommodation rates, transportation and the activities you will engage in during your travel. Many travel companies do display these discounted rates on their websites therefore, you should always look for discounted packages which may suit your savings.

Bed and Breakfast

When you are planning your safari, you should not opt for very expensive hotel. Today, with the advancement in technology you can stay in a very beautiful and less costly hotels which are locally termed as bed and breakfast.

To Flying or Not To Fly

We have advised many clients that it is not a must that when you are traveling to Uganda you have to get a flight. If you are traveling from the neighboring countries,  you can travel by road  such that you can save money.

The peak season

After saving, many tourists prefer traveling during this period of time.  At this time, almost all hotels are booked up.  Instead of being driven, you can go for a self drive when you are driving a rented car, you will be in position to save money.

Look for travel campaigns

There have   been travel campaigns being initiated online by companies and individuals since 2015. In these campaigns, trips do involve a big group of people to places like national parks for a weekend and most of them sleep in tents. In these campaigns, the accommodation, food, music and drinks are catered for on the money you pay.

Look for budget airlines

An air ticket is one of the major things that make traveling expensive, so be read to search for cheaper air fights. There a number of airline on line which offer cheap flights through the African continent. These can go as low as $200.

Rwanda is one of the fast developing tourism destinations in Africa. Located in Central Africa, Rwanda has always been a peak tourist destination for gorilla trekking safaris in Africa and a reason for many to visit the “Land of Thousand Hills” a small cleanest country in East Africa region.

Today, Rwanda has turned into a luxury destination for gorilla safaris due to the increase of its gorilla permits from $750 to $1500 per a trek year round.  The announcement was made by Rwanda Development Board (RDB) on 6th May 2017 in Kigali. Taking you back, Volcanoes National Park is a home for mountain gorillas, six of the eight Virunga Volcanoes. The park offers the great experience to see and track mountain gorillas as well as golden monkeys in Rwanda.

However the situation will benefit Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo since the price for the single gorilla permit is enough to book a private tailor made tours to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga National Park and one in Virunga National Park. However, there are several benefits of the gorilla permit increase like the chance to track the entire gorilla family with exclusive park rangers at only $15000 per a trek.

Another exciting offer is that Rwanda offers family travelers who seek for great time and moments together as a group. Imagine tracking a particular gorilla family alone with your close relatives without any other intruder in the well conserved bamboo forest as you feel the natural surroundings of the jungle and its habitats.

Also travelers visiting other Rwanda national parks like Akagera National Park and Nyungwe Forest for a minimum of 3 days will get a 30% discount on their Rwanda gorilla permit. However, this offer works best for travelers interested in tracking mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and game viewing. If you also planning to visit Rwanda for a conference and also do the gorilla trek, be ready to get your 15% discount on your gorilla permit.

Other activity fees in Volcanoes National Park like golden monkey trekking, Dian Fossey Hike and Volcano hiking never changed.

There is also good news to the local community living adjacent to the park. Good news also goes to the nearby communities close to Volcanoes National Park will receive 10% instead of the initial 5%. This will improve and develop many community projects that will benefit the community today and tomorrow. Water supply systems, hospitals, schools, business centers are the main target for community development programs under Rwanda Development Board.

Ms. Clare Akamanzi the Chief Executive Officer at Rwanda Development Board said that “gorilla trekking is a highly unique experience. We have raised the price of permits in order to ensure sustainability of conservation initiatives and enhance visitors’ experience. We also want to make sure that the communities living near the park area receive a bigger share of tourism revenues to fund development projects and empower them economically.”

To make luxury tours a success, several new luxury Rwanda lodges have been opened in Musanze. These include Bisate Lodge and the One and Only Gorilla’s Nest Lodge.

South African Air­ways is offer­ing a good deal for econ­omy roundtrip travel from U.S. gate­ways to Johan­nes­burg. From now through April 30, 2010, you can fly roundtrip from New York (JFK) or Wash­ing­ton Dulles (IAD) for $950 per per­son. (Of course, you’ll also pay approx­i­mately $140 for the required gov­ern­men­tal taxes, depar­ture fees, and the Sep­tem­ber 11 secu­rity fee.)

Sim­i­lar low fares are also avail­able from other U.S. cities.

South African Airways

South African Air­ways is run­ning a promo for roundtrip econ­omy air from New York or Wash­ing­ton, D.C., from Novem­ber 1–December 9, 2009 and Jan­u­ary 7–April 30, 2010. The roundtrip price is $930 per per­son. Sim­i­lar fares are avail­able from other U.S. gateways.

Here’s the fine print: Fare is for travel in econ­omy class and inclu­sive of fuel sur­charges. Valid for travel Novem­ber 1 to Decem­ber 9, 2009 and Jan­u­ary 7 to April 30, 2010. Seats are lim­ited and may not be avail­able on all flights. Travel taxes are addi­tional. Can­cel­la­tions before depar­ture are sub­ject to a $250 penalty and no shows are non-refundable. After depar­ture, tick­ets are non-refundable.

Changes prior to depar­ture are not per­mit­ted. Changes after depar­ture are sub­ject to a $250 fee. Tick­et­ing must be com­pleted within 48 hours after reser­va­tions are made. Max­i­mum stay is 12 months. Fare does not include (a) Pas­sen­ger Facil­ity Charges of up to $18 USD depend­ing upon the itin­er­ary cho­sen (b) Fed­eral Seg­ment Fee of $3.60 USD per flight seg­ment (flight seg­ment is defined as one take­off and one land­ing) © Sep­tem­ber 11th Secu­rity Fee of $2.50 USD per flight seg­ment that orig­i­nates at a U.S. point (d) inter­na­tional gov­ern­ment taxes and fees of up to $200 vary­ing by des­ti­na­tion and cur­rency exchange rates at the time of pur­chase. Addi­tional bag­gage charges may apply.