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.
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.