How Safe Is Gorilla Trekking In Uganda and Rwanda
How Safe Is Gorilla Trekking In Uganda and Rwanda? Safety of a destination is key when booking any Africa Safari destination. No one would like to return home in a coffin after freely booking a gorilla trekking holiday. Personal safety is important during gorilla trekking in the jungles of Africa.
In Uganda and Rwanda, gorilla tracking is considered the leading tourist activity to book. The security of those intending go gorilla trekking is top concern. In Uganda, mountain Gorillas are found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgaihinga National park. In Rwanda, volcanoes National park is the gorilla trekking destination. For D.R.Congo Virunga National park is the gorilla trekking destination.
The Virunga region and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park share boarders with the Democratic republic of Congo a country considered to be highly unstable. In eastern Congo, there several factions of rebel groups including Allied Democratic Front, intarahamwe from Rwanda and other rebel groups fighting for supremacy of the area and to top off the elected government of DRC.
Because of the above, gorilla trekking can be mistaken to be a high risk activity yet a highlight on any Uganda or Rwanda safari. In 1999, an intarahamwe short dead some tourists in Bwindi Impenetrable national park sending signals of insecurity in the forest and the region at large
Because of the above, there has been several efforts to ensure security prevails in this region. The United nations has a peace keeping force in this region with Uganda and Rwanda deploying on respective boarder posts.
In Bwindi Impenetrable national Park, gorilla trekkers are escorted by Uganda Tourism police as well as Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers to ensure safety and security of tourists. In instances where tourists require to wakeup early driving to the starting point of gorillas, they are escorted to ensure that nothing happens to them .
Uganda introduced the tourism police that coordinates with other Uganda security organs to keep peace and stability in this area. No one is allowed to enter the forest without the escort of a ranger guide.
In Rwanda, the government has great interest in the safety of the tourists since gorilla trekking is the biggest foreign exchange earner for the country.
How Safe is doing Gorilla trekking ?
Gorilla trekking is very safe despite the fact that you have to hike plateaus and ridges to locate them. Mountain gorillas families that are visited by tourists are habituated first from being wild to get used to the presence of humans without altering there nature. Habituation takes 3-5 years followed by a mock exercise before it is open to tourists. A lot of research and documentation about the behavior of each individual member of a gorilla family are noted down to enable even the new ranger guide to have a clue about them. just like humans, mountain gorillas also get mood swings and display odd behavior towards each other.
What Else To See During Gorilla trekking In Rwanda And Uganda
Bwindi Impenetrable national Park and Volcanoes national park are primate safe havens. Numerous primates love to munch on the freebies of these ancient forest and spend there days here to groom the new generations of there species.
Some of the primates in this area include chimpanzees, golden monkeys, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, red colobus monkeys, black and white colobus, potto, L’Hoests’, Olive baboons, bush babies and others.
Other wild animals in the forest you may get to see include forest elephants, buffaloes , duikers, Water busks, giant forest hogs among others. The fact that trekkers are always moving on foot, chances of encountering such animals are high. What governments of Uganda and Rwanda have done is to ensure that tourists are escorted with armed rangers and tourism police to make sure that wild animals trying to be hostile are scared away although such cases are rare.
To some it all, gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is safe and can be enjoyed by any one at any time as people like Bill Clinton, Bill Gates and others have successfully trekked gorillas
How To Personally Be Safe For Gorilla trekking
Carry the right gorilla trekking gears when departing home for this Africa Safari. Pack items like tracking boots to wear in the jungle, first aid kit to use for emergency treatments, garden gloves to protect your palms from stinging nettles and others. Safety starts with you as a person going for gorilla trekking safari
Do not carry a lot of valuble for your gorilla trekking safari because these may attract thieves to follow you incase they get to notice. Although you need to carry some cash during gorilla trekking safari, carry limited cash that won’t cause alarm just in case someone spots it. On arrival, declare to the lodge manager your valuables as some lodges have safes where they can be stored until your departure.
When counting money, do not do it in public to avoid catching the eye of thieves.
Never eat from undesignated food centers because you may get food poisoning which may ruin your gorilla trekking experience.
In case you have to enter the forest, request for a ranger guide and never enter the forest alone because there are others wild animals too.
Stay close to your gorilla trekking group to avoid getting lost in the forest. The ranger guide follows the slowest trekker but do not try to deviate from the rest of the group.
After briefing at the ranger station, ensure you follow the instructions given by the ranger guides during gorilla trekking. The rules of gorilla trekking help you have a smooth trek and cause no alarm to forest dweller that would through them into a rampage. Some of the rules to be keen with include no provoking the mountain gorillas, keep a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas when you locate them, no eating before the mountain gorillas and others.
How To Book Gorilla Trekking permits In Uganda and Rwanda
In Uganda, Uganda Wildlife Authority is the gorilla permit selling body while in Rwanda, Rwanda development Board is the gorilla permit selling body.
If you have a date when you want to do gorilla trekking, and enquire from a tour operator like Encounter Africa Safaris, a safari consultant has to check availability.
In case there are still permits available per your date, you are requested to purchase it as soon as possible. The tour operators have access to availability of gorilla permits but not reservation. Anytime anyone can purchase all these remaining permits and cause you to alter your planned date. Gorilla permits are sold according to first come first served basis.
Making payment for your gorilla permits is the only way to show commitment to your gorilla trekking safari.
Later you have to provide personal details like full names on your passport, nationality, date of birth, passport expiry date and other. These are fed to your gorilla permit card in Uganda and in Rwanda these are kept in records. After gorilla trekking, each person is awarded a certificate of accomplishment as souvenir for having participated in gorilla trekking.
How Much Is a Gorilla trekking Permit
These funds contribute to the gorilla conservation fund and making payment for the salaries of Uganda wildlife Authority staff like ranger guides and wardens.
The gorillas fall severely sick or are trapped in snares at times and require medical care. The gorilla doctors have to administer medication even though mountain gorillas are wild and have to search for own medicines amongst wild plants.
20 % of the proceed accrued from the sell of gorilla trekking permits annually are repatriated to the local community to help in supporting community projects. Some of the community schools are built from these funds, road maintenance, buy scholastic marterials for children and others. This is one of the ways of including the community in the conservation benefits of the highly endangered mountain gorillas.
When Is the best Time To book a Gorilla Trekking Permit
Booking in advance your gorilla trekking permit saves you the trouble of panic to acquire permits at the last minute.
To be safe, atleast 90 days to the date of gorilla trekking is the best time for last minute booking of your gorilla permit. This is especially common in the peak season June to September and December to mid January when holiday travel is at its peak world wide.
Limited gorilla permits are available per day maximum 8 permit per day per gorilla family yet the demand is high. This is the reason for selling the gorilla permits on first come first served basis.
This policy cuts across Uganda and Rwanda to allow all early birders get permits instead of those who book them and may change there minds later. Booking a gorilla permit is the only way to show commitment to taking your Africa gorilla trekking safari.
In Uganda, you need to know where your gorilla trekking permit is booked before securing accommodation. This is because Uganda Wildlife Authority sells the permits according to area. Bwindi impenetrable National Park is dived into four gorilla trekking areas that is Buhoma area, Ruhija area, Rushaga area and Nkuringo area.
Crossing from one area to another of vast Bwindi Impenetrable National Park may be long so you need to overnight within or close to this area. Waking up early to drive and catch up with briefing in another area is inconveniencing and tiring even before starting the trek.
Which accommodation to Book For Gorilla trekking In Uganda and Rwanda
Rwanda and Uganda have a variety of accommodation facilities you can secure for your gorilla trekking safari nights. The accommodation facilities range from Luxury accommodations to Midrange facilities to budget accommodations. They offer arrange of services from full board to Bed and Breakfast others offer restaurant and bar services distinctive of the lodge price. Ask about all these details before booking the accommodation facility in case you are a DIY
Gorilla safari accommodation in Uganda are booked based on the area where your gorilla permit is booked because of the vast size of Bwindi impenetrable National Park
In Rwanda, a variety of accommodations you can book are located in Kinigi and others in Kigali city but you need to wake up early to catch up with early morning briefing. The drive from Kigali city to Volcanoes National park is about 2 hours and 30 minutes so rise up early enough to get on the road.
Gorilla accommodations to Book in Uganda include Gorilla Safari Lodge, engage lodge, Clouds lodge, Buhoma Lodge, volcanoes Lodge, Bwindi view Bandas, Silverback lodge, Treker’s Tarven, Mahogany springs and others.
Rwanda gorilla trekking accommodations include Sabyinyo Silver Back Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Kinigi Guest House, Hotel Mille Collins and so many others
Rules Of Gorilla Trekking In Uganda And Rwanda
- Volunteer to stay behind if you catch an infectious disease just before gorilla trekking. Mountain gorillas are susceptible to human infection like Civid-19, Flu and others.
- Never surround the mountain gorillas when you find them because this makes them feel ambushed
- No Using Flash photography when you with the mountain gorillas because they are frightened by unfamiliar occurrences in there habitat.
- Keep a distance of about 8 meters from the gorillas when you locate them.
- Never eat before the gorillas because this entices them to pull what you are eating
- If you want to sneeze or cough, do it away from the mountain gorillas
- Never spit on the vegetation because this is food for the gorillas. It is also hygienic because each day trekkers visit the forest.
- The age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 years and above because of the nature of there terrain that a child below this age may not withstand.
- Only one hour is allowed to view the mountain gorillas to give them time to feed, discipline there babies, make babies and have quality family time.
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