Are gorilla safaris safe? (Yes Gorilla trekking is safe)
Gorilla trekking is an exhilarating experience that allows visitors to witness the majestic mountain gorillas in their natural habitat in Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R Congo. Gorillas are large animals with adult males weighing up to 400 pounds, this may make you feel vulnerable during a gorilla trek (Are gorilla safaris safe?) however, gorillas are generally gentle and peaceful animals, and trekking them is generally considered safe. There are several measures put in place to ensure the safety of both the visitors and the gorillas. If you are wondering ‘‘Are gorilla safaris safe?’’ Gorilla trekking is generally safe for any kind of traveler.
To make gorilla trekking safe, several guidelines have been established to help trekkers have a safe and unforgettable gorilla trekking experience. Although the gorillas’ behavior cannot be entirely predicted since they remain wild animals, the set guidelines help minimize threats to trekkers, gorillas, and their habitat. If this question (Are Gorilla Safaris Safe?) still lingers in your head, we assure you that there is no need to hesitate to book your gorilla trekking safari since the activity is safe.
About Mountain Gorillas – Are gorilla safaris safe?
Mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) are a subspecies of eastern gorillas and are one of the two species of gorillas. They are an endangered species and can only be found in three countries Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R Congo. They primarily live in the Virunga Massif, which extends in three countries Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The other population of these gentle primates can also be found in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
Mountain gorillas were expected to be extinct by the end of the 20th century, thanks to the unwavering conservation efforts that have seen their numbers slowly increase in the wild. They are the world’s largest primates, with males weighing up to 400 pounds (180 kilograms) and about 5.6 feet (1.7 meters) tall when standing upright.
Mountain gorillas have distinctive features such as a stocky body, long arms, and a broad chest covered in thick black fur. The adult male has patches of silver-colored hair on their back, which is why they are referred to as “silverbacks.”
Mountain gorillas live in close-knit social groups called groups or families, led by a dominant male, the silverback. The family consists of several adult females, their offspring, and a few younger males (Blackbacks). Mountain Gorillas are herbivores, primarily feeding on leaves, stems, shoots, and fruits.
Are gorillas dangerous?
Are gorillas dangerous? Mountain gorillas are known for their peaceful nature, and they are generally non-aggressive toward humans unless they feel threatened or provoked. During gorilla trekking safaris, we always recommend you keep in mind that although gorillas may not be dangerous, they remain wild animals and their behavior can be unpredictable at times. Does this imply that gorillas are dangerous? ‘‘No’’ Gorillas are not Dangerous and are safe to trek during safaris. Before a gorilla family is opened up for gorilla trekking, they are first habituated to make sure they get used to human presence. The habituation process is long and can last between 2 – 5 years. The habituation process is aimed at making gorillas comfortable with human presence.
Mountain gorillas are highly intelligent and display complex social behaviors similar to those observed in humans. They are also known for their expressive communication through facial expressions and body postures.
What makes gorilla trekking safe? – Gorilla trekking safari safety – Are gorilla safaris safe?
Several measures have been put up to make gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R Congo safe for travelers. In this Guide, we will discuss several things that assure and guarantee your safety during Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda, and Rwanda.
Experienced Guides or Ranger guides
Both Uganda and Rwanda have experience ranger guides and driver guides so you can rest assured, knowing that your safety is the top priority during gorilla trekking safaris. Usually, trekkers are divided into groups of 8 members that are accompanied by ranger guides. The ranger guides in Uganda and Rwanda are certified by reputable organizations and have a wealth of experience in gorilla trekking.
These guides are trained to keep you safe during a gorilla trekking safari. They are trained to help you during the trek by identifying potentially dangerous situations, guiding you, and communicating with the gorilla group to prevent them from getting agitated by your presence. Their incredible skill and expertise will surely make your gorilla trekking tour safe. With their guidance, you can confidently navigate the local terrain and observe gorilla behavior up close in their natural habitat.
These guides will give you insights on your trek since they are well-versed in the local terrain and can provide valuable information about the environment and the animals. There is no reason for hesitating to visit Africa for gorilla trekking safaris.
Every day before the trek begins, there is a briefing at the park headquarters. Your driver guide will transfer you to the park headquarters and you’ll attend a mandatory briefing session at the visitor center. These sessions usually start very early in the morning at around 8:00 am and during the briefing session, you’ll learn about the potential risks of gorilla trekking and how to mitigate them. During the briefing, you will get to know about the dos and don’ts during gorilla trekking. All the important safety information will be provided during the briefing such as maintaining a safe distance from the gorillas and not making direct eye contact.
The briefing sessions are designed to ensure your safety and to enable you to do the right things with respect to conservation. If anyone has questions, the best time to raise them is during the briefing session. Gorilla trekking is a unique and unforgettable experience that requires caution and respect, we therefore encourage you to adhere to all the provided guidelines and rules during gorilla trekking.
The maximum number of members is 8 members. These groups are intentionally kept small to ensure that the gorilla habitat is not distorted or disturbed. A group of eight members is usually escorted by two rangers, and one expert tracking guide. The smaller group provides a more intimate and less disruptive experience, making it easier for rangers to ensure the safety of all participants during the gorilla trek.
There are expert Gorilla tracking teams that are well-equipped and ready to assist you in any emergency during the trek. Be it an injury, illness, adverse weather conditions, or any other unexpected event, the ranger teams are trained to handle the situation. This team of rangers has extensive training and experience in gorilla trekking – they are always ready with all the necessary equipment and follow specific protocols to ensure that everyone is safe when they visit gorillas.
- Physical Fitness
Gorilla trekking does not extremely require you to be too fit although the experience requires some level of fitness. Gorilla trekking generally involves hiking in the rugged terrains and you generally need to be able to move for a considerable distance. Therefore, ensuring you’re physically prepared for the gorilla trek is crucial, as this can significantly contribute to your safety. For travelers with medical concerns, it’s advisable to consult with a doctor before embarking on a gorilla trekking tour.
We recommend you do some physical exercise to prepare for the gorilla trek, engage in regular cardio exercises, practice hiking on steep terrain if possible, and wear appropriate footwear to get yourself used to it.
Best tips for trekking mountain gorillas – Are gorilla safaris safe?
Here are the best tips for preparing for your gorilla trekking safaris and guidelines to follow.
Vaccinations and Health Preparations: We recommend that you first consult a travel health specialist to ensure you have the necessary vaccinations and medications for your trip. Although the most prevalent disease is malaria, we recommend that you inquire with the medical specialists to ensure a safe and successful gorilla trekking safari.
Respect the Environment: Trekking gorillas is an amazing experience because of the devoted conservation efforts of the different players. We, therefore, recommend you adhere to all the guidelines and rules, for example, you are not allowed to dump in the park.
Do not litter, and follow the “Leave No Trace” principles.
Pack Wisely: To make yourself comfortable during your trip, recommend you pack the appropriate items for your safari. Pack appropriate clothing for varying weather conditions, including rain gear, sturdy hiking boots, and warm layers. The other essentials are insect repellent, sunscreen, and a camera.
Listen to Your Guide: During the trek, everything you need to know is with your guide. We recommend that you always follow the instructions and guidance.
Obtain necessary permits: You cannot trek gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda if you do not have a gorilla trekking permit. Ensure the permits are genuine and acquired through authorized channels. Acacia Safaris Limited is the best tour operator that will help you acquire gorilla trekking permits and arrange your gorilla trekking safari.
Carry necessary supplies: Besides clothing and gadgets, bring essentials such as water, snacks, sunscreen, a hat, and a camera (without a flash). However, make sure to minimize your impact on the environment and wildlife by not leaving any litter behind after the trek.
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