Is Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda Safe?
Many travelers wonder about the safety of trekking to see mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda. The good news is that gorilla trekking is generally considered safe in both countries. Here’s why:
The governments of Uganda and Rwanda, along with conservation organizations, have taken steps to ensure the safety of tourists during gorilla trekking. They employ park rangers, guides, and even tourism police to accompany trekkers and ensure their safety.
To help maintain safety, a gorilla permit is required for visitors. In Uganda, it costs $700, while in Rwanda, it’s $1500. These fees help support conservation efforts and provide for the safety of visitors in the jungles of Africa.
Both countries have dedicated personnel responsible for guest safety, including military police and park rangers who accompany trekkers into the forests in search of mountain gorillas.
Tourists are assigned to habituated mountain gorilla groups, which have undergone a 2-3 year habituation process with trackers and researchers. This process ensures that gorillas are accustomed to human presence, making encounters safer.
Gorilla habitats also host other wildlife, such as unhabituated gorillas, chimpanzees, buffaloes, elephants, and various monkey species. While trekking, tourists are on foot and have a chance of encountering these animals. Armed rangers and tourism police are present to deter any hostile wildlife encounters.
Best Time to Visit
Gorilla trekking can be enjoyed year-round, but the best times are during the dry seasons of June-August and December-February when conditions are ideal for spotting gorillas and chimpanzees.
What to Pack
It’s important to come prepared for the physical and mental challenges of gorilla trekking. Essentials include long-sleeved shirts to protect against insects, a rain jacket for unpredictable weather, a hat, sunglasses, insect repellents, packed lunch, snacks, energy drinks, a camera, binoculars, a walking stick (provided for free), and cash for souvenirs. A porter can be hired for extra assistance.
In conclusion, gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is a safe and unique experience. Highly trained rangers ensure the safety of visitors, and the chance of seeing mountain gorillas in the wild is high. If you’re considering this adventure, working with a reputable tour operator like Exclusive Uganda Safaris can help you plan a safe and memorable trip, allowing you to immerse yourself in the culture and wildlife of these incredible destinations.