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IS MOUNTAIN GORILLA TREKKING SAFE FOR TOURISTS IN UGANDA?

Mountain Gorilla Trekking Uganda

IS MOUNTAIN GORILLA TREKKING SAFE FOR TOURISTS IN UGANDA?

Mountain Gorilla Trekking Uganda, Tourism is considered the major source of revenue collection particularly from mountain Gorilla trekking as the major source for a developing country like Uganda. In order to protect these important source of foreign exchange, the country is willing to go an extra mile to protect the primates and tourists that come to see them. Interestingly, gorilla conservation programmed have also been initiated to protect the gorillas using some of the money collected from tourists.

The Uganda wildlife Authority has employed armed rangers to look out for poachers with deployed military to guard the forest from rebel elements could use the parks as refuge. Border patrols by the army help monitor any security incidences that could destabilize the security of tourists.

Mountain gorillas are very calm and peaceful creatures considering their size and strength. They are often referred to as “the gentle giants of the forest”. You will be visiting habituated gorilla families that are used to humans being around them a process that takes 2 years. But like any other wild animal, care must be taken and rules followed during the gorilla trekking experience.

Is Gorilla trekking safe in Uganda?

Interms of security and safety of gorilla trekking in Uganda, to start with, Ugandan people are known to be the most hospitable, extremely friendly, kind and open to foreign visitors.

One of the safest places to be in is Uganda for Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national Park or Mgahinga Gorilla Park. The Rangers in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda are highly motivated, adequately equipped, and trained to Keep Gorilla Trekking safe and secure for all visitors to the park: Mountain Gorilla Trekking Uganda

Previously, Uganda’s tourism industry was negatively affected by the Kony rebellion in the northern part of the country about 10 years ago but peace has now been fully restored and Ugandans currently operating all their businesses at peace.

Uganda is known to be the country with the highest number of mountain gorillas in Africa with half of the world’s population. These endangered mountain Gorillas can only be seen in two major national parks – Mgahinga and Bwindi. Uganda is also a relatively more affordable gorilla trekking destination than Rwanda. For over 20 years, Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla Park have not had any security incidence. The government has employed a standby military base within the parks working with armed rangers and the tourism police. All these armed personnel are well trained, equipped and motivated to keep the park and tourists/visitors safe. Border patrols are secretly done by the Uganda Peoples Defense forces to ensure that no rebel elements take cover in the forests especially from neighboring countries .In addition, communities living close to the park are also involved in all security arrangements. Because they are beneficiaries of tourism in the area, they will report any suspicious activities that could threaten tourists.

SAFETY TIPS FOR TREKKING GORILLAS

Book with a qualified Tour Operator 

Before booking your gorilla tour, consider untrusted tour operator. The tour company must be genuine, registered and should have been used by other clients in the past, find out if they have a company bank account or an online payment system

Book with a good hotel

It is important to book a good hotel which provides not only comfortable rooms but with stringent security measures in place. Your tour operator can help you select the best hotels with good security policies in place. Don’t book with cheap hotels, such normally have crowds and can easily be penetrated by criminals. We would advise for the mid-range and luxury hotels if possible though there are also standard budget hotels with good security.

Request for an easier hike:

If you doubt your fitness or are an elder, we recommend that you let your tour operator know about it before booking your gorilla tour. On the day of briefing, the Rangers will allocate gorilla families based on fitness among other factors. If you are unfit or an elder, insist on tracking a gorilla group that is closer to the starting point to avoid having to hike for long distances. If you think that you are fit enough, you should go for the medium or more difficult hike.

 Gorilla Trekking Rules and regulations

Mountain gorillas are very calm and peaceful creatures unless threatened. To avoid irritating them, go about the following;

Keep a distance of about 7 meters even when they approach you. Always stick with your group under the leadership of the park Rangers and Guides. Moving out of the group without a Ranger could put you in danger. If you leave the group, you will be exposed to an unfamiliar environment and possibly meet wild animals. The armed Rangers know how to scare away any wild animal by shooting in the air. Do not look at mountain gorillas directly in the eyes to avoid coming off as a threat. Mountain gorillas are shy primates and looking at them in the eyes for too long may be mistaken for a challenge. Speak in low tones and remain calm even when a gorilla charges at you. Simply lay low and act submissive. Shouting and loud noises may drive the primates away or begin to see you as a threat. Do not surround the gorilla group while in their midst. Allow them space to move around. As tempting as it is, do not touch a baby gorilla. The silverback could come for you assuming that you want to harm his offspring.

When trekking gorillas in their habitat, you are advised to keep a seven-meter distance always

Stick with your group under the leadership of the park Rangers and Guides. Moving out of the group without a Ranger could put you in danger. If you leave the group, you will be exposed to an unfamiliar environment and possibly meet wild animals. The armed Rangers know how to scare away any wild animal by shooting in the air.

Visitors are also advised to control excitements and minimize on the noise that may scare away or make these endangered creatures aggressive and disrupt their freedom. Mountain Gorilla Trekking Uganda

While in the habitat of these gentle giants, you are advised not to litter any wastes for example empty water bottles and other belongings mainly for conservation reasons to enable their multiplication.

To pay and trek gorillas, you need to at least be having 15 years and above to get granted to trek the gentle giants in their habitat.

In case of long calls while trekking, you are advised to dig a hole of about 30cm with the help of your ranger guide and burry your waste appropriately to prevent any transmissions to the precious giants of the jungle.

Finally, you need to have paid for your gorilla permits as charged for example Gorilla permits for a gorilla family in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is $700 per person and Rwanda’s current gorilla permit is $1500 per person per gorilla family.

In addition, you need to have your accommodation facilities and transport means earlier booked in advance through your trusted tour and travel company like Paradise Adventure Vacations to enable you have a fascinating gorilla trekking experience.

Whereas the gorilla trekking rules are important, you also need to plan for what to wear while tracking gorillas in the jungle. Pack sturdy hiking boots to deal with the unpredictable and slippery terrain. Long–sleeved shirts and long trousers will protect you from insects and sharp tree branches. Sunscreen, Sunglasses and a hat for protecting you against the sun. To protect yourself from the rains, pack a warm sweater and rain jackets.

Request for an easier hike:

If you doubt your fitness or are an elder, we recommend that you let your tour operator know about it before booking your gorilla tour. On the day of briefing, the Rangers will allocate gorilla families based on fitness among other factors. If you are unfit or an elder, insist on tracking a gorilla group that is closer to the starting point to avoid having to hike for long distances. If you think that you are fit enough, you should go for the medium or more difficult hike.

Best time to Visit Gorillas

Although regarded as a year round activity, the best time to visit Uganda for gorilla trekking is during the country’s two dry seasons namely; January to February and from June to September. Mid December to early February or over the long dry seasons of months of June to September for gorillas in Rwanda. June to September for Gorillas in Democratic Republic of Congo. This is because during these months of the year, there are no rains and it’s usually sunny and it’s easier to trek through the trails. Visit Uganda Mountain Gorilla Trekking Uganda

 

 

About the author

Besides the classical safaris, Tours in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and offers theme-based packages and special interest tours, like Gorilla and Chimpanzee Trekking Safari tours, honeymoons Safaris, group tours, tribal and homestead tours, white Water Rafting tours, Mountain Hiking Safari Tour school/colleges groups Safari Tours and many more.
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