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Staying Safe and Secure During Gorilla Trekking
Safety of Gorilla Trekking: Many people wonder about the safety and security of gorilla trekking, especially given concerns of the size of fully grown silverbacks. In this article, we will explore the measures taken to ensure safety and security during gorilla trekking and provide helpful tips for a smooth and secure experience.
Protection of Gorillas and Tourists:
The countries of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo greatly rely on the revenue generated from gorilla trekking. To safeguard this vital source of income, these countries have implemented gorilla conservation programs funded partially by the fees paid by tourists. National parks employ armed rangers to combat poaching, and the government deploys military personnel to address any security threats. Border patrols are conducted to monitor security incidents that could potentially endanger tourists.
The Nature of Mountain Gorillas:
Mountain gorillas, often referred to as “the gentle giants of the forest,” are calm and peaceful creatures despite their size and strength. The gorilla families that tourists visit are habituated, meaning they are accustomed to human presence. This process takes approximately two years. However, it is important to exercise caution and adhere to the rules during gorilla tours, as they are still wild animals.
Safety Considerations in Gorilla Trekking Destinations:
Uganda and Rwanda are generally safe and peaceful countries, although it is advisable to exercise caution in large cities to avoid pickpocketing incidents. In Uganda, the northern region faced challenges due to the Kony rebellion a decade ago, but peace has been restored. The Democratic Republic of Congo, being a large country, may have some unstable areas, but the Virunga National Park is secure and open to tourists. It is well-managed, with armed guards and wardens protecting visitors against poachers and armed groups. In Rwanda, security is considered tight, with a heavy presence of police and military personnel in national parks.
Safety Tips for Gorilla Trekking:
1. Choose a reputable tour operator: Ensure your tour operator like mond safaris that is registered and has positive reviews from previous clients. Avoid making payments to individual accounts.
2. Select secure accommodations: Book hotels with stringent security measures in place, preferably recommended by your tour operator.
3. Follow gorilla trekking rules: Maintain a safe distance from gorillas, stay with your group, and listen to the park rangers’ instructions. Avoid direct eye contact, speak softly, and remain calm in case of gorilla charges.
4. Dress appropriately: Wear sturdy hiking boots, long-sleeved shirts, long trousers, and carry sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and rain gear.
5. Communicate your fitness level: Inform your tour operator if you have any concerns about your fitness level or if you require easier hiking options.
By following these guidelines and respecting the gorillas’ natural habitat, you can enjoy a safe and unforgettable gorilla trekking experience.