Is Gorilla Trekking Safe (Swift Answer: Yes!) & Guidelines
Is Gorilla Trekking Safe (Swift Answer: Yes!) & Guidelines – If you adhere to some simple guidelines and pay attention to your guide, a gorilla trek may be a very safe experience. For your peace of mind on this remarkable journey, we’ll brief you on the necessary precautions for gorilla trekking.
We can’t speak highly enough of our gorilla-viewing adventure. Especially considering how incredibly secure it is. While they may look intimidating, mountain gorillas are actually quite docile despite their size and strength. To harm humans is not in their interest.
In addition, the gorilla groups that tourists see on their excursions are habituated, or acclimated to being around people.
When going on a gorilla trek, it’s important to follow a few basic guidelines for your own protection and the gorillas’. You should consult your gorilla trek guide whenever you feel unsure of what to do. He or she is there to keep you safe and is quite familiar with the group you are checking out.
Before we get to there, though, we hope you’ll appreciate this film of mountain gorillas in their lush forest home…
Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Mountain gorillas are gentle giants
Concerns regarding the safety of the mountain gorillas are understandable. A silverback’s weight can range from about 150 to 180 kilograms.
While mature male mountain gorillas are relatively strong, mountain gorillas in general are known for their docile demeanor.
Even mountain gorillas eat only plant-based foods (most of the time, at least; they do occasionally eat insects). Gorillas are not naturally aggressive, although they will protect themselves if necessary. They aren’t going to bother us since we’re human.
You Visit Habituated Gorillas
The fact that the gorilla tribes you’ll be visiting on your walk are acclimated just adds to the safety of everyone involved. This indicates that they have been gradually acclimated to the presence of humans over time. This means they will react to your presence with less alarm and hostility.
You trek with a trained guide
In addition, all gorilla treks feature the services of a knowledgeable guide. These people are familiar with the gorilla forces being inspected, and they know what can and cannot be done.
When out on a hike, it’s crucial that you pay attention to the ranger in charge and stick with the group. Pay attention to the instructions given to you. For instance, it is forbidden to poke a silverback in the stomach. However, going to see the gorillas is completely safe as long as you listen to your trek guide and use common sense.
Gorilla Trekking, Uganda | Wildlife Photography | Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Gorilla trekking safety guidelines
Obviously, there are guidelines to follow so that you don’t anger, scare, or otherwise upset the gorillas while you’re monitoring them. To further guarantee a smooth encounter with mountain gorillas, here are a few basic rules to follow:
- Don’t take pictures with a flash or you can scare them.
- Your trek leader will tell you how close you can get to the primates, but it won’t get any closer than three meters.
- The gorillas might easily be startled if you made any unexpected movements or noises.
- Don’t stand out by donning fluorescent hues or overpowering scents.
- Do not look a gorilla in the eye, as this is seen as a challenge if approached by one.
The forest trek is safe, but tough
Since mountain gorillas are only found in montane forest, tracking them requires traversing forest paths. After all, the point of a gorilla expedition is to witness these wonderful creatures in their native environment.
The length and complexity of a forest trek vary based on a number of things, including the park you’re visiting, the weather, and the gorilla troop you’ve been assigned to visit (the whereabouts of the gorilla troops are monitored by park rangers, and each trek party is assigned a certain troop to visit).
Visitors have the option of being placed in a troop either close to or far from the initial meeting location. Those who are less physically capable may prefer a shorter hike. The duration of the hikes might be anywhere from thirty minutes to four hours. No overnight excursions are allowed.
We, at Kabira Safaris, prefer the longer trip because the journey is half the enjoyment.
This is due to the fact that you are currently traversing a stunning section of pristine, native forest. We find great delight in the tall trees, ancient ferns, wild bushes, rushing streams, colorful butterflies, and chirping birds.
Even if you didn’t see any mountain gorillas, the hike would still be memorable and exciting.
You need to be prepared
Getting lost in the mountains and forests is the main “threat” on a gorilla hike. You have to make your way down snaky paths that sometimes don’t even exist.
To avoid scratches (or mosquito bites), it’s a good idea to cover up your arms and legs, as we detail in our Ultimate guide on what to bring on a gorilla hike. Wear sturdy gloves, as you’ll want to grab hold of vegetation for leverage and there may be thorns present.
Keep in mind that the path you take will probably be somewhat steep at times, not to mention muddy and slippery. For this reason, grippy hiking boots are a must. Also, many people find it helpful to carry walking sticks or trekking poles.
A porter is someone you can pay to assist you on your journey by carrying your luggage and pointing out obstacles along the way.
Finally, it can be quite cold in the morning and very hot in the middle of the day, depending on whether or not clouds are present. Also, you are in a jungle, so expect plenty of rain. Therefore, you should pack for all possible climates, including cold weather clothes, a waterproof outer layer, sun protection, and a hat.
Uganda and Rwanda are stable countries
Both Rwanda and Uganda, the most popular destinations for gorilla trekkers, are on our regular trip itineraries. We are also happy to report that both Rwanda and Uganda are secure nations with thriving tourist economies.
They are, in fact, one of the safest African countries to travel to.
Visitors will find the people of both countries to be kind and accommodating.