Gorilla Trekking Safety in Rwanda
Gorilla trekking safety in Rwanda is an aspect that travelers shouldn’t at any point in time be worried about. The safety of the travelers on a gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda is the topmost priority of the Rwanda Development Board. This they ensure through a number of ways that shall be stated along the way.
Rwanda is one of the three countries in the world that are blessed to host the endangered mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park. Volcanoes National Park makes part of the great Virunga massifs that are in Rwanda, Uganda and the Congo. Rwanda has about 12 habituated gorilla families that travelers can visit while on a Rwanda gorilla safari. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda can be done all throughout the year.
Despite the many numbers of travelers that have been able to do gorilla trekking in Rwanda, the concern of gorilla trekking safety in Rwanda always crops up amongst new visitors. It is understandable as one’s imaginations of these great giant gorillas in a jungle, in Africa, could be so wild to them. Travelers should be reassured, though, that these giant gorillas, much as are wild animals, are habituated to accommodate human interaction. The mountain gorillas are habituated for over a year and in this time, they adapt to cope with human presence, with whom they share about 98% DNA. Giant as they are, gorillas are very gentle and peaceful great apes that avoid confrontations whenever possible. To ensure gorilla trekking safety in Rwanda, travelers are given a number of rules and regulations to follow while in the jungle in search of the mountain gorillas, when they are with them and also in the wild, for their own safety but also for the safety and well-being of the gorillas.
How to ensure safety on a gorilla tour in Rwanda.
Dress appropriately for the jungle
Travelers intending to embark on a gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda are advised to make sure that they pack the right trekking gear for a successful gorilla safari. Dressing appropriately for the jungle entails a pair good hiking boots with a strong grip, long-sleeved shirts to cover one’s arms from the thorny bushes that can be scratchy and itchy causing reactions with one’s body, hand gloves for a strong grip on the hiking stick and grabbing on the thorny bushes for support during the hike, sunglasses, insect repellent creams, long safari pants, waterproof jackets for when it rains, among others. Dressing inappropriately for the jungle has travelers’ safety at risk as they are prone to having insect bites, bruises among others. They are therefore encouraged to pack the appropriate and essential gorilla trekking gear for a successful gorilla safari.
Do not trek when you are not well
This is one of the many gorilla rules and regulations that travelers are to follow to the dot. Trekking gorillas when one is sick has the animals being at risk of catching the same illnesses since gorillas are very susceptible to human diseases. Travelers with low immunity are also at risk of catching diseases from the gorillas as they too can infect humans. It is therefore important, for the safety of the travelers and the gorillas, to not opt for gorilla trekking when sick. Wait until you are well enough to embark on this remarkable activity such that you take away nothing but the best memories.
Maintain a 7-meter distance from the gorillas
While on a gorilla tour, it is important that travelers always maintain a 7-meter distance from the gorillas to ensure not only one’s safety but also the gorillas’. This recommended distance keeps gorillas comfortable enough to tolerate human interaction long enough. Getting any closer than that has them becoming uncomfortable, stressed and out of fear might charge at you. Sometimes, though, gorillas get up-close to the humans, mostly the inquisitive juveniles who are curious to know their intruders. In such instances, one must stay calm and follow the rangers and guides’ instructions.
Always stay calm and do not look direct in the eyes of the gorillas. Staring at the mountain gorillas has them becoming stressed out and uncomfortable that they could charge at you if they do feel threatened. Though generally shy and gentle animals, it is best to not have them defensive and stressed out. Travelers, so as to ensure their safety while on a gorilla tour, are advised to keep their eyes low and not have direct eye contact with the gorillas. Staying calm at all times, including speaking in hush tones is important to ensure one’s safety while gorilla trekking in Rwanda. Travelers are also advised to keep calm when approached by a charging gorilla, and not run; following the instructions from the rangers and guides at this time is very important.
Always keep within your group
The group one is placed in while being allocated a gorilla family to track is what one should stay in and part of at all times. Each group of travelers is accompanied by at least two armed ranger guards who safeguard the entire group. Travelers straying from their groups put themselves in danger of getting lost in the jungles and being prey to other wild animals. To ensure gorilla trekking safety in Rwanda therefore, travelers are advised to always keep within your group at all times.
Availability of armed rangers
The availability of armed rangers in the park at all times to protect the game park and it its inhabitants is another way that gorilla trekking safety in Rwanda is ensured. These armed rangers not only make patrols in the park but are also placed in each and every group of 8 travelers ready to embark on a gorilla trekking experience in the park. These rangers protect the travelers from all other wild animals in the park given that it is not only the habituated gorillas that inhabit the park.
Travelers interested in gorilla trekking in Rwanda should therefore not be afraid to visit the park to take part in the activity as their safety is very important to the authorities that regulate the park that they go far and beyond to ensure gorilla trekking safety in Rwanda. Get in touch with a trusted tour operator to help you plan the perfect and safe Rwanda gorilla safari.