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Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

Rwanda Gorilla Trekking is undoubtedly one of the most popular vacation activities in Africa since it provides some of the most incredible wildlife encounters in the world. Standing face-to-face with the largest apes on the planet may be exhilarating, humbling, and even transforming, especially for wildlife enthusiasts who have been dreaming of the chance for years. But in contemporary times, there is also much consideration given to the ethical and ecological consequences of walking into dense primary forests in search of one of the planet’s most endangered species. Many would-be hikers also wonder how safe it is to track gorillas in some of Africa’s most heavily forested locations.

Because of the government’s strong emphasis on security and safety following the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda is among the safest nations in both Africa and the world. With its welcoming people and more than 20 years of safety, Rwanda has developed into a secure safari destination for gorilla trekking.

The answer to the common issue of whether it is safe to trek gorillas in Rwanda is yes, despite the fact that a large number of visitors have come for a gorilla safari. We all want to feel comfortable, so it makes sense that this question would be asked, especially if it’s our first time hiking through the jungle. Although mountain gorillas are wild animals, tourists need to feel reassured that trekking with them is safe. This is because the gorillas have acclimated to human presence and, as long as the norms and regulations governing trekking are respected, there shouldn’t be any problems.

In Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park is the location of gorilla trekking. Together with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda is one of the three nations where gorillas can be found. But because of the political upheaval the nation is currently experiencing, it is not safe to go gorilla trekking in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Uganda, gorilla trekking is done in Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park; in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it is done in Virunga National Park.

Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

Safety measures taken on a gorilla safari in Rwanda

Armed Rangers

All trekking groups within Volcanoes National Park are provided with security by one or two armed park rangers, according to park authorities. The rangers only take paths they deem safer and stay in constant communication with one another. The armed ranger’s responsibility is to ensure your safety during your unforgettable and risk-free gorilla safari in Rwanda, as volcanoes are home to a variety of species.

Gorilla Tracking Age Limit

In Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, gorilla trekking is restricted to those who are at least 15 years old. This is the maximum age that visitors who are considering a Rwandan gorilla safari can be. Your formal identification documents, such as your passport and national ID, will be used for age verification. The age restriction of 15 was set because people over that age are much easier to manage than younger ones, who are difficult to manage and may be forced to flee in the event that a gorilla approaches them. They play around and create noise. This is just one of the numerous methods used to ensure gorilla trekking safety.

Security Checkpoints

Upon arriving in Volcanoes National Park from Kigali, visitors must pass through a security checkpoint to make sure they pose no threat to other tourists, the gorillas, or themselves. You will be permitted to enter the park and take part in the activity after being subjected to a security check for weapons, knives and anything else deemed to constitute a threat. Be aware that you have to report to the park headquarters for a briefing right away following the security check.

Pre-Trek Briefing

Shortly before the walk starts, the briefing is finished. Trek rules and regulations are reiterated at the briefing to help tourists remember them (we will discuss the rules and regulations later). Groups of eight are also assigned to the gorilla families they will be trekking with during this time.

Experienced Tour Guides

During the briefing, you will be paired with an experienced and qualified tour guide who will walk you through the exercise and advise you on the dos and don’ts of gorilla trekking. Regarding the gorilla families and the most effective paths to go, the tour guides are quite informed. You must abide by all rules and directions provided to you by the tour guides in order to stay safe.

safety while tracking gorillas

Personal Safety Tips for Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Choose a Good Tour Operator

Make sure your tour company is legitimate before reserving your gorilla tour. The tour operator needs to be officially registered and have a track record of satisfied customers. Examine TripAdvisor gorilla trekking reviews to learn what other visitors are saying about your tour operator. Before sending any money, ask if they have a corporate bank account or an internet payment gateway that is exclusive to legitimate businesses. Don’t ever transfer funds to personal accounts.

Book Good Accommodation

It’s crucial to reserve a decent hotel with tight security measures in place in addition to comfy accommodations. You can choose the best hotels with the best security measures in place with the assistance of your trip organiser. Avoid making reservations at hotels with bad ratings or that are not well-known to other tourists. Usually crowded, extremely cheap hotels are vulnerable to break-ins by criminals. You don’t want to wake up to discover that someone has broken into your room and taken your things. If you can, stay in a luxury or mid-range hotel.

Follow the Gorilla Trekking Rules

Mountain gorillas are peaceful and calm creatures, unless they perceive a threat. Keep a distance of about 7 metres between you and them even when they approach you to avoid annoying them. Always stay with park rangers or guides if they are leading your group. If you leave the group without a Ranger, you can be in danger. If you choose to go from the group, you may encounter wild creatures and be placed in an unfamiliar setting. The armed Rangers are adept at frightening off any wild animal by firing into the air. Avoid looking menacing by not looking directly into the eyes of mountain gorillas.

Since mountain gorillas are shy animals, staring them in the eye for an extended period of time could be interpreted as a challenge. Talk quietly and maintain your composure even if a gorilla lunges towards you. Just keep your head down and be obedient. Loud noises and screaming can frighten the primates away or make them perceive you as a danger. When among the gorilla group, avoid encircling them. Give them room to move about. Even though it may seem tempting, never touch a baby gorilla. The silverback may pursue you if it believes you intend to hurt his young.

Request for an Easier Hike

It is advised that you inform your tour operator before scheduling your gorilla excursion if you are elderly or have concerns about your physical condition. The Rangers will assign gorilla families on the day of the briefing, taking into account many aspects like fitness. To avoid having to trek lengthy distances, insist on monitoring a gorilla troop that is closer to the beginning site if you are an older or unfit person. You should choose the medium or more tough walk if you believe you are physically capable of handling it. Our post on gorilla trekking for seniors is recommended reading for those who are physically impaired or elderly.

Mind Your Dress Code

When tracking gorillas in the African jungle, clothing is an important consideration in addition to strictly adhering to the gorilla trekking standards. Bring sturdy hiking boots so you can navigate the unexpectedly slick terrain. Wearing long sleeves and long trousers will help you stay away from insects and sharp tree branches. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat are excellent additions for sun protection. In case of rain, don’t forget to pack thick sweaters and rain jackets.

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