Is gorilla Trekking Safe?
If one is thinking of a quest like Mountain Gorilla trekking, the first thing they usually ask about is the guarantee of their safety. Truth is getting close to the Mountain Gorillas is very safe compared to the rest of the wild animals. But obviously there are some rules to be abided by, like a couple of vital dos and don’ts in order to guarantee one’s safety.
Each of the tourists before setting off to explore the East African wood lands in search of the scarce and threatened Mountain Gorillas is taken through a thorough briefing by the park ranger-guides at the headquarters of the gorilla sanctuary telling them how to behave around these animals. As long as they are calm and comfortable, Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat are not taken to be dangerous or unsafe to visit. The nearest one is allowed to be when watching these animals is seven (7) meters and the park wardens are very precise when it comes to keeping this very crucial distance. When in the company of Silverbacks and their families, one is not allowed to take any snacks or drink. Looking in to the eyes of the Mountain Gorillas is not allowed. Trackers must talk softly, no making noise. And flashy photography is not permitted because it will most likely shock the Mountain Gorillas and they end up charging. Those are some of the guidelines one has to follow with no compromise. There are minimal chances of any hostility from these animals if the above guidelines are followed. They are dubbed as the forest “gentle giants” and this is for a very good reason. These Mountain Gorilla families that the tourists are allowed to trek have been familiarized meaning they are used to meeting humans and that is not a threat. The successful familiarization (habituation) process of the Mountain Gorillas takes at least two (2) years.
The park administrators are very observant and are always on the look-out for any dangers like human rebels in the National Parks just as the United Nations (UN) Peace keepers that are in these regions precisely on the watch for rebels. There are no rebels but just Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and both Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks in Uganda. Both countries take safety and security very key so there have been no scenarios of rebels against tourists in these National Parks.