STAYING SAFE ON A GORILLA TREKKING EXPERIENCE
Staying Safe on a Gorilla Trekking Experience : Gorilla trekking is one of the most sought after safari activity in Africa, with thousands of travellers visiting Uganda, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo every month to take part in this adventurous yet amazing activity, all year round.
Travellers will book tickets way in advance plan all the details of their trip with tour operators and be in either one of the three countries on their trekking day, to not miss the opportunity to take part in this life time adventure.
With all the enthusiasm, excitement and determination to conquer the forest trails, mountain altitudes and all the different things to get to the location of the gorillas for the one hour interactions, travellers always make preparations to the last detail including taking precautions in advance against the dangers of gorilla trekking.
Gorilla trekking in itself is not dangerous however like any other wild animals gorillas may react to Human presence in an unfriendly way plus the forest and mountainous habitat of the gorillas can be unfriendly to the humans trekking hence making it seem like Gorilla trekking is dangerous.
That said below we highlight some safety tips you can implement on gorilla trekking experience.
- Gorillas and Humans share about 90% or more of the same DNA, so basically they are very close relatives of human in that they are not in as much threatened by humans unless provoked by humans that’s when they charge at you.
- Gorillas that are available for trekking activities are already habituated so they can hang around humans without causing conflict, still unless provoked by the humans.
- All gorilla trekking activities are done under guidance and supervision of trained and experienced gorilla rangers so they will normally guide you on what to do on your trek that will keep you and the entire group safe.
- On your trekking experience there are armed rangers with you to scare off any wild animals that may try to come near you to attack you on your trek, Staying Safe on a Gorilla Trekking Experience.
- Before your trekking experience you are briefed on the guidelines of a gorilla trekking activity, and for as long as you keep the guidelines on your trek will be smooth and you will not have any dangerous encounters.
- When you are interacting with the gorillas and they sense danger, the silverback who is the male leader of the group, will start to make abnormal noises and beating its chest in a way of warming its individuals of danger and to move; as a trekker when you witness this you have to remain calm, and flow the ranger’s instructions.
- On you’re to the gorilla location or from a gorilla location, if you meet a gorilla, please stop and let the gorilla continue its business; only proceed with your trek when the gorilla moves away or if told otherwise.
- Trekking trails especially the ones in Bwindi National Park in Uganda and Virunga National Park in the democratic republic of Congo are quite tiring to trek; So before you trek these trails take some fitness preparation, to avoid getting stuck on complications on the trekking trail which may become dangerous for you. Because it may take you quite a while to get the help you need; there are no medical facilities in the forest.
- Wear the appropriate gorilla trekking attire to avoid instances of forest hiccups like nettle and insect bites, thorns piercing you, sliding and falling among other things. Your attire should include but not limited to waterproof hiking shoes, waterproof pants, long sleeved clothing, garden gloves, rain jackets among others.
- Also wear dull colours or nature like colours for your own protection; bright colours irritate and threaten the gorilla and this makes them charge at you.
- Stay in your trekking group, don’t depart from them; wild animals can easily attack you when you are alone compared to you being with the ranger and the other mates.
- All trekkers must be 15 years and above, this is very key because gorillas like to play with little things, so anyone below 15 can look small or little the gorilla can easily pick you up and swing you in the air and this swinging and playful movements made by the gorilla may be harmful to you.
- If you had any complications health or fitness or any other complications, kindly inform the park authorities before the trek so that they can allocate you to an easier trek that would not affect you at all.
- Avoid any behaviour that will threaten or irritate the gorillas like flash photography, staring in the gorillas in the face, touching them especially their young ones among other things. All these things can cause a gorilla to charge at you.
- Be humble or submissive in the presence of gorillas, don’t do anything that may make the gorillas feel intimidated, truth is your in their home and they are the bosses so stay humble and allow them their liberty. You showing superiority over them may cause them to charge at you.
- Gorillas because they share DNA with humans can spread diseases to you just like you can spread diseases to them, so keep your distance from them while in their presence; it’s advisable to keep a 7 meter distance at all times. This protects you and the gorillas from catching diseases from each other.