COVID-19 Protection: Wearing Face Masks is Required on a Safari in Uganda

Posted by on January 12, 2021

COVID-19 Rules – Wearing of Face Masks is Mandatory on Safari

Be Smart – Don’t be a Spreader-Wearing Face Masks is Required while on Safari in Uganda.

COVID-19 Protection: Wearing Face Masks is Required on a Safari in Uganda

COVID-19 Protection: Wearing Face Masks is Required on a Safari in Uganda.  Wearing a protective facial mask on Safari safeguards you and others. It also protects Primates from contracting the deadly Coronavirus. 

Wearing a protective Facial Mask while on a Safari in the Pearl of Africa is not only mandatory, and part of the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedure; wearing a mask protects you and others.  It the right and smart choice for the African Traveler on a Safari.

In Uganda, Face Masks is the required attire to track Primates such as Gorillas and Chimpanzees.

The Mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) are an endangered primate species found in only two isolated forests of central-eastern Africa, spanning parts of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

Mountain Gorillas share 98.4% of our DNA. The second most common cause of death is an infectious disease COVID-19 Protection: Wearing Face Masks is Required on a Safari in Ugandasuch as a common cold virus, or in 2020 the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Such infections can kill the endangered Mountains Gorillas. COVID-19 could drastically reduce the Mountain Gorillas population found in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo. 

A simple Sneeze by a Gorilla Trekker during their encounter with the Forests gentle giants can travel seven meters. Mountain Gorillas do not have immunity to viruses, such as the common cold, flu, or the Corona Virus.  

Great Apes such as Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees are quite susceptible to human infectious diseases, including respiratory infections responsible for 20% of sudden deaths in gorillas and Chimpanzees.

Please Note: The 20% death rate is before the Covid-19 outbreak. Preventative measures such as the wearing of a proper Facial Mask is of the utmost importance.

There is no Primate Trekking without wearing a face mask.  Wearing a face mask on Safari in Uganda is the sensible thing for you to do. Those on Safari with us will receive free of charge Facial Masks for their safari with us.

Protect the Mountain Gorillas Rules and Regulations in Place:COVID-19 Protection: Wearing Face Masks is Required on a Safari in Uganda

 There are rules in place at present to protect both the Gorillas and the Tourists. Not only can Gorillas catch infections from humans, but humans can also get diseases from Mountain Gorillas.

That is why there is seven meters or twenty-one-foot distance rule. Tourists, Trekkers have been blamed for violating that rule, which is quite possible with overenthusiastic Trekkers wanting to get the best photos. Who is at fault?  

All Trekkers have a gorilla trekking orientation where rangers present the rules and regulations for Gorilla Trekking. Trekkers are asked if they are ill. It is doubtful if someone with what they might consider a minor malady might withdraw from the Trek. They are also told about the distance rule. Enforcement of that rule is up to the rangers in charge of the gorilla Trek. Mountain. Presently and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rules are enforced.

 Gorillas may unknowingly violate that seven-meter rule, and the rangers in charge have to pull trekkers back.

Especially Important: If you sneeze or cough, please turn away from the gorillas. Cough into your elbow or use a tissue that you put into your pocket. Keep in mind that even a slight wind will carry particles from a cough further than seven meters.

There is also the eight-participant rule. Only eight gorilla trekkers can visit one gorilla family per day. 

Protect Primates – Wear a Face Mask during Gorilla, Chimpanzee, and Golden Monkey Trekking

COVID-19 Protection: Wearing Face Masks is Required on a Safari in Uganda

Most Gorilla Trekkers are conservation-minded tourists. The well-being of the Mountain Gorillas is on their mind, and to most donning a protective face mask during the one-hour encounter with the Gentle Giants of the Forest would not be a problem. 

The wearing of Face Masks during Primate Treks is mandatory. One rule that will remain in place long after the COVID-19 Pandemic has subsided. 

Protective Face Masks are the best protection for both primates and humans from COVID19. Something that Primate Researchers, the Gorilla Doctors, and representatives of the Uganda Wildlife Authority concur with.

Gorillas, chimpanzees, Golden Monkeys are all endangered, and wearing a mask is good for primate conservation.

COVID-19 Protection: Wearing Face Masks is Required on a Safari in UgandaWearing Face Masks is Required on a Safari in Uganda- Our Take:

The wearing of Facial Masks is crucial in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19. Not only are humans protected, but our close relatives, the primates.

The masks will remain with us for a long time to come. That is our opinion, is a good thing since it will protect the primates now and in the future.

We recommend that our clients pack Facial protective masks that they are most comfortable with.

Kabila Wilderness Safaris will provide masks for clients on Safari with us. We also provide bottles of sanitizers.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority has put COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures into place for park activities, gorilla, and chimpanzee Trekking.

The wearing of Facial Masks is required for all tourists.  From the time that you arrive at Entebbe International Airport to your departure.   Another measure designed to keep you well on a safari in Uganda.

The COVID-19 -Uganda Wildlife Tourism Guidelines and SOPs While Using on the use of Face Masks:

The Wearing Face Masks is Required on a Safari in Uganda

The Uganda Wildlife Authority published this Information.

Wearing a face mask often helps people feel protected and reassured. It is recommended that face masks be wornCOVID-19 Protection: Wearing Face Masks is Required on a Safari in Uganda when you have a cough, sneezing, fever, and other respiratory symptoms while caring for/attending to somebody with respiratory symptoms, while in community/public settings, and for health care providers or first responders.

A properly worn surgical mask may help block large-particle microorganisms from droplets, sprays, splatters, and splashes. The mask also reduces the likelihood of hand-to-face contact.

It is a recommended best practice by IUCN that humans visiting primates wear masks to reduce the risk of transmission of respiratory diseases to primates.

Components of a surgical face mask

The surgical face mask has three-ply layers and works as follows:

  • The outer layer repels water, blood, and other body fluids.
  • The middle layer filters certain pathogens.
  • The inner layer absorbs moisture and sweat from exhaled air.

Steps to wearing face masks

  1. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or rub your hands together thoroughly with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. Check for defects in the face mask, such as tears or broken loops.COVID-19 Protection: Wearing Face Masks is Required on a Safari in Uganda
  3. Position the colored side of the mask outward.
  4. If present, make sure the metallic strip is at the top of the mask and positioned against the ridge of your nose.
  5. If the mask has:

a. Earloops: Hold the mask by both ear loops and place one loop over each ear.

b. Ties: Hold the mask by the upper strings. Tie the upper strings in a secure bow near the crown of your head. Tie the bottom strings securely in a bow near the nape of your neck.

c. Dual elastic bands: Pull the top band over your head and position it against the crown of your head. Pull the bottom band over your head and position it against the—Nape of your neck.

  1. Mold the bendable metallic upper strip to the shape of your nose by pinching and pressing down on it with your fingers.
  2. Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin and ensure the mask fully covers your nose and mouth.
  3. Be sure the mask fits snugly.
  4. Don’t touch the mask once in position.
  5. If the mask gets soiled or damp, replace it with a new one.

Do not:

  • Touch the mask once it is secured on your face as it might have pathogens on it.
  • Dangle the mask from one ear.
  • Hang the mask around your neck.
  • Crisscross the ties.
  • Reuse single-use masks.
  • If you must touch the face mask while you’re wearing it, wash your hands first.
  • Be sure also to wash your hands afterward or use hand sanitizer.

Steps to taking off a face mask

i) Before you take off the mask, wash your hands well, or use hand sanitizer.

ii) Avoid touching the mask itself as it could be contaminated. Hold it by the loops, ties, or bands only.

iii) Carefully remove the mask from your face once you:

  • unhook both ear loops, and
  • untie the bottom bow first, followed by the top one, or
  • remove the bottom band first by lifting it over -your head, then do the same with the top band.

iv) Holding the mask loops, ties, or bands, discard the mask by placing it in a covered trash bin.

v) After removing the mask, wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer.

Disposal of used masks

Masks are medical wastes and should be treated as such. Different germs can survive on a used mask for different durations. Used masks should not be thrown indiscriminately in PAs, workplaces, homes, or open dustbins as they can pose a potential health hazard to people who come in contact with such masks. Also, some people can pick them for re-use/sale hence putting their lives in danger.

  • Surgical masks are disposable/single-use only.
  • Fold used masks inwards to ensure droplets are not exposed.
  • Used masks should not be disposed of in the field or into open dustbins.
  • Used masks should be placed in polythene bags (a biohazard bag is preferred) and burnt to ash.
  • Reusable masks should be washed thoroughly with soap, dried and disinfected before reuse.

Jon Blanc