Is Gorilla Trekking Safe in Uganda, Rwanda or DR Congo?
A Question often asked? Is it safe to track Gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda in 2019?
Is it safe to track Gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda? Your well-being, Safety, and Security are on everyone’s Mind while you are tracking the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda. Safety – Security is and remains the Focus.
Gorilla Tourism is an investment by the governments of Uganda and Rwanda, the visitors pay for permits ranging from 600 USD to 1500 USD, and everything is done to keep Gorilla Trekking Visitors safe and secure in the Heart of Africa.
Is it safe to track Gorillas – There have been no Gorilla Trekking security lapses in both Rwanda and Uganda. Along with the military, there is the Presence of Armed Guides for your Gorilla Trek. Uganda has the added presence of the Tourism Police.
The Rangers in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park, Mgahinga Gorilla Nation Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park are all highly motivated, adequately equipped, and trained to Keep Gorilla Trekking safe and secure.
The US Military is providing Training and Support for the Uganda Wildlife Authority Rangers in 2019 providing specialized Training to the leaders who in turn will train others.
To Rwanda and Uganda and DR Congo – conservation is in the forefront, as is your safety and security. Gorilla Trekking brings in millions of dollars from permits, lodges, tour operators in both Uganda and Rwanda do everything to keep it safe and secure. Otherwise, there will be no incoming Tourists. Presently Gorilla Tourism has reopened in Virunga National Park in DR Congo, however a degree of caution I advised.
Is Gorilla Trekking Safe in Uganda or Rwanda?
Uganda and Rwanda are two of the safest countries to track mountain gorillas – neither country has its African versions of drive-by shootings, gun-ownership is quite limited here, and one of the safest places to be in either Uganda or Rwanda is on a Gorilla Trek in Bwindi Impenetrable Park, Mgahinga Gorilla Park, and Volcanoes National Park
Is it safe to track Gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda?
No visitor can venture alone into Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda or Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda – they are always with a guide and armed escort. This is a protective measure that is taken by Uganda and Rwanda for all those who come to visit the mountain Gorillas in either country
If you follow the rules and guidelines for Gorilla Trekking, you will be safe and secure during your time in the park. The Gorillas you are visiting are habituated and used to human beings – this process takes up to two years.
Speak quietly while tracking gorillas. While in the presence of the gorillas do not move suddenly, that might be seen as a threat to them.
Do not use flash when taking photos since that will startle the gorillas and if a gorilla begins to charge you, do not run, crouch down in a submissive manner, and the gorilla will stop and retreat.
I am not worried about Gorillas but Guerillas
There are three countries where you can track Mountain Gorillas, and in two of them you do not have a presence of guerrillas in or near the parks, and that is Rwanda and Uganda. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has become a High-Risk No-Go Zone, and common sense alone would tell you not to visit a region of a country to visit from which thousands are fleeing daily into Uganda and Rwanda.
Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Mgahinga Gorilla Park, and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest are Safe and Secure in 2018 as they have been for years.
Both Rwanda and Uganda have stepped up measures to prevent any violence from spilling over from the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. Refugees are also examined for contraband weapons which are confiscated if found, and the owners questioned and put under arrest. Besides, all those entering both Rwanda and Uganda from the Democratic Republic of Congo are screened for Ebola. Everyone entering Uganda even at unofficial border crossings are tested for Ebola.
The situation in 2019 in the Democratic Republic is not new, but a continuance of what has been for years in the Congo and this has never affected Gorilla Tourism in either Uganda or Rwanda for over a Decade, and that is not expected to change. Guerillas, however, remain a concern with many Gorilla Trekkers to either Rwanda or Uganda. The good news is that more Guerillas in the Kivu Province are willing to lay down arms, the bad news is ISIS/ISIL has become active in Eastern DR Congo through direct involvement or funding.
Is it safe to track Gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda?
During the actual Gorilla Trek, you are with Armed Rangers and a military escort with communication equipment and weapons, this is simply an added layer of security for your protection.
Beyond the Gorilla Parks in Uganda and Rwanda, most lodges have security measures in place with 24/7 armed guards, most of them ex-military men or those trained by private security companies.
Towns and Villages near Volcanoes National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and Mgahinga Gorilla Park all have both Army and Police Presence, and in Uganda, there is the Tourism Police force which is stationed in and near parks.
Even when you are not trekking Gorillas but are birding or hiking in the Gorilla Parks of Uganda and Rwanda you have an armed escort with you at all times.
The Safest place to be in Uganda or Rwanda is on a Safari, and that includes a Gorilla Trekking Safari
It is not as Safe to Trek Gorillas in the High-Risk Area of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Unfortunately, it is different in Virunga National Park where Guerillas and criminals all too often make their presence known in one of Africa’s most incredible Parks, making it a High-Risk Zone in 2019-2020.
There have been two unfortunate incidents during April and May of 2018 where rangers were killed, and tourists kidnapped. The tourists were later released.
Many in the International Community such as the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK recommend that you do not visit the area which includes Virunga National Park. Most insurance companies, except for those specializing in high-risk insurance, will not cover you while you are there.
Virunga National Park reopened for Tourism February 15 – 2019: Conditions remain the same, but the Park has taken security measures. After the Presidential Elections, there have been incidents across DR Congo including Goma. It remains a high-risk zone – Check Travel Advisories, have Travel Insurance. Only use a Virunga National Park recommended Tour Operator.
Safe and Secure Gorilla Trekking in 2019
Rwanda and Uganda in 2019 are safe, secure, stable, and friendly countries to visit. Neither country has security issues in their Gorilla Parks. Gorilla Tourism is a Chief Source of Income for both countries. Gorilla Permits pay for the conservation and preservation of the park for both the Gorillas and visitors.
Every effort is being taken both visible and behind the scenes to make your once in a lifetime encounter with the Gentle Giants of the Forest a moment of Discovery.
Read the vast array of Travel Reports in newspapers and magazines across the Globe and you will little if anything at all about security when it comes to Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Uganda.
The most dangerous thing you can do in Uganda is trying to cross the rod in downtown Kampala, Gorilla Trekking, on the other hand, is safe and secure.
The Best Advice for Safe Gorilla Trekking – Common Sense – don’t Leave Home without it.
Safe and Secure Lodges for Gorilla Trekkers:
Gorilla Trekking Lodges are most often located outside of the Gorilla Sanctuary Parks. All lodges are within areas where there is an extra-level of Security, especially in Uganda The Tourism Police, Army Detachments, regular police are in the areas where gorilla Trekking takes places.
Lodges themselves, add another layer of security by having on-site security, whether it is private security or through an arrangement with the police or military.
Security does not stop after the Gorilla Trek. It is continuous from the time you arrive in the country until your departure.
As a Tour Operator, we only select mid-range and luxury with an appropriate level of security in place for their guests.
Due to incidents in Virunga National Park, clients of ours have questioned whether it is safe to track Gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda. In response to such inquiries, we have created this page to answer questions Gorilla Trekkers who are concerned about Safety and Security may have.
Uganda and Rwanda, when it comes to Gorilla Trekking have been Guerilla-Free, and there have been no incidents of Guerilla, banditry attacks on Tourists, Rangers, the local population in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla Park. (Rwanda-recently arrested a guerrilla Leader and tried him in Kigali- he was a significant reason for the Travel Advisory issued by France for Rwanda.)
The safety of our Clients if foremost on our mind when it comes to Gorilla Trekking. In 2019 the safest place to be in Uganda or Rwanda is on a Gorilla Trekking Safari.
As we often say it is more dangerous to cross the street in Kigali or Kampala than it is trekking Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga Gorilla Park, and Volcanoes National Park.
In 2019 Uganda and Rwanda are Guerilla Free Gorilla Parks and safe and secure for Gorilla Trekkers.