Is it safe to Track Gorillas in Uganda – Rwanda – or the Congo ?

Posted by on October 9, 2019

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, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic? Your well-being, Safety, and Congo. Safety – Security is and remains the Focus of Park, Police, and the Military in all three Countries.

Gorilla Tourism is a significant source of income for the governments of Uganda and Rwanda. Gorilla Trekkers pay for permits ranging from 600 USD in Uganda ($700 after July 1-2020) to 1500 USD in Rwanda and for the Gorilla Habituation Experience in Uganda.

Everything is done to keep Gorilla Trekking Visitors safe and secure in the Heart of Africa.

In Rwanda and Uganda and DR Congo, the focus in Gorilla conservation linked together with Gorilla Tourism. Gorilla Trekkers make Gorilla Conservation possible, protecting Gorilla Tourist, providing a Safe and Secure Environment for them inside and outside of the Gorilla Parks is an essential requirement. Otherwise, Tourists will not come.

Most of the Gorilla Tourism Security Measures are behind the scene ones. All Parks, especially in Uganda and Rwanda, are patrolled by crack soldiers. The borders of each country are monitored. At times drones are used to do so. 

Though Virunga Volcanoes National Park in DR Congo is one of the best-managed parks in Africa, external forces, Guerrillas have made Gorilla Trekking in that Country more dangerous and less secure.   Hopefully, that will soon change.

Gorilla Tourism is the Number One Tourism Activity in both Uganda and Rwanda. Gorilla Tourism provides funds for Conservation, infrastructure for the local communities along with jobs, and everything is being done to protect both Gorillas and Tourists as well as the local communities surrounding the Parks.

The Safety and Security of Gorilla Trekkers are on everyone’s mind.


 Is it safe to track Gorillas in Uganda? 

Uganda is the Premier Mountain Gorilla Trekking Destination in Africa for two reasons, Affordability and Safe Gorilla Trekking.  Affordability is meaningless without Safety and Security for Gorilla Trekkers.

There have been no Gorilla Trekking security Incidents in Uganda during the past 20 years.  Along with the military, there is the Presence of Armed Rangers for your Gorilla Trek. Uganda has the added presence of the Tourism Police.

One of the safest places to be in either Uganda is on a Gorilla Trek in Bwindi Impenetrable Park or Mgahinga Gorilla Park. The Rangers in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park, Mgahinga Gorilla Nation Park in Uganda, are all highly motivated, adequately equipped, and trained to Keep Gorilla Trekking safe and secure.

Gorilla Trekking Security Measures in Uganda are one of the main reasons that Uganda has become the favorite Gorilla Trekking Destination.  Everyone involved in Gorilla Tourism adheres to the Security Standards that have been issued and implemented by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

The communities around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and  Mgahinga Gorilla Park have Police, including Tourism Police and Military Police presence. They are there to provide another layer of Safety and Security for tourists and the local community alike. The Gorilla Parks, unseen by most, is patrolled daily. The Borders, including the one with DR Congo, are monitored by the UPDF, the Ugandan Army.

The local community is aware of how vital Gorilla Tourism is. They Benefit directly and indirectly from Gorilla Tourism and report any suspicious activity inside or outside the parks to the Authorities.

Uganda is Guerrilla-Free and is doing all that it can to keep it that way for the safety of ordinary Ugandans and Gorilla Trekkers.

Frankly speaking, when it comes to Safety and Security Africa, Uganda, gets a bad wrap compared to safety and security in countries such as the USA where you go shopping at a Walmart or having a drink in a bar might be more dangerous than tracking Gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla Park.


 Is it safe to track Gorillas in Rwanda?

Rwanda has the distinction of being one of the Safest Countries in Africa, if not the world. Kigali is one of the safest towns in Africa. Security and Police presence can be seen everywhere in the country, including at Tourist Destinations such as Volcanoes National Park, where Gorilla trekking is the Focus.

Rwanda prides itself as being the deluxe Gorilla Destination.  Exclusive Hotels and Lodges abound, and new ones are being built — safety and Security, the wellbeing of Guests, Tourists, if a focal point.

There have been no direct Gorilla Trekking Security Incidents, only the opposite causing celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres to proclaim how wonderful it is to visit Rwanda.

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda’s Gorilla Park, has been a safe and secure area for gorillas and gorilla Trekkers alike. No Tourist can enter the park without a Ranger Escort. Armed Security Protection is the norm for those trekking  gorillas, golden monkeys, hiking, or climbing inside of the park.

Volcanoes National Park borders both the stable, safe, and secure Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda and the less stable Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic.

Practical minded Rwanda has taken a tough-minded security stance to protect tourists and its citizens alike.

Rwanda has a proven track record for being a safe and secure country to visit on an African Safari. President Paul Kagame is a no-nonsense purpose-driven man whose vision for a safe and unified Rwanda is reflected by all those that are involved in government, including the military, police, and rangers.

The peace of Rwanda has been threatened at times by external forces such as the FDLR -The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (French): Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda, FDLR) is an armed rebel group active in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. An ethnic Hutu group opposed to the present government of Rwanda and who took part in the Genocide against the Tutsi fleeing to then Zaire at the end of the 1994 Genocide. Each Threat has been repelled successfully by the Rwandan Military, and Rwanda remains safe for Tourism, including Gorilla Trekking Tourism.


 Is it safe to track Gorillas in Rwanda after the FDLR Attack on October 4, 2019?

On October 4th, near 10 PM a group of FDLR -The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (French): Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda, FDLR) an armed rebel group active in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo attacked the Kinigi area in the Musanze District in northern Rwanda.

They attacked with pistols, rifles, machetes killing 14, and wounding 18 Rwandans. No tourists were harmed.

Rwandan security forces confronted the attackers, and 19 rebels were killed, and five were captured. The captured confessed that they were members of the infamous FDLR Rebel Group that seeks to overthrow the present government of Rwanda under the leadership of President Paul Kagame.

Those not killed or captured fled back to the Democratic Republic of Congo through Virunga National Park.

The Rwandan victims were buried  in one grave in a mournful ceremony

The last attack in the area occurred in December of 2018 when the FDLR killed two Rwandan National Park.  Rwandans have suffered from the attacks by the Rebel fighter, including those near Nyungwe Forest National Park. No Tourists or Tourist Lodges or Hotels have been attacked.

Is it safe to Trek Gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park at present?

The Choice is yours to make. We know Rwanda, and based on past experiences, right now, Rwanda remains one the safest countries to visit in Africa. Without minimizing what occurred on October 4, 2019, one can be assured that Rwanda is diligently working to protect Tourists and Rwandans alike.

One can also be sure that one of Rwanda’s Number One Fans, Ellen DeGeneres will go once again the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.

Some Countries might issue Travel Alerts and Travel Advisories.  Most Travel Security Experts would still recommend a visit to Rwanda based on Rwanda’s consistent Record regarding Safety and Security for its citizens and visitors.

We will update this page should there be any changes that Gorilla Trekkers should know about.  The enthusiastic and patriotic Rwandan Press is often a bit skimpy with details, unlike the International Press.


 Is it Safe to Trek Gorillas in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

Unfortunately, Safety and Security 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 Lodges for Gorilla Trekkers:

You spend more time at your Gorilla Lodge than you do within the park trekking Gorillas. Most lodges, especially midrange or Luxury Lodges, provide with all the comfort, meals, and service that you need. Behind the scenes, lodges offer additional security that is beyond police protection.

Lodges know that you value security in an unfamiliar country. It is essential to all of us in Gorilla Tourism that you feel at home at the lodge where you are staying.

African Hospitality means when you come under one’s roof, that the host is responsible for the wellbeing of the guest. A tradition practiced by my many lodges

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.


 I am not worried about Gorillas, but Guerillas- Are there Guerrillas in Uganda?

There are no Guerrillas in Uganda at present. Rwanda had the recent out of the norm attack by FDLR Rebels. The present government of President Museveni was once Guerrilla Force. That was a long time ago, before 1986.

Today Uganda is Guerrilla Free and is doing its best to keep it that way. You can still find information about Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army, but his LRA has not disturbed Northern Uganda for over a decade.

One can sympathize with Rwanda since the October FDLR Rebel attack will have a ripple effect on Tourisms for some time to come.  We know about that in Uganda, but fortunately, we have been guerrilla Free and hope to remain that way.

Like in the rest of the world, things can change here. We post such changes on our website.

Your wellbeing is our concern.


 Kabiza Wilderness Safaris creates Hakuna Matata – No Worries Gorilla- not Guerrilla Safaris:

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.

Kabiza Wilderness Safaris takes the Safety and Security of our clients quite seriously. The driver-guide has one thing on his mind, and that is that our clients have a Hakuna Matata – No-Worry Gorilla Safari Experience.

The safety of our Clients if foremost on our mind when it comes to Gorilla Trekking.  This year, 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.


 The Safest Place to be in Uganda or Rwanda is on a Safari