Is it Safe to go Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda?
Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Safety and Security
Safety during gorilla trekking is one of the top assurances any person needs before going to trek gorillas in their habitat. With the nature of the activity and the worlds COVID-19 pandemic, is it safe to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda? Rwanda is one of the very safe countries for Africa tours because of the stringent security measures that the government has set up to ensure that the country and all those in it are very safe. Gorilla trekking as an activity itself has been put a top priority for Rwanda tourism and therefore making its safety a priority too.
To ensure that the tourists are safe during gorilla trekking in Rwanda, armed park rangers are hired to protect the park, ensure tourists safety as well as look out for poachers. The military also helps to check out the park in order to flush out any rebel elements using the park as refuge. Border patrols are also used to help monitor any security incidences that could jeopardize the security of tourists.
Rwanda and Congo are the two mountain gorilla habitats that have faced insecurity before especially from poachers and rebel groups. However, for the past 2 decades, Rwanda has greatly improved its security all through the country as well as national parks. There are no tourists who have had insecurity issues while on Rwanda gorilla tours and therefore a great ray of hope for whoever would want to visit Rwanda to see gorillas.
The security in the country is greatly good to ensure the wellbeing of whoever visits. Mountain gorillas themselves are safe to see. They are very gentle giants that surprisingly do not cause harm despite their huge size. Mountain gorillas are way heavier than a human being and could smash a person if they attacked them, however, the gorillas are really calm and never intend to attack any humans. To ensure the gorillas are safe to be seen by tourists, they undergo a habituation process which takes about two years as they are made accustomed to the presence of human beings. Researchers and other conservationists take the gorillas through the familiarization process until they find them ready to realize that people are not a threat. By the time a group is opened up for trekking, it is very safe to be seen and can cause no harm to persons.
However, though mountain gorillas go through a habituation process that makes them familiar with human presence, they are still wild animals. Ensure to follow the set guidelines on trekking gorillas such that they do not see you as a threat. Do not provoke the gorillas by looking them directly into the eyes like you want to pick up a fight, do not beat your chest in front of a silverback gorilla and surely desist from touching the gorillas. Always keep a 7 meters distance from the gorillas all through the trek. If you follow all these guidelines, then trekking gorillas in Rwanda will be all a memorable experience.
Just in case the gorillas find an individual as a threat and feel provoked they may charge. The silverback usually does this by beating his chest, looking directly to the person and coming closer. They do this to scare their threats away and show authority. When this happens, do not do the same actions as it will portray that you are picking up a fight. Just look to the other direction, crouch down slowly and keep calm. They will see you as no threat and move away. A ranger guide will always be there to help you out on what to do and in case the gorillas feel tense about your presence, you will always be guided on what to do.
Is it safe to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda? Yes, it is. Rwanda is surely generally safe for tourists and gorilla trekking is ensure to be safe for each individual who gets into the jungle. Hesitate not to book a gorilla safari to Rwanda for an amazing encounter of the habituated gorilla groups in the country’s Volcanoes National Park.
COVID-19 Travel Information for Visiting Rwanda
Rwanda reopened tourism after about 6 months of lockdown and commercial flights are now available for those who wish to visit the country. To ensure safety of every traveler, here are the set guidelines each individual should follow;
- All visitors are expected to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to arrival.
- Tourists will take a second Covid-19 test prior to visiting any tourist attraction. The following options are available:
- Tourists can take the first Covid-19 RT-PCR (Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction) test in the country of origin at an ISO certified laboratory, 72 hours before departure and the second test will be taken upon arrival at Kigali International Airport. They are required to submit the results of the first test to the following address (email@example.com) before departure and also upon arrival at Kigali International Airport. They will be expected to wait 8 hours for results of the second test at designated hotels in Rwanda. This is applicable to direct flights only.
- Tourists who are not able to test in their country of origin have the option to be tested twice in Rwanda: The first test will be taken upon arrival at Kigali International Airport while the second test will be taken 48 hours after arrival. Tourists will only be expected to visit tourist sites after two consecutive negative tests and will wait for their results at designated hotels.
- An optional test may be provided on request at departure.
- While in the country, visitors and flight crew members are expected to abide by guidelines of the Health Ministry and specific guidelines for tourists’ attractions including National Parks.
- Domestic tourists visiting Nyungwe and Volcanoes National Parks are required to test negative 48 hours prior to visiting these attractions. The results should be presented at the Parks’ reception.
- A private test center has been set up at Petit Stade, Amahoro National Stadium. Testing will be done by appointment.
- The cost of Covid-19 test for the domestic market (Rwandans and Foreign Residents) will be included in the parks’ permit prices.
The above guidelines apply to the different tourism activities, operators and attractions including national parks, gorilla trekking, boat riding, and kayaking, canoeing, hiking, birding, museums, culture and heritage sites.
Rwanda is a great primate tracking destination with mountain gorillas in Volcanoes and chimpanzees in Nyungwe national parks respectively. For tourists visiting any of the East African countries for wildlife viewing, customizing a Uganda safari, Kenya safari or Tanzania safaris tour will offer the unforgettable memories.