Yes it is very safe to track mountain 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.
Gorilla Tourism is an investment by the governments of Uganda and Rwanda. The visitors pay for Gorilla permits ranging from USD600 to USD1500. Given that gorilla tourism is a backbone of the tourism industry in Uganda and Rwanda, everything is done to keep visitors safe and secure while in the Heart of Africa.
The first thing always is safety while out there. Along with the military police that keep the borders of these countries, there is the presence of armed park rangers you walk with on your gorilla Trek. Uganda has the added presence of the Tourism Police department which handles more touristic related problems e.g scams, illegal passes etc.
The Rangers in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla Nation Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park are all highly motivated to keep visitors safe and secure. To Rwanda and Uganda and DR Congo conservation is in the forefront, as is your safety and security.
Gorilla tracking is considered to be the leading tourist activity in Uganda/Rwanda. Therefore safety and security of those intending to go on gorilla safaris is a high priority. Gorillas are found in Bwindi Impenetrable, Mgahinga National Parks in Uganda, and Volcanoes National park in Rwanda and Virunga National park in Democratic republic of Congo.
Because of the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, there has been several efforts to ensure security prevails in this region. The United Nations has a peace keeping force in this region with Uganda and Rwanda deploying on respective border posts.
In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Gorilla trekkers are escorted by Uganda Tourism police as well as Uganda Wildlife Authority armed rangers to ensure safety and security of tourists during their Gorilla walk. In instances where tourists require waking up early driving to the starting point of Gorillas, they are escorted to ensure that nothing happens to them.
Leaving security threats alone, is the activity itself safe? The answer is yet. This is because Mountain Gorillas families that are visited by tourists are the ones which are habituated. Habituation takes 2-3 years followed by a mock exercise before it is open to tourists. In other words, if tourists follow instructions from their guides/rangers, then there should not be any problem.
In the forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Volcanoes National Park, other animals too reside there as well. These include non-habituated mountain gorillas, un habituated chimpanzees, forest elephants and buffaloes among others. The fact that trekkers are always moving on foot, chances of encountering such animals are high. What governments of Uganda and Rwanda have done is to ensure that tourists are escorted with armed rangers and tourism police to make sure those wild animals trying to be hostile are scared away although shooting in the air.
Gorilla tracking in Uganda and Rwanda is safe and it is a special arrangement whereby there is always an advanced team of rangers who go to find them before you start the walk, which makes it of higher chances of seeing them and they can be enjoyed by any one at any time as people like Bill Clinton, Bill Gates and others have successfully trekked Gorillas