Gorilla trekking is the major tourist activity in Uganda and safety plus security of visitors intending to track Gorillas is tightened. Gorillas are found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, volcanoes National park in Rwanda and Virunga National park in Democratic republic of Congo (DRC).
However, eastern DR. Congo, there several factions of rebel groups including Allied Democratic Front, Intarahamwe from Rwanda and other rebel groups fight the elected government of DRC. That makes Gorilla trekking in DR. Congo seasonal. In times of insecurity, the activity is halted for some time until stability prevails again.
Way back in 1999, an interahamwe short dead some tourists in Bwindi Impenetrable national park (south western Uganda) sending signals of insecurity in the forest and the region at large but Uganda worked day and night to create permanent security in Bwindi area and since then, no such incident of insecurity has ever heard in Bwindi Impenetrable national Park or Mgahinga National Park (The two homes of Mountain Gorillas in Uganda).
It should be noted that United Nations (UN) has a peace keeping force in Virunga Region where Virunga N.P. Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga National Parks are situated to create stability of the region and enabling tourists access this region but DR. Congo still experience seasonal attacks.
In Case of seasonal attacks in DR. Congo, advance security alerts are sent to many embassies stopping tourists access the insecure regions. Gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable national Park, Mgahinga, Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National Park is accompanied by armed rangers to keep the lives of tourists safe. In instances where tourists require to wake up for early morning driving to the starting point of gorillas, they are escorted to ensure that nothing happens to them.
In 1994, Rwanda was shade red during the course of Rwanda Genocide Movement – it cost the lives of over 800,000 people. Some few years after, tourism in Rwanda raged behind until 2000 when the sector revived its glory up to date. Currently, Rwanda receives the largest number of tourists in Virunga region.
The activity its self is safe because the gorilla groups which are visited are habituated and they are are calm to human beings. 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.
The habituated Gorilla groups co-exist with animals which are not habituated- such animals tend to be violent to humans. The fact that visitors do move on foot during the course of gorilla trekking, they face higher chances of encountering them that is why we recommend the escorts by the armed rangers and tourism police throughout the experience.
To some it all, gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is safe and can be enjoyed by any one at any time. On the other hand, visitors who want to trek Gorillas in Democratic Republic of Congo are advised to seek security alerts from their embassies or local tour operators before setting off for the journey.