How safe is gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park
Despite the negative history of Virunga national associated with insecurity, civil wars, and rapid poaching of the critically endangered mountain gorillas in Virunga national park, peace has been restored and Congo is very safe for Tourism. Presently, gorilla safaris to Congo are done peacefully and all travelers are assured of their safety and enjoyable stay in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Great thanks go to the Congolese Institute for Conservation of Nature (ICCN), the management of Virunga national park and local people who have worked for hand in hand to restore peace and promote gorilla tourism in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The good news is that the population of mountain gorillas in Virunga national park is increasing day by day and the park is now home to a quarter of the world’s surviving mountain gorillas.
Just like in other gorilla destinations, (Uganda and Rwanda), gorilla trekking in Virunga national park is done every day. Travelers are required to carefully follow all the trekking rules and regulations such as keeping a distance of seven meters from the gorillas and turning back their faces when coughing /sneezing to avoid direct transmission of airborne human-wildlife diseases hence ensuring the safety of both the gorillas and trekkers. If you have been worried about safety in Virunga national park we bring you good news. The national park is free from danger reviewed by those travelers who have been there before as the safest and best place to go for mountain gorilla trekking.
Pre trekking tracking
Every morning, a group of rangers hike into the forest to find out to patrol the movements of mountain gorillas in the national park. Besides looking out for the gorilla, the armed rangers search thoroughly in the jungle to make sure there are no rebels groups hiding in the forest. This keep the national park free from any intruders hence assuring travelers of their safety. The checking is done every day whether are travelers or not. In case there are travelers trekking gorillas, the trackers keep informing the upcoming travelers and guides on which direction to take saving them time and energy of wondering in the forest. Besides the rangers, the government of Congo has put tourism police to patrol all tourism spots in Congo at all times which keep the whole place safe and out of any danger.
Involvement of local people
Unlike in the past when local people were not involved in gorilla trekking activities in Virunga national park, the residents are now involved. In the past, the exclusion of local [people form tourism was a great cause of human wildlife conflicts in the park which mad the whole place insecure. Local people were against tourism and did everything possible to scare away travelers. Today, Congolese institute for Conservation of Nature (ICCN) has brought new programs in the park were local people are first consulted and involved in all national park operations. Also, local people are hired as guides, porters, hotel managers and storytellers in cultural tours which earn them a living hence generation a positive attitude towards conservation and gorilla tourism in the area. Also, local people are given 5% of the total revenue generated from tourism, which has improved their standards of living.
Direct Support for local communities
Besides employment opportunities, local people have been directly supported by the World wildlife fund (WWF), which supplied fuel saving stoves to local people hence preventing the cutting of trees for firewood by local people. Also, the Virunga Environmental Program (PEV) with support of WWF undertakes other activities, which include promotion of privately, or community owned plantations that encourage economic development and creation of alternative wood sources outside the Virunga national park.
However, travelers are reminded to be full responsible for their life and property during gorilla trekking. Travelers are also required to keep within their groups to avoid moving alone in the jungle, which can expose them to harmful wild animals. Also, avoid any tempting acts like travelling at night. Carrying big sums of hard money and expensive gadgets.
Other activities in Virunga national park include a hike to summit of Nyiragongo volcano, forest walks, cultural tours and bird watching among others, which together make a complete package to meet, satisfy and exceed all travelers expectations.
Therefore, Virunga national park is a safe gorilla trekking destination. Book a gorilla tour to Congo, meet face to face with the gentle giants in their habitat and enjoy this extra ordinary experience.