Is It Safe To Go Gorilla Trekking In Uganda During Covid-19?
Is it safe to go Gorilla Trekking in Uganda during COVID-19? Yes, Gorilla trekking in Uganda during covid-19 pandemic is safe! Gorilla safaris to Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park were suspended following the outbreak of covid-19. But gorilla treks have resumed in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park with strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) set for all tourists and trackers to observe on a search for mountain gorillas.
During re-opening of gorilla safari parks, the Minister for tourism stated that Uganda is ready to welcome all international tourists/travelers into the country to explore its diverse attractions. Covid-19 pandemic is no of doubt a threat to the survival of mountain gorillas and other species of primates.
Mountain Gorillas have about 98% of their DNA similar to humans and this makes them very susceptible to human infectious diseases like covid-19. To ensure safety of these rare apes and humans, there has been so much emphasis on measures to curb the wide spread of infectious human diseases. Looking at the way covid-19 spreads and its signs, it is considerably one of the main threats to endangered species like gorillas and other primates.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda were suspended for sometime but interestingly, Bwindi and Mgahinga have had a baby gorilla boom during the lockdown period. You can catch a glimpse of these interesting and playful creatures now that gorilla trekking safaris have resumed in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Southwestern Uganda. All Gorilla trekking in Uganda begin with briefing on gorilla trekking rules in Bwindi park headquarters or Mgahinga park offices (Ntebeko).
To ensure that mountain gorillas remain habituated, the park rangers didn’t stop visiting gorilla families. All park rangers are equipped with face masks, sanitizers plus other significant safety gear. Social distancing from gorillas is always observed and while on Gorilla trekking in Uganda safari parks; Bwindi or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, all tourists must observe the following SOPs.
- Handwashing and sanitizing are mandatory while at park or offices that deal with tourists.
- All tourists to Bwindi or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park must present a negative covid-19 report taken 72 hours from their home countries.
- Temperature screening is a must-do for all tourists on Uganda gorilla tour. This is done at the airport, border crossing and at the parks.
- Tourists who test positive of covid-19 shall be referred to isolation centres.
- Minimum of 8 tourists trek one habituated gorilla family per day.
- Hotels/lodges must have temperature screening guns.
- Physical distance of 2-4 meters should be observed from one person to another.
- Tourist vehicles and boats must be disinfected prior and after use with half occupancy to ensure physical distance is maintained.
- Social distancing of 7-10m from gorillas must be observed at all times.
- It is a must to wear a face mask and preferably, you need N95.
- All park personnel must be equipped with appropriate gear/tools to test visitors.
- Don’t be part of a gorilla trekking team in case you have cold or signs of communicable diseases.