• Evelyn Nakazi

The SOPs to Observe on a safari to Uganda and Rwanda

Primates are some of the interesting creatures most tourists on Uganda safari or Rwanda safari come to catch a glimpse in Africa. The most sought-after primates in Africa include mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, golden monkeys and others.

Most of these apes are susceptible to human infectious diseases especially mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. They share about 98 percent of their DNA with humans and this is what makes them the closest relatives to humans.

Despite re-opening of primate safari parks by Uganda and Rwanda, there is need to ensure safety of primate species from COVID-19. Planning to visit Uganda or Rwanda for primate trekking adventure? In this article therefore, we explore different standard operating procedures tourists should observe while on primate safari/primate trekking in Uganda or Rwanda.

Primate trekking is popular in premier primate safari destinations such as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. These are best explored on gorilla trekking safari in Uganda. Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, the Virunga National Park and Kahuzi-Biega National Park in DR Congo.

All the 4 protected areas are the best places to visit for mountain gorilla trekking except Kahuzi-Biega National Park is best for only eastern lowland gorilla trekking. In case you are enthusiastic in tracking chimpanzees then a visit to Kibale Forest National Park, Budongo Forest in Uganda and Nyungwe Forest National Park is worth it. It possible to book a 3 days gorilla safari in Uganda or 3 days chimpanzee tracking safari in Uganda/Rwanda.

Below are some of the Standard Operating Procedures to follow on primate safari

  1. Must test the body temperature before embarking on primate trekking.

  2. The Negative corona virus test result should be taken within 72 hours before visiting primates.

  3. All visitors on primate safari in Uganda/Rwanda must have their hands washed with clean water and soap.

  4. Trekkers shall have only 1 hour of magical encounter

  5. Wear gardening gloves to avoid direct touch of tree branches or other surfaces

  6. All the park ranger guides, wardens and other park officials must test negative of corona virus.

  7. It is mandatory to sanitize.

  8. Keep a distance of about 2 meters from each other (this is social distancing principle that must be observed by every trekker).

  9. Maintain a distance of 8-10 meters from gorillas, chimpanzees and golden monkeys.

  10. It is mandatory to wear a face mask both by park guide and all trekkers

  11. Only six visitors will be accepted to track a chimpanzee community

Other important guidelines to follow on primate tracking tour include;

  1. Don’t touch gorillas, chimpanzees when on trek to see them.

  2. Leave the primate habitat clean or better than you got it.

  3. Keep your voices low when on a trek to view primates

  4. No use of flashlight cameras when taking photos

  5. Cover your nose if you are sneeze or mouth when coughing

  6. Only trekkers who are above 15 years are eligible to track gorillas.