The image of über ape King Kong fighting off airplanes from atop the Empire State Building plays into the human psyche that gorillas are menacing creatures. But let us not forget the moral of that story: Gorillas can be gentle, almost human-like creatures, and are only a threat if you provoke them. With that said, here's a question: How safe is a gorilla trek (a gorilla safari on foot), if it involves humans invading gorillas' habitats in the African rainforest?
Gorillas in our midst
Gorilla tourism - with a focus on preservation - started in the 1950s by German traveler Walter Baumgärtel in Uganda, and became quite popular for travelers in the 1960s. Fast forward to recent years, and gorilla trekking is still a much desired activity to do in the eastern central African region - in fact, for some (including myself), it is the primary reason to journey there.
Official gorilla tour guides lead small groups on foot, in one of the national parks were gorillas make their habitat, and follow clues to pinpoint their exact location. There's hiking and scrambling and some climbing involved, so it requires being somewhat in shape, especially since it could take any where between half an hour to eight hours before a family of gorillas is actually found. Once the encounter is made, you are given about an hour to marvel in their presence. The time you have with gorilla is, in fact, safe - provided you follow certain rules (as reported by the Lonely Planet guide):