Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda is one of the biggest tourist activities that has sold Rwanda’s tourism industry globally as many travelers flock Rwanda to trek these primates.
Mountain gorillas are an intelligent species of primates that share 98% of their DNA with human beings. These endangered apes live in the wild in tropical rain forests of Rwanda, Uganda, and Congo.
Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda can be conducted in 10 habituated gorilla families of Volcanoes National Park which lies in the northwestern part of Rwanda and famously known as a home for mountain gorillas.
Volcanoes National Park protects to over 400 mountain gorillas which have changed the Tourism industry in Rwanda. These great apes are being trained to get used to the presence of human beings/tourists in a process called habituation.
The park has 10 habituated gorilla families where travelers do the gorilla trekking in Rwanda from and these include Susa family, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Umubano, Amahoro, Hirwa, Bwenge, Ugende, Agasha, and the Titus family.
Gorilla trekking is best done in the morning hours after your breakfast. You are given a short briefing about the gorilla trekking activity at the park headquarters. Rwanda development board has got over 80 gorilla tracking guides and they are all fluent in English, French, and well-trained guides. Some of these guides will lead you to one of the gorilla families in the midst of tropical rain forest.
They allow only 8 people per group to engage in this activity, which takes 1 to 7 hours in the forests and it’s you to select what group you want to visit.
You will get a chance to learn about their lifestyle as you observe them in the forest for the given 1 hour.
As a traveler, you need to book your gorilla trekking permit for Rwanda through a recognized tour operator in Rwanda. For the reservation, it requires travelers to send a copy of your passport, visa in advance for the booking arrangements and also reserving your hotel to stay.
Rwanda gorilla permits cost $1500 per person per day and 80 permits are always available each day for the tourist going for trekking for the 10 gorilla families.
Rules to follow before going for trekking:
- Wash your hands before you go for gorilla trekking in Rwanda.
- Travelers are requested to keep their voices at a lower level in order not to scare the apes.
- Do not leave the rubbish in the park instead dispose off them in the dust bin because they can harm the gorillas once eaten.
- Trained guides will lead you to the gorilla trailhead where you will spend almost half a day adventuring these unique gorillas.
- While you’re in the wild with these apes keep a distance of about 5 to 6meters away from them.
- Do not touch on the gorillas, because these great apes are 98% DNA of human beings and easily affected by human diseases.
Things to carry when going on the gorilla trekking safaris include Light and warm clothes, long sleeved shirts, insect repellents, sun hats, clear cameras with a full battery, garden gloves, binoculars, hiking boots, mineral bottled water, and energy eating snacks.
Volcanoes national park does not have any accommodation or overnight camping inside the park premises or else you can check with ORTPN about the camping option nearby in Kinigi. The park is surrounded by amazing hotels and lodges such as golden monkey guest house, park view lodge, Amahoro Songa lodge, La paillote gorillas palace, Le bamboo gorilla lodge and many more. These hotels and lodges are categorized into budget lodges, midrange, and luxury lodges.
The best time to trek gorillas is in the dry seasons from the months of June to September and between December to mid-March. These are the months when quite a number of tourists tend to do gorilla trekking in Rwanda.
Other activities include that it can be included in the itinerary for safaris to Rwanda for gorillas include Golden monkey trekking, Nature walks, Climbing of Bisoke volcano since it is also a home of eight volcanoes, Touring the lakes and caves, Hiking to Dian Fossey tomb, Culture encounter and many more.
Volcanoes national park is situated in Musanze village and a traveler can access this park from Kigali the capital city of Rwanda to the park within 2hours and 33 minutes by road. Traveler can choose to fly to and from Entebbe international airport to Kigali airport within 2 hours then you will be picked from the airport by the tour operator by who will transfer you to the park.