Gorillas in Rwanda have been one of the main reasons why Rwanda’s tourism industry has grown so fast as tourist flock the country to engage in Gorilla Trekking. Gorillas in Rwanda which are found in a small protected montane rain forest in the northwest region of Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park.

Gorillas in Rwanda

Volcanoes national park covers 160 square kilometers of the land that comprises of 5 of the 8 volcanoes in the Virunga mountain ranges such Mt. Karisimbi, Mt. Muhabura, Mt. Gahinga and Mt. Sabyinyo which inhabits a wide number of wide animals most especially the gorillas. The park first gazetted in 1925 as a small area to protect gorillas from being poached and it was one of the first parks to be established in Africa basically to protect the endangered mountain gorillas.

Gorillas can be found in the hidden forest volcanoes of East Africa in Volcanoes national park of Rwanda. It seemed that gorillas were lost in the world again and could no longer be seen anymore but the American primatologist and conservationist Dian Fossey arrived in 1967 to carry out research on gorillas in the park. When she arrived, she decided to set up a research center between Karisimbi and Visoke where she spent most of her time doing research about gorillas. She helped conserve and fight for the rights of the endangered species. During that time there were a few numbers of about 300 giant primates left in wild. The great work of Dian Fossey is still appreciated by the Economy of Rwanda till up to date because of her research about gorillas in this park that’s why you cannot fail to see mountain gorillas in Rwanda since their numbers were increased through conservation.

Gorillas are wild primates that can be found in the thick forest of Africa with a variety of fruits which are the best diet of the Gorillas. In Rwanda, they are found in Volcanoes National Park which is a home of mountain gorillas and other mammals like the golden monkey, black-fronted duiker, spotted hyenas, bushbuck, buffaloes, insects, reptiles among others. There are over 178 bird species and 16 endemic bird species found at the edge of Virunga and Rwenzori mountain. Volcanoes Conservation Area is meant to aid mountain gorillas and it is amazing that their numbers are increasing day by day not only in Rwanda but also its neighboring countries such as Uganda and Congo. Though they face a major threatening from habitat losses and poaching them by the farmers or poachers. They have turned poachers into vocal advocates for conservation. The funds created from the sale of gorilla trekking permits and money raised from park entrance fees have contributed a lot to local communities living around the park, managing the park, developing and improving nature resources in the region.

Rules to follow while Trekking Gorillas in Rwanda

  • Gorillas are extremely closely related to humans, to note they can easily be affected by our infection which can kill them such as flue and other miner diseases that may affect them. Visitors are advised not to trek if they are ill.
  • You’re not allowed to touch on them while in the wild and you should at least be 2 to 4 meters away from them.
  • Flash cameras are not allowed because they might scare them and they might charge. 
  • Lower voices while in the wilderness with them.
  • Only eight people are allowed to trek in each gorilla family and are given one hour to observe the gorillas.

The gorilla troops are headed by one dominant silverback i.e. the male gorilla because of being stronger with silver hair that adorns dark fur and there are other members in the troop including the young male gorilla, females and their offspring. The leader of the group organizes activities like nesting in leaves, eating, playing and many more. All these can be encountered while you visit the Gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda, and Congo.

More about Gorillas in Rwanda is that the country hosts 10 habituated gorilla families which are open to tourists for gorilla trekking and each group has a group size, leader of the family, and location to each of these families. When you get a chance to come across one of these families it’s when you will realize that mountain gorillas are still existing in the world. Gorilla families are found in forest trail heads of Volcanoes National Park. The best way to see these Gorillas in Rwanda is to carry out gorilla trekking activity.

This is a high light of trekking mountain gorillas in one of the 10 habituated gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park which is bordered by Virunga National Park in Congo and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda. The gorilla groups in Rwanda include Sabyinyo family, Hirwa family, Amahoro family, Umubano family, Ugenda Family, Bwenge family, Agashya family, Kwitonda family, Susa family, and Kansimbi family. To be part of gorilla trekking in Rwanda in one of these gorilla families, it needs a traveller to book gorilla permits before your time of arrival. In Rwanda, gorilla permits cost USD 1500 per person.

Gorillas in Rwanda
Gorillas in Rwanda

However, where gorillas are being found their other species of mammals like golden monkeys, black-fronted duiker, spotted hyena, bushbuck, buffaloes, insect, reptiles and many other species. Apart from doing gorilla trekking activity in Rwanda, you can as well engage in very many other activities including golden monkey trekking, Climbing Bisoke volcanoes, mountain hiking Adventure, tour of the lake and caves, Ibyiwacu culture villages tour, Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National Park and all these have impacted on Rwanda’s tourism destination.

Best Time to Visit Gorillas in Rwanda

The best season to visit the habitats of gorillas in Rwanda is in the dry season when the forest trail heads are dry, starting in the month of June to September and December to February. You can as well decide to visit in the wet season and within this period rates of hotel or lodge can be cheaper.

Accessibility: Volcanoes national park can be accessed within 2 to 3-hour drive from Kigali International Airport.

Accommodation when visiting Gorillas in Rwanda

Where gorillas are inhabited in Rwanda there are beautiful comfortable accommodation facilities like hotels and lodges in and around the park ranging between luxury, budget, Mid-range and they include Ingagi park view lodge, Da Vinci Gorilla lodge, Amakoro songa lodge, Lapaillote Cyuza Island, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla lodge, Gorilla village and many more other nice lodges.

In conclusion, volcanoes national park in Rwanda is truly Rwanda’s top visited tour destination that features with the best primates’ experience, for example, mountain gorillas, birding, culture encounter, hiking and many more. To consider this park to be your tour package expect to enjoy the lifestyle, behaviour, habits, feeding, playing of these great apes i.e. the  ‘mountain gorillas’ in the wild that will be unforgettable while on safari tours in Rwanda. 

book a safari