Is it safe to visit Volcanoes National Park? Visitor safety on a gorilla safaris in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda or on golden monkey tracking, birding safaris, hiking tours matters a lot. When it comes to gorilla trekking or any safari activities, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is one of the safest and secure destinations worth considering for all your gorilla safaris in Africa. Though the 1994 Rwanda genocide left permanent scars, Rwanda and its tourist destinations are safe for tourists to visit to explore the country’s natural wonders. Rwanda has tremendously transformed economically, politically and as a nation, they have vowed never to return to the past. Rwanda has rebuilt itself and today, it has become the favorite mountain gorilla trekking destination for most travelers visiting Africa.
Economically, Rwanda has rebuilt itself and much emphasis are on natural resource preservation. Interestingly, Volcanoes National Park is one of the main areas of interest when it comes to the conservation and protection of wildlife. It should be noted that Volcanoes National Park is where the late Dian Fossey camped during her 18 years of performing research on gorillas in the Virunga Region.
Volcanoes National Park is where all mountain gorilla treks in Rwanda are carried out but under leadership of the park guides. Each year, thousands of tourists worldwide visit the park to track mountain gorillas and also to see other wildlife such as golden monkeys. The endangered mountain gorillas share about 90% of their DNA with humans and this makes them the closest relatives to human beings.
Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park lies close to the Democratic Republic of Congo but regardless of its proximity, the park is very safe from all kinds of guerrilla war threats. All gorilla trekking adventures are regulated and tourists are led by armed park guides. There are a significant number of well-trained park rangers who have been employed to protect the park and its resources. However, there is still to exercise high level of vigilance. Be careful about the surrounding areas and ensure that all the valuables are safe for example the Virunga areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo but you can have the best of your gorilla safari or golden monkey tour and birding safaris
Are mountain gorillas safe to visit in Volcanoes National Park?
Mountain gorillas are generally interesting creatures attracting thousands of nature lovers who come to see them in their natural habitat. Before mountain gorillas officially opened for tracking, they undergo through habituated- this is the exercise often conducted 2 years less or more depending on how fast they can become familiar to human presence.
Fully habituated gorilla families are used to human presence, meaning, you can visit and have ample time to interact with a family of these unique apes. There are about 12 already habituated gorilla family groups in Rwanda Volcanoes National Park. They include among others Susa A, Karisimbi, Bwenge, Hirwa, Amahoro, Umubano, Sabyinyo, Agashya, Titus, Kwitonda, and more.
All visits to see mountain gorillas are restricted to only 8Pax who will be led by an armed park guide. While in the jungles, a maximum distance of 10 meters must be kept away from gorillas, no making noise, stay calm when gorillas charge at you and always follow what your guide tells you.
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park – Gorilla trekking is the main activity tourists go to take part on Rwanda safaris in Volcanoes National Park. Tracking gorillas in Rwanda is possible in any of the 12 gorilla families, and each gorilla group is visited by maximum of 8pax per day. A day trek to watch mountain gorillas is generally unpredictable, but takes 2-6 hours including one hour of magical interaction/encounter, photography, learning about their habits and behaviors.
Rwanda Mountain trekking permits – To be allowed to visit mountain gorillas in Rwanda, all intending visitors must have obtained valid gorilla permits in advance. Rwanda is a luxury gorilla safari destination and gorilla permits are issued at USD1500 per person per day for foreign non-residents, $500 for African foreign residents while East African residents and citizens are charges $200 per person.
What to carry on a gorilla safari in Volcanoes national park includes; waterproof daypack, camera free from flashlight, long trousers, waterproof hiking boots, sweater, rain jacket, long sleeved shirts, snacks, bottled water, basic first aid kit and more.