Rwanda Gorilla Trekking
Rwanda Gorilla Trekking is one of the most amazing safari tour destinations where travelers get a chance to explore the amazing Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Rwanda is located in East Africa and is bordered by Uganda in the north, Burundi in the south, Tanzania in the East and Democratic Republic of Congo in the west. Rwanda is a small country in Africa and is known for harboring the endangered mountain gorillas which are found in Volcanoes national park.
Volcanoes National Park also known as Parc National Des Volcans in French is located in the northwestern part of Musanze village and is the oldest national park in Africa in that it was gazetted in 1925 purposely to conserve and protect the mountain gorillas which were facing extinction because of poaching. Volcanoes national park is situated in the great Virunga Conservation Area and is bordering with Mgahinga National Park in Uganda and Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Gorilla trekking is an adventurous and exciting activity where visitors above the age of 15 moves in the forest in search of the endangered mountain gorillas and once found visitors spend one hour in the presence of the gorilla family.
How to get to Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes national park is located 12km north of Musanze village 105km from Kigali International Airport. The park can be reached by air transport where you will fly into Kigali International Airport and then connect by road to Kinigi park headquarters. Volcanoes national park can also be reached by road transport means whereby you can use a 4WD tour company vehicle from Kigali airport to the park headquarters or use buses which are public means of transport that move between Musanze and Kinigi and thereafter you will hire a private vehicle to the park.
Volcanoes National Park can also be reached from Uganda where visitors can combine gorilla trekking in Bwindi national park or Mgahinga Gorilla National park and gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park. When coming from Uganda you will pass via Cyanika border in Kisoro which takes 3 to 4 hours drive or Katuna border in Kabale
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park is the most popular activity carried out and the park is a home of about 15 habituated gorilla families namely Sabyinyo family, Susa family, Igisha family, Agashya family, Hirwa family, Umubano family, Amahoro family, Muhoza family, Kwitonda family, Karisimbi family, Bwengye family, Isimbi family, Ugenda family, Pablo family and Titus family. Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park starts in the morning with a briefing at Kinigi park headquarters and then visitors are grouped into 8 people because each gorilla family can only be visited by a maximum of 8 people.
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park takes about 2 to 6 hours and sometimes less depending on the location of the mountain gorillas because they like to move from one place to another in search of food. Once the gorilla family has been found visitors are allowed to spend one hour in the presence of the gorillas taking photos with flashless cameras, watching the gorillas feed, breastfeed among others which gives you great experiences on your safari in Rwanda.
Cost of a Gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda
A single gorilla trekking permit in Volcanoes national park costs $1500 for all nationals. Rwanda’s gorilla trekking permit is the most expensive compared to that of Uganda which costs $ 600 and the Democratic Republic of Congo which costs $400. A gorilla trekking permit in volcanoes national park is valid for one day and allows you to spend one hour with the gorillas in their natural habitat though the actual trekking can take about 2 to 8 hours.
How to get a Gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda
Getting a gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda is very easy in that you can acquire the permit directly by contacting Rwanda Development Board (RDB) which is a tourism body in Rwanda. You can contact RDB via email or telephone calls. A gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda can also be acquired through contacting a trusted tour operator like Achieve Global Safaris; this is the best option because the company will save you all the hustle. Using this option, you will contact us with your date, month and year when you want to trek the mountain gorillas and we will check availability of the permits and get back to you. You will be asked to make a deposit on the gorilla trekking permit and once the payment has been made you will also send your scanned copies of the passport which will be used to process your permit. We will purchase the permit for you and send you scanned copies as confirmation.
Achieve Global Safaris will not only purchase a gorilla trekking permit but will also plan for your entire trip by organizing your accommodation, transportation, meals, plan other interesting activities that you can engage in and destinations that you can visit to make your safari memorable.
When to visit Rwanda for Gorilla trekking activity
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is done in Volcanoes national park and it can be visited anytime throughout the year though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June, July, August, December, January, and February. During the dry season, Volcanoes national park receives less rainfall which makes gorilla trekking trails passable. Volcanoes national park also experiences the rainy season in the months of March to May and September to November and during these months the park receives heavy rainfall which makes the gorilla trekking trails wet, muddy and slippery hence making trekking difficult.
What to pack for Rwanda Gorilla trekking safari
- Gorilla trekking permit, this is an important equipment when going for gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park because without a gorilla trekking permit, you will not be allowed to visit any gorilla family.
- Hiking shoes, hiking shoes should be comfortable so as to protect your feet from getting mud and also help you trek successfully in the jungle
- Garden gloves, these will help your hands from getting hurt due to thorny bushes and tree branches that you might touch when trekking, the gloves will also protect your hands from germs and you can remove them when in front of the gorillas so as to be able to take photos.
- Long socks, the long socks will be tucked into your long trousers so as to protect you from insects in the forest from entering your body.
- Long sleeved shirt and trousers, these clothes will provide you with warmth especially during the rainy season and in the morning.
- Insect repellent, this will protect your body from insects in the forest such as the ants and the tsetse flies.
- Energy snacks, you should carry packed lunch from the lodge and drinking water which will give you energy when trekking because gorilla trekking sometimes takes 2 to 7 hours hence the energy snacks will give you the strength to keep on trekking
- Waterproof rain jacket, this will protect you from rainfall since it can rain any time in volcanoes national park.
- Sunglasses and hat, the hat will protect your head from rainfall in case it rains and the sunglasses will protect you from direct sunshine during the dry season.
- Camera, this is important equipment to carry in that it will be used to take photos and record moments during the one hour with the gorillas in their natural habitat.
- Backpack, this is used to carry all your items for the Rwanda gorilla trekking safari such as energy snacks, insect repellent, camera among others.
Gorilla trekking rules and regulations in Volcanoes National Park
- Each gorilla family is visited by a maximum number of 8 people and the visitors are grouped depending on their interests and physical fitness. Visitors are grouped into a group of 8 so as not to transmit human infections to the gorillas.
- When trekking, visitors should keep their voices down so as not to disturb the wildlife in the forest
- Do not throw rubbish in the forest because gorillas might eat them so you should keep the rubbish in a bag and throw it in the dust bins after trekking
- Stay with your group when trekking because you might get lost in the jungle when you leave your group.
- Do not look directly in the gorillas’ eyes because they might charge
- You should be 7 meters away from the gorillas to avoid transmitting human diseases to the mountain gorillas.
- Do not use cameras with flashlights when taking photos of the mountain gorillas
- You should spend a maximum of one hour with the mountain gorillas
- Do not eat, smoke or drink while in the presence of the gorillas because some food droppings might fall down and gorillas might eat them hence transmitting some diseases to the gorillas
- Do not touch the mountain gorillas because they are wild animals
- In case you want to use a toilet, you will dig a hole of 30 meters feet and cover your waste afterward
- If you are feeling ill with either flue or cold, you are advised not to trek the mountain gorillas because they can easily be infected.
- You should be 15 years and above so as to be allowed to engage in gorilla trekking activity in Volcanoes national park.
Volcanoes national park offers you with fascinating and incredible moments on your gorilla trekking safari and the park also has other activities that you can engage in while on your safari such as Golden monkey trekking, Birding, Cultural visits, Nature walks in the forest among others hence giving you unforgettable experiences in Rwanda.