A guide to see mountain gorillas in Rwanda
A guide to see mountain gorillas in Rwanda- More than a half of the mountain gorilla population do live in the Virunga area on the slopes of the Virunga volcanoes. In the case of Rwanda, the mountain gorillas are hidden in the thick forests of volcanoes national park only and this is found in Musanze in the northwestern part of the country. Tourists who want to trek mountain gorillas that share 98% human DNA and are outside Rwanda have to fly into Kigali international airport and from there they will meet safari guides who will transfer them to the park taking 2-3 hours.
How to see mountain gorillas of volcanoes national park Rwanda
To meet the mountain gorillas of volcanoes national park you will start with waking up early in the morning at 7 am and moving to park headquarters where you will meet the rangers guides to teach you about the dos and don’ts of the gorilla trekking activity. From there the armed ranger guides will lead you into the jungle and start looking for these apes.
You will pass through different trekking trails with opportunities of meeting park animals like the golden monkeys, buffaloes, duikers, bushbucks, elephants, monkeys, and several bird species. When you are about to reach the mountain gorillas, you will keep the voices low and keep a distance of 7 meters long. 1 hour will be given to the trekkers to be around these mountain gorillas and they can use it to learn about their habits, watch them do daily activities and take photos.
Time to spend with mountain gorillas
The whole gorilla trekking activity in volcanoes national park takes 2-7 hours and the time taken depends on the location of the mountain gorilla family as well as the speed of trekkers. When you meet the gorillas busy doing their day to day activities, you will be given 1 hour only to be around them, and in case that’s not enough for you, you can book double gorilla trekking which you can do on any 2 different days on your safari.
Trekking mountain gorillas help you to meet them in their natural habits, watch them do activities like coupling, playing, hunting, nesting, and much more and in the same hour you will be allowed to take as many photos as you want but you must use cameras that have no flashlight. While with mountain gorillas taking pictures or watching them do daily activities you are asked to keep low voices and also keep 7 meters away from the family as you keep other rules and regulations.
Gorilla trekking permits for seeing mountain gorillas in Rwanda
A gorilla trekking permit is the most required item for one to be part of the gorilla trekking activity in volcanoes national park Rwanda. The national park harbors 10 fully habituated mountain gorilla families and only 8 people are allowed to trek a single gorilla group which means that 80 gorilla trekking permits are in the country every day.
The gorilla trekking permits for volcanoes national park do sell out quickly most especially in the dry season and that’s why we do advise you to book the permits in advance of at least 3-4 months. The trekking permits will be presented to the rangers at the park headquarters on the day of trekking and that’s where you will be allocated a group to trek based on your age and level of fitness.
Apparently, Rwanda gorilla trekking permits do cost $1500 per person per trek and they are issued out by Rwanda Development Centre. The permit price includes park entrance fees, guide fees, security, and one hour of being with mountain gorillas in their natural habitats. Due to safety reasons and the protection of mountain gorillas, the gorilla trekking permits are sold to persons above the age of 15 years old.
On the final day of gorilla trekking, if you show signs of any illness, you will be given back 50% of the gorilla permit price reason being mountain gorillas are vulnerable to human diseases and these include flu and cough. You can book with Africa Adventure Vacations a gorilla permit and we normally advise our clients to do so 3-4 months in advance to avoid last-minute inconveniences.
Where to sleep before or after seeing mountain gorillas in volcanoes national park?
Tourists intending to encounter mountain gorillas in Volcanoes national park don’t have to worry about where they will stay before or after trekking because the gorilla park has some of the best lodges on the African continent and these range from budget to mid-range to luxury options. Some of the lodges in volcanoes national park include Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Gorilla Volcanoes Hotel, Bisate Lodge, Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge, Virunga Lodge, Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, Ruzizi Tented Camp, One $ Only Gorilla’s Nest Lodge, Singita Kwitonda Lodge, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, and Villa Gorilla among others.
Best season to visit volcanoes national park to see mountain gorillas Rwanda
The dry season is the best time to visit volcanoes national park and encounter mountain gorillas. The season occurs from June to September and December to February and during this period there is little or no rainfall and this leaves the trekking trails less muddy and not slippery, the vegetation sort hence clear views of animals and the roads to the park are passable.
Travelers wanting to trek mountain gorillas in volcanoes Rwanda can still come in the rainy months of March to May and October to November but during this period there is plenty of rainfall, the trekking trails are muddy and slippery, the vegetation is thick giving unclear views of the park animals and the roads to the park are impassable. The rainy season favors the budget travelers since there are huge discounts on accommodation facilities and then those that want to carry on birding since there are plenty of birds in the park including the migratory ones.
Packing list for a gorilla trekking safari
At Africa Adventure Vacations we do advise our clients on what they need to have a perfect safari. Before leaving for a gorilla safari, make sure you have packed everything you need for a perfect activity. what to pack for a safari includes waterproof hiking shoes, a pair of gaiters, a pair of binoculars, a camera and extra batteries, insect repellents, a rain jacket, stocks, gardening gloves, a hat, sunscreen, long-sleeved clothes, reusable drinking water bottle, energy-giving snacks, backpack, face mask, and sanitizer.