Gorilla Trekking Rwanda – Complete Gorilla Safari Guide on Rwanda Tour
Gorilla trekking Rwanda, a lifetime opportunity to meet the massive mountain gorillas in the African jungles. Mountain gorilla trekking safaris are only done in 3 destinations- Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) unlike other wildlife safaris.
Hitting the pristine jungles of Rwanda during gorilla trekking lets tourists to have an in depth knowledge on how they behave, take as many photos as possible while they are in the wild.
Where to go Gorilla Trekking Rwanda?
Gorilla Safari Rwanda is only conducted in the country’s popular Volcanoes National Park.
This is Rwanda’s top attraction that pulls thousands of gorilla safari lovers to splendid Volcanoes National Park to see the endangered mountain gorillas.
As of 2021, a total of about 1063 mountain gorillas still live on earth and a third of them are believed to be living within Volcanoes National Park/Parc National des Volcans Rwanda.
Being a major attraction in Rwanda, gorilla tourism contributes largely towards the country’s economy. Part of the revenue from gorilla tourism used to promote gorilla and other wildlife conservation in the volatile Virunga Area.
Location of Rwanda Volcanoes National Park (VNP)
Volcanoes National Park Ruhengeri is located in the extreme Northwestern side of Rwanda, within Musanze/Ruhengeri District.
Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is suitably found within the Virunga Region, a region that also includes other important gorilla safari destinations like Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Southwestern Uganda and the D.R. Congo Virunga National Park.
Access to Rwanda Volcanoes NP
Volcanoes National Park Ruhengeri is accessible either using public means of transport or private/rental car starting from Kigali Capital. From Kigali city/airport to Volcanoes NP takes visitors up to 2-3 hours’ drive.
Gorilla Trekking families of Rwanda
Volcanoes National Park shelters up to 13 habituated gorilla families each trekked by only 8 visitors per day. The available gorilla trekking families in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park include Bwenge, Hirwa, Sabyinyo gorilla group, Amahoro gorilla family, Agashya/13 Group, Karisimbi/Susa B gorilla family, Kwitonda family, Titus, Pablo, Umubano gorilla group, Ugenda family and others.
How is Gorilla Trekking Rwanda like?
Gorilla Trekking Rwanda adventure starts with an early morning briefing at Kinigi at 7:30am.
Briefing on gorilla trekking rules is followed by allocation of gorilla families to eligible visitors and those not with any illness issues.
A maximum of 8 visitors go trek Rwanda gorilla families/groups and all trekkers are escorted by an experienced park ranger guides.
Trekking to see mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s forests begins at 8:00am after allocation of gorilla trekking families. The take takes visitors on an altitudinal range of 2500 to 4000m and lasts for 2 to 6 hours inclusive of a complete hour of face to face encounter and photography.
How hard is Gorilla Trekking Rwanda?
Rwanda Gorilla Safari a challenging primate adventure involving visitors hiking through dense vegetation, altitude range of 2500 to 4000m. Regardless of these factors, many have realized their dreams including the elderly, persons with disabilities and others.
Visitors with heavy luggage can also enjoy their treks smoothly as there are porters to be hired to assist carrying the items. Hiring porters in Rwanda Volcanoes National Park costs USD10 and they are available at the park.
Trekkers are also provided with walking sticks- available at Volcanoes National Park offices or at your respective gorilla safari lodge. Generally, Rwanda gorilla safari requires you to be physically fit if you are to have a complete trek with mountain gorillas.
This requires trekkers to exercise as much as possible before the actual date of visiting Rwanda to start your gorilla trekking adventure.
How long can it take to see mountain gorillas?
A normal Rwanda gorilla trekking adventure lasts for 2-6 hours depending on visitor speed of hiking, nature of the habitat and location of gorillas.
This means it can take visitors long or shorter time to find mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park.
After trekkers have come across their gorilla families, they have one hour to spend with mountain gorillas, learn in depth about their daily behaviors and also take pictures.
Who is eligible to go on gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda?
The minimum Rwanda gorilla trekking age limit is 15 years. Persons within this age brackets are considered to be eligible for gorilla trekking experience. Amazingly, this is an inclusive primate adventure that even visitors of 65 years or persons with disabilities can be part of this exhilarating experience.
Is Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda expensive & why?
Rwanda positioned itself as luxury gorilla trekking destination for a reason. In general, gorilla trekking is costly/expensive but it is all worth price.
To trekkers who have already visited Rwanda for gorilla trekking, they term it as a priceless adventure. Rwanda gorilla trekking is expensive due to the high cost authorities incur for mountain gorilla conservation, paying for park officials, park ranger guides, veterinary doctors and others.
Is Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda safe?
Rwanda is one of the safest and secure gorilla trekking destinations in Africa. There are park rangers and other security agencies working together to ensure that Volcanoes National Park is a safe place for gorilla trekking for all gorilla safari holidaymakers. In addition, on actual date of gorilla trekking, visitors trek only already gorilla families used to human presence.
Gorilla Trekking Rules
- Always keep 8-10m distance from mountain gorilla families while on gorilla trek and even when gorillas get close, ensure there is gap between you and these apes.
- Facemasks should be worn and they should be covering the mouth and nose well.
- Regularly wash your hands//sanitize to avoid spreading germs to gorillas that later may cost their lives.
- Only 8 trekkers are allocated to a single gorilla group to visit.
- 2m/6ft social distance should be kept from one another.
- Only valid gorilla trekking permits are accepted for trekkers to be allowed to track a single gorilla family.
- Use of flashlight cameras isn’t allowed when taking pictures and this applies not only in Rwanda but also Uganda and D.R. Congo.
- Smoking, eating/drinking when in the presence of gorillas isn’t allowed- this is whether in Rwanda or Uganda.
- Only one hour is always given for visitors to enjoy a close encounter with gorillas in the wild.
- Littering of gorilla habitat during gorilla trekking is highly prohibited.
- To visit Volcanoes NP for gorilla trekking you must be 15 years.
When to go gorilla trekking Rwanda?
Gorilla trekking Rwanda is an all year round wildlife adventure. Trekking to see mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park is however best done during the dry season. Every year, Rwanda Volcanoes National Park records two dry seasons beginning June, July, August to September and December, January to February.
Trekking gorillas during the wet or rainy season is a little strenuous due to heavy rains resulting into muddy ground, slippery steep slopes. The wet or rainy season in Rwanda Volcanoes NP runs from March to May and October to November.
How much are Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Permits?
About 104 gorilla permits are available booking in Rwanda and each of these Rwanda gorilla trekking permits can be secured at USD1500 per person. Tourists can also enjoy 30% discount offer when spending a minimum of 3 days in Akagera National Park/Nyungwe Forest National Park between November and May- this amounts to USD1050.
It is always advisable to secure Rwanda gorilla trekking permits early about two to four months before the date of heading to the park for actual trek. Gorilla trekking Rwanda permits can be booked through reservation team at Hail Tours Uganda on your behalf without you going through a long stressing process.
Mountain gorilla facts
- Mountain gorillas scientifically called gorilla beringei beringei are Eastern gorilla sub-species living only in Uganda, Rwanda and D.R. Congo.
- Mountain gorillas have a lot they share with humans, about 98% of their DNA is same as that of humans.
- Male mountain gorillas weigh 390 pounds while an adult female is 250 pounds.
- Mountain gorillas in Rwanda like in Uganda, Congo live in families of 3 to 30 individuals.
- Their largest diet is composed of fruits, leaves, shoots, barks and more.
- Lifespan- mountain gorillas have a lifespan of 30 to 35 years and females give birth to one baby.
- Gestation period for female mountain gorillas is 8-9 months like humans.
What to pack/carry on Gorilla Trekking Safari?
Any successful gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda requires every traveler to pack appropriately and on your packing list include only essentials.
The list of essentials for gorilla trekking safari include a bottled water, gardening gloves, waterproof hiking shoes or boots, trousers, rain jacket or coat, camera free from flashlight, insect repellents, daypack, long sleeved shirt and more.
Where to stay on Rwanda Gorilla Safari?
While on gorilla safari tour in Rwanda, tourists have a range of accommodation worth booking for overnight stay; budget, mid-range and luxury.
The top accommodation in and around Volcanoes NP include Virunga Lodge, Five Volcanoes Lodge, Bisate Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge- Luxury. Other important lodges include Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Solution Lodge, Villa Gorilla Lodge, La Palme Hotel, Kinigi Guesthouse and more.