Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park is considered by many as the most amazing, thrilling and experience-filled gorilla safari in the world, with Rwanda considered by many as the best place to see the gorillas. Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park is the most sought after tourist attraction in the country of a thousand hills. Volcanoes National Park, located in Musanze is home to a significant population of mountain gorillas that can only be found in three countries including Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In total, there are about 1063 mountain gorillas still left in the entire world. It is in only three countries that travellers from world over can enjoy gorilla trekking.
Volcanoes National Park is located in the north western part of Rwanda, and is about 3 hours only from Kigali International Airport by road. The park covers a total area of approximately 16,000 hectares, and consists of afro-montane forests, bamboo forests, savannah grassland, 5 volcanic mountains that include Sabinyo, Gahinga, Muhabura, Bisoke and Karisimbi, vast swamps and so much more. Mountain gorillas live in such mountainous and forested area, making the trek to see them quite an activity. Strenuous though as it may seem, the encounter with the mountain gorillas is an ultimate wildlife experience. Volcanoes National Park is home to a number of animals say buffaloes, forest elephants, duikers, golden monkeys, the most sought after, gorillas, among so many others. It is the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park that most travellers come for in the park.
To be able to take part in gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park, travellers are required to purchase gorilla trekking permits from the Rwanda Development Board offices in Kigali or through reputable tour operators. A single entry gorilla permit costs $1,500 for all persons interested in visiting the gorillas, Rwandan nationals included. Given that gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park is a very much sought after activity, permits do sell out very fast, especially for the peak season of June-September. Booking in advance to secure yours on a preferred date is therefore very important. To book a Rwanda gorilla permit, passport details are required, make sure to have them in place.
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park involves hiking through steep slopes of the mountains, thick forested areas in search of the endangered gorillas in their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park starts very early in the morning with a briefing from the park authorities and rangers at Kiningi, the starting area of gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park. during the briefing, trekkers are given rules and guidelines to follow for a successful and conservationist gorilla trekking adventure. During the brief, travellers get to enjoy a cup of Rwandan brewed coffee. Trekkers are then placed in groups of 8 and allocated gorilla families to trek. During the gorilla family allocation, travellers get to enjoy a traditional dance performance. There are 12 gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park that are habituated and can be trekked by travellers. Only 8 persons per gorilla family can visit per day. children below the age of 15 cannot trek gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. travellers are allowed only one hour with the gorillas during which time you get to busk in their life as the little ones play that they can even come onto your laps, feed and whatever else they may be doing. At all times, adhere to the rules and guidelines provided and also listen to the rangers. Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park can take anything between 1-6 hours, depending on the location of the gorillas and the terrain.
For a successful gorilla trekking experience, travellers are encouraged to carry essential gorilla trekking gear that includes comfortable hiking shoes with a grip and preferably waterproof, long sleeved shirts, long safari pants that can allow free movement, waterproof jackets or raincoats with a hood, garden gloves, gaiters, waterproof backpack to safe keep your valuable items, sunscreen, insect repellent creams, energy giving snacks, and a hat. Bottled drinking water should not be left out. A hiking stick should be carried and this can be got from either your lodge of stay or at the starting point. It is at the starting point that you are encouraged to get a porter who would help with the luggage during the trek. Other items of personal nature shouldn’t be forgotten though that you might need while on a safari.
How to best prepare for gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park
- Mentally and physically prepare yourself well in advance before you embark on your gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park safari. Physical exercises like jogging more so on a hilly area is a good way to start off.
- Make sure to carry the most appropriate footwear. Open shoes are a no-go.
- Keep in mind that it can rain at any time
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes Park Rwanda can be done throughout the year. Whenever you decide to visit, the following rules and guidelines should be adhered to at all times;
- Persons below 15 years do not trek gorillas
- Do not visit the gorillas when sick
- Only 8 persons per gorilla family can visit per day
- Maintain a 7-meter distance away from the gorillas at all times
- Do not surround the gorillas
- Do not look straight in the eyes of the gorillas
- Do not touch the gorillas
- Do not use flash cameras while photographing gorillas
- Do not litter the forest. Carry back to the park headquarters all the rubbish, including tissue, food wraps
- Do not eat, drink or smoke near the gorillas.
There are comfortable lodging options available in and around Volcanoes National Park that travellers can stay in while on a gorilla trekking safari. These range from super luxury, luxury, mid-range to budget options. For whatever budget and preference, be sure to get the right accommodation.
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes Park Rwanda can be combined with a number of other activities in the park that include among others golden monkey tracking, volcano hiking, bird watching and nature walks. Other activities like game drives in Akagera National Park, chimpanzee tracking and canopy walks in Nyungwe, or even gorilla trekking in Uganda among others can all be added to your gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park safari. Get in touch with a reputable tour operator for the best rates and well-planned safari.