Guide to Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
Guide to Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda: Tucked between the classic safari locations of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, Rwanda provides some of the greatest primate tracking on the globe – all set against the backdrop of endless green landscapes and soaring mountain peaks.
With Rwanda home to more than half of the world’s surviving mountain gorilla population, it’s no wonder that the bulk of visitors come to monitor and watch our critically endangered cousins. Rwanda is an excellent place to see primates in general, including the playful Sykes monkey, the Golden monkey, and the raucous chimps of the Nyungwe Forest.
Despite its terrible history, Rwanda remains a safe and welcoming destination, a monument to its people’s fortitude. Rwanda provides an experience that is difficult to obtain elsewhere for those looking for a profoundly engaging safari.
Where to find mountain gorillas in Rwanda.
The Virunga Mountains in central Africa, a group of volcanoes extending about 50 miles along the borders of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Republic of the Congo, are home to over half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Parc National des Volcans (Volcanoes National Park) in northwest Rwanda is the finest spot to witness these unusual species.
Brief Background on Volcanoes National Park.
Dian Fossey, a conservationist, spent 20 years researching mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, and it is largely to her efforts that poaching was reduced in time to conserve these magnificent animals. The park appears in the 1988 film ‘Gorillas in the Mist,’ which chronicles Dian’s work.
Volcanoes National Park now has 12 habituated mountain gorilla groups. Trekking groups are assigned a single gorilla family to monitor, and the number of individuals in each group is rigorously limited to 8, resulting in a total of 96 permits available every day.
Best Time to do gorilla trekking in Rwanda.
Gorilla tracking is possible all year in Rwanda. The best time to visit is during the dry season, from June to September, when the jungle is less muddy and the pathways are less treacherous, but keep in mind that it might rain at any time of year.
The wettest months are April and May, which provide muddy paths, although you may still monitor gorillas during this period. During the dry season, gorillas frequently travel higher up the mountain and descend during the rainy season.
This is also a good period to follow chimps since fruit ripens, bringing them down to the lower regions of the forest canopy.
The wet seasons (March to May and October to November) might often give the ideal circumstances for gorilla photography. The air is clean of dust after a rainstorm, creating the ideal setting for gorilla photography.
How to get to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
Flying into Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, is the most convenient method to enter the country. You will be given a 30 day single entry tourist visa upon arrival at Kigali International Airport.
As of January 1st, 2018, nationals of all countries can obtain this visa for a charge of US$30; however, consult Rwanda immigration for the most up-to-date information. After clearing immigration at the airport, you will be welcomed and taken to your.
We recommend spending a couple of days in Kigali at the beginning or end of your vacation, but you may also go straight to Volcanoes National Park. The park is around 105 kilometers from Kigali and a two-hour drive from Kigali International Airport.
What to expect on a gorilla trek in Rwanda.
Your gorilla trekking journey begins at 7:00 a.m., when you must report at the Kinigi park headquarters in Volcanoes National Park for a briefing from one of the park rangers.
You’ll start looking for a gorilla family about 8:30 a.m. and must return to the campground by 7:00 p.m. at the latest (although your trek may take less time). The time and complexity of the journey you plan to do are important factors in deciding which gorilla family you will trek to see. Depending on the exact location of the gorilla family you’re following, your walk might last anywhere from two to nine hours.
You don’t have to be super-fit, but having a fair degree of fitness can help you appreciate the experience more. In pursuit of your gorilla family, your experienced guide and tracker will bring you through the forest routes. Even in the dry season, the forest may be slippery and muddy, and it can also be quite humid beneath the forest canopy.
The journey is pretty difficult, and you may find it difficult as you walk through the deep vegetation. The high altitude and steep, slick slopes can make the walk tiring, but spending time with mountain gorillas in the wild is well worth the effort.
When you discover these gentle giants, you’ll have up to an hour with them before returning to your lodge to reflect on your emotional and wonderful encounter with Rwanda’s wild mountain gorillas.