Your complete mountain gorilla trekking guide in Rwanda:
Gorilla trekking is an act of hiking and making your own way through the forest in search of habituated gorilla families that have been assigned to your group. The tourists are briefed before trekking begins about different safety tips, dos, and don’ts, rules, and regulations that are followed while trekking for gorillas. Before trekking, tourists are divided into groups of 8 individuals according to their interests, physical abilities, and age to hike a given gorilla group, the park authorities know the location of the gorilla group. You are later assigned a guide who knows every corner of the forest and everything about gorillas. The ranger guide will protect you in the forest and in case they instruct you to do something, please fall in line for your own safety. You can as well ask anything about gorillas that you need to know, they have the information about the gorillas.
For a fun trip, you can make use of a porter, one who can help you with your pack, give you a pull or push in the forest when things get tough, and yet at a small fee. The disabled interest trekkers or age individuals, the park offers help where at a fee, you are given individuals to carry you through the forest as you trek on a comfortable sadden chair. This creates employment for these individuals when you hire a few of the youth staying around the park.
After the briefing , trekking starts at around 8:30 from the starting point which depends on the location of the gorilla family you are going to trek. You can either walk or drive to the starting point of your trek from the park headquarters/ sector offices. Hiking usually takes 1 hour or 1:30 minutes to get to the assigned gorilla family and in some cases, it may take up to 4 hours time before you find your gorilla family. Once you are in contact with your gorilla family, you are have one hour with the gorillas as you take photographs of them, watch them eat, rest, make their nests, mate, play around. In case they are on a move, you will be able to move with them, however, keep the distance of 8 meters.
There is a 95% chance of seeing the gorillas in Volcanoes. Visiting gorillas is a bit hard and tiring especially finding them with the high altitude, rain, mud in the forest on the slippery slopes, dark forest due to the thick canopy, however, the activity usually pays off when you encounter the gorillas. They are very funny and stubborn creatures. However, you must not flash your camera. Gorillas are usually in different settings, some in the denser part of the forest, others in an open area with plenty of sunlight which depends on your location.
About the permits
Note that all tourists must present a valid gorilla permit for trekking gorillas in the Volcanoes national park. You should book six months prior because there are a few permits each day for Volcanoes national park. Each gorilla permit allows you just one hour to visit the gorillas and so for those who wish for multiple visits, you can book for as many permits as your visit or you can book one permit which allows you 3 consecutive days trekking of the gorillas. This permit is discounted and it’s only offered during a few seasons in the months of May to November the offer is for US5000$ per person. Permits for trekking in volcanoes national parks cost US 1500$ for foreign nonresidents, US 500$ for foreign residents, and US 200$ for East African residents. There is another discount when you visit Nyungwe national park and volcanoes national park which earns you a 30% discount on the permits which are sold at US1050$ per person and US1250$ for delegates.
How to book a gorilla trek in volcanoes national park.
There is a wide range of tour operators in the country, Pamoja tours and Travel Company being one of the best tour operators. Visiting gorillas is the number one activity that has put the Volcanoes National park of Rwanda on the global market.
It is possible to book the tour independently. However, this might be hard hence you need to do your homework very well.
Accommodation and permit bookings
You should also book your permit and accommodation before you set off. There are a few lodges in volcanoes that provide classy and luxurious accommodation. If you plan to stay around the park, book your accommodation before you get to set off to avoid disappointments. You might miss the trek because of such small delays since trekking starts at 7 AM with a briefing.
If you plan to book a tour, do it fast! Tour operators have knowledge of every service representative in the group starting from drivers, staff, and many others. They have personally visited every available lodge and are familiar with the proximity of each gorilla family. This is very valuable information because it determines the staff and the people you are going to work with like skilled drivers, the terrain of the area which helps you to determine where your client is going to trek since you have all the information needed about the client. Tour operators can plan all an itinerary and organize your accommodation, transportation, permits for those who plan to trek gorillas or track chimps.
There are a few associations with different tour operators. However, there are a few different tour operators who aren’t members of these organizations. However, the best are associations like Rwanda tours and travel association of Rwanda and Association of Uganda tour operations.
Pamoja tours and travel company has different safari options which vary in prices. The prices depend on the number of days you are willing to stay and the kind of tour you want.
If you contact Pamoja tours and travel company, we will advise and recommend the best safari tour. We can even arrange for extra activities after your tour. Such activities may include nature walks, community encounters, golden monkey tracking, and other activities.
Why Rwanda for trekking?
Volcanoes national park is the easiest to access compared to the other mountain gorilla trekking countries like Virunga national park of Congo, Bwindi, and Mgahinga National Park of Uganda. You can access the park in 2-3 hours from Kigali international airport which isn’t the case for Uganda and Congo.
There is less forest cover in Volcanoes than in Bwindi. Those who wish to compare differences can trek in both the parks.
Volcanoes national park’s terrain is favorable for those who trek there compared to Bwindi impenetrable national park in Uganda. Bwindi has very steep hills which are hard to climb. On the other hand, Volcanoes is less tiring especially in the drier seasons where the slopes are dry.
Rwanda government ranks highly in efficiently using the revenue from gorilla permits. It uses that revenue to protect and preserve the primates, the surrounding community and the park itself.
Some of the Gorilla Trekking Safaris
- 3 Days of Bwindi gorilla trekking & Lake Bunyonyi for Relaxation
- 5 Days Rwanda gorilla tracking and Masai mara safari
- 7 Days Uganda safari Gorilla and Chimpanzee Trekking
Your best tour operator
Book your gorilla safari with a well experienced and trained tour operator will ensure safety in the country. Pamoja tours and travel company is an authentic company. We provide professional tour services while putting your wants and needs first. More to that, we have worked with different people in all the East African countries of Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. That said, we assure you of the best safari offers especially gorilla trekking safaris.
Additionally, our company can help you plan and prepare for your gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda. Right from transporting you from Kigali international airport to your accommodation facility. We can transport you to your destination as long as you rely on us. We will advise you on the best safari ideas, trips and all facilities you need if you contact us.