Trekking Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park to watch gorillas is what mainly attracts majority African travelers into the Land of a thousand Hills. Volcanoes national park situated just 2 hours from the Kigali international airport and Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, this is what has basically created a competitive edge, with other mountain gorilla destinations with the easy and convenience to see Rwanda gorilla in the wild.
Rwanda is a naturally endowed country with so many tourist attractions which include the endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, wildlife at Akagera National Park among others.
Recent records from the ongoing Virunga census indicate an increasing number of mountain gorillas estimated to be over 1000 surviving mountain gorillas in the world limited to the Virunga volcanic ranges of Africa covering borders of 3 countries of Rwanda, Uganda and the democratic Republic of Congo.
Gorilla trekking can only be witness in Bwindi impenetrable forest of southern Uganda and the Virunga conservation area comprising of Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Vitunga national park in Congo and Mgahinga national park in Uganda.
Rwanda’s Parc National de Volcans / Volcanoes national park is home to nearly half of the total number of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Rwanda has 10 habituated gorilla family groups, these gorilla families quite differ from one another mainly because of their location and nature of trek, but the behavior of the general group is quite unique from one another.
In every group you find a dominant silver back (male mountain gorilla) the family head, black backs (female mountain gorillas) responsible for hunting and delivery, and the young backs. During the trekking adventure, each tourist is assigned a group in regards to their preferences and health ability; where each gorilla family group is limited to only 8 visitors a day who only spend an hour with these lovely creatures; much as it’s a one hour’s stay, the excitement you get after an encounter with these estranged animals can never be explained in just simple words!
Rwanda comprises of a tropical kind of climate because of her location astride the equator hence the climate is always which makes it an all year round travel destination. If planning to visit gorillas in Rwanda, forest walks, your much advised to come during the dryer seasons within January, February, June – October.
Gorilla trekking permits are documents issued by the Rwanda Development Board that do allow tourists to visit mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park.
A Rwanda gorilla permit goes for 750 USD for all seasons, but usually is on high demand during the drier seasons as many people tend to travel during this season. Hence you are advised to book at least 6 months in advance for the high season to secure your spot.
The money paid for mountain gorilla trekking permits does not only permit you to the animals but also contribute towards their conservation and preservation process as it pays off and motivates the tour guides and game rangers protecting g the animals.
Whether found difficult or not; trekking mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National park is very rewarding. The trekking simplicity is determined quite by a number of factors which may include among others; weather condition on the trekking day, movement and location of the mountain gorillas, and health ability of the trekkers (tourists). If for example your trekking adventure is taken in the dry season, to a less
mobile family group and with good health and physical capability ; then it will be a very simple trek process and the animals will be found within a short period of time ( 3- 5 hours ) but if it’s taken in the rainy season, to a hard family group to trek like the Susa and Kwitonda groups and with not a good enough physical condition for the high altitude, the trekking process will turn out difficult as you move over the muddy and slippery routes to the high areas of altitude where the groups can be found. And this lasts from 5- 10 hours or even the entire day.
On the trekking day, you will be collected from your hotel very early in the morning and taken to the Kinigi park headquaters. Here you will be given your specific trekking groups to the preferred gorilla family group together with your English speaking guides who are also well informed on the trekking trails. You will also be briefed on the trekking process and also accorded the behavior conduct while with the mountain gorillas.
After this, you will be led to the base of the park from where you will embark onto your trail through volcanoes national park jungle with the tour guides taking the lead, with radio communication at the base camp throughout your exercise. The trekking exercise can last from 30 minutes to several hours depending on the movement of a given gorilla family group but once found, you will have a chance seeing these creatures in their natural vicinity; playing, eating, teasing and nurturing each other while keeping a keen eye on their visitors. While enjoying all this, don’t forget the trekking regulations!