Kabaffulo Safaris

Gorilla Trekking Guide in Rwanda

Getting up close and personal with mountain gorillas in the wild is an experience that comes once in a lifetime. Seeing these massive apes in Rwanda is only possible on a guided gorilla trekking tour. Gorilla trekking to see mountain gorillas isn’t done anywhere except only in the 3 countries: Rwanda, Uganda and D.R. Congo.

How many gorillas are left on earth today?
A total of only 1063 mountain gorillas still survive in the wild and these apes roam freely within the misty montane areas of Ruhengeri. There is something special about getting up close and personal with the unique mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. These large apes share over 98.2% of their DNA with humans making them our closest relatives in the wild.
Planning a Rwanda gorilla tour this 2023? Here is a complete guide to gorilla trekking in Rwanda –where to go for gorilla trekking, best time, what to carry and accommodation, etc.

Where to see Rwanda gorillas?

There is only one place to be visited for gorilla trekking in Rwanda and that is Volcanoes National Park. This is where 30% of the world’s 1063 endangered mountain gorillas all reside. The park lies within the Virunga Conservation Area (VCA) which also covers the Congo’s Virunga & Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Volcanoes National Park location
Volcanoes National Park Rwanda is found on the Northwestern side of the country, and it is where Dian Fossey carried her research study for 18 years. The plight of the now endangered mountain gorillas got known thanks to Dian Fossey conservation efforts. Volcanoes National Park Rwanda was gazetted in 1925 and features in the Gorillas in the Mist film (1988). 12 (twelve) gorilla family groups live within this park and each is visited by a maximum of eight (8) guests.

The best time to visit Rwanda Volcanoes National Park
The best time to visit Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is during the dry season when there is low or no rain; the habitat is drier and easier to trek through the steep slopes. The dry season to travel for gorilla trekking Rwanda is around June, July, August, to September and December, January to February. The treks to see gorillas are also open during the wet or rainy season that is March, April, May & October, and November.

What to expect on a gorilla trekking Rwanda
Normal gorilla treks in Rwanda begin early in the morning after briefing at Kinigi offices. You will leave the park offices at 8:30 am with an experienced guide leading you through the whole adventure. The trek is lengthy and unpredictable often lasting for about 2-6 hours but includes one hour of a close encounter with a family of mountain gorillas.
A reasonable fitness level is required for you to have a successful gorilla trekking experience in Rwanda. Gorilla families often move to long distances and the ground can be muddy if it has rained. These and more are some of the important factors that determine the length of your gorilla trek.

An encounter with the mountain gorillas in Rwanda
Upon meeting the family of mountain gorillas, the park official or guide will allow you to stay for one hour enjoying a close interaction and taking pictures of these massive creatures. When interacting with gorillas, a distance of about 8 meters must be maintained at all times.
Minimal noise must be kept while on a gorilla trek in Rwanda. No flash camera should be used for taking pictures of gorillas as it can scare or make them irritated. You turn off the flashlight before you begin any photography.

Gorilla trekking permits/price of gorilla permits in Rwanda
All visits to see mountain gorillas require guests to have valid gorilla permits. A single Rwanda gorilla permit costs USD 1500 per person and this applies to guests with plans to visit Volcanoes National Park for gorilla trekking. 12 gorilla families are available for booking by visitors on the Rwanda gorilla trip and these translate to about 96 gorilla permits.

What to carry gorilla tracking tour
You must carry essentials if you are to have a successful gorilla trekking safari. Some of the items to pack or have on an actual gorilla tour include a waterproof daypack, waterproof jackets, long-sleeved shirt, waterproof jackets, socks, a wide-brimmed hat, gardening gloves, insect repellents, sunscreen, bottled drinking water, trousers, a first aid kit, extra batteries, and many more.

The best places to visit on Rwanda gorilla trekking

The recommended accommodation facilities to stay on gorilla trekking safari include budget, luxury and midrange. They include Virunga Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Bisate Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Gorilla’s Nest Lodge, Kinigi Guesthouse, Hotel Muhabura, Garr Hotel, Five Volcanoes Hotel, Best View Hotel and others.
Getting to Rwanda Volcanoes National Park (Northern Province)
Distance from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park is 104 km about 2-3 hours’ drive. The park is located in Ruhengeri, the Northern Province of Rwanda and from Uganda, you can cross via Katuna or Chanika border.

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