Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
It is popular that mountain gorillas are the major draw card for Rwanda tours. Volcanoes National Park is blessed to be habitat of the rare mountain gorillas that are known to be few in number and also only found in the three African countries of Rwanda, Congo and Uganda. The population of the world’s total mountain gorillas stands at about 1004 as per the last census with about 600 of them in the Virunga massif. This is the highest number ever since conservation efforts for the gorillas, thanks to the dedicated authorities.
Gorilla trekking is an activity where individuals walk through the tropical rainforest on a hike to search and see mountain gorillas within their habitat. Trekking or hiking itself is a great experience.
There are 12 habituated mountain gorilla families in the Volcanoes National Park that are open for trekking. Each group or gorilla families goes through a series of habituation process before it is opened for gorilla trekking as a way of making them accustomed to human presence.
The fact that the gorillas are used to the presence of humans makes gorilla trekking safe to undertake. To undertake a gorilla trekking trip, all intending trekkers who earlier on purchased permits are expected at the par headquarters by 7am local time.
Therefore ensure to have spent the night near the park. At the park headquarters, you receive briefing on the gorilla trekking etiquette in Rwanda for a great elaboration of the dos and don’ts of the activity.
After briefing, a total of 8 individuals are allocated a ranger guide who is armed to take them through the trek and ensure their protection.
When you get into the jungle, the experience is amazing as you walk through the topical forest with bamboo through the trails. When you reach the forest, your guide will give all the needed information.
You spend a maximum of 1 hour watching the gorilla family go about its daily life and display the amazing “human like” characters. During this time you experience what many refer to as a lifetime primate tracking experience.
After the trek, you return to the park headquarters for debriefing and departure. Each Rwanda gorilla trekking permit is US$ 1500. Only persons under the age of 15 are allowed to go gorilla trekking.
To have a great gorilla trekking experience and also promote conservation efforts, there are set guidelines for trekking and these include;
- Remember to always wash your hands before you head to the gorillas.
- Human waste should be buried 30cm (12”) deep. You can ask the guide for help in case you need to.
- Please always keep your voice low at all times.
- DO NOT leave any rubbish in the park. Take out with you whatever you bring in.
- Maintain a 7 meters (21ft) distance from the gorillas at all times.
- DO NOT eat, drink or smoke in the forest.
- If you must sneeze or cough cover your face and turn away from the gorillas.
- Do not use flash photography.
- Do not touch the gorillas.
The minimum age for mountain gorilla trekking in Rwanda is 15 years and therefore if you are above the age plan to include it on your safari list. For any gorilla trekking experiences, contact us.