Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda
In Rwanda, one can embark on a Gorilla Tracking Safari in Volcanoes National Park, which crosses the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the park, you can find a quarter of the world’s mountain gorilla population, and the remainder can be traced between Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Virunga National Park in Congo. On a gorilla tracking tour, you have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to stare gorillas in the eyes and learn about them face to face. Though gorilla tracking takes place all year round, the best time to go is between December and February. Hiking during April, May, and November is not recommended due to heavy rains.
Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Permits
Gorilla tracking permits cost $1500 per person. This price may seem high, but the money is used for gorilla conservation efforts in the park and to provide 24-hour guards against poaching. At present, there is no “off season discount,” or period during the year when the price is lowered.
The gorillas roam around the forests in families, and you will be assigned a family to track. It can take any amount of time between 30 minutes and 8 hours to find your gorilla family; keep your patience and good humor to get the most out of your hike. General fitness is appropriate, as it can be strenuous to roam the slopes for up to eight hours. Be assured that your guide will be experienced and knowledgeable about gorillas and tracking, and will do his or her best to ensure your enjoyment on your trip.
About Gorilla Tracking
On the morning of your tracking day, you will be taken to the Volcanoes National Park headquarters, where you will watch a traditional dancing performance over a hot cup of coffee. Next, you will receive a short briefing and separate into groups of eight persons or less. Your guide will outline the etiquette of gorilla tracking, and explain what you can and cannot do. For example, eating and drinking in the presence of the gorillas is not permitted, and you should turn your cell phone on silent or turn it off. Next, you will drive with your group to the area where your family was seen last. Since the early morning, local guides will have been tracking the gorillas, and you will head in the direction they indicate on foot. Your guide will be in radio contact with the trackers, who will help you locate the gorilla family.
When you finally do locate the family, do not worry about the danger of facing a 200-kg silverback gorilla. The gorillas do not mind humans watching them, and will continue to eat and play normally. They might approach you closer than 20 feet. Keep a low voice, and move slowly; here, the gorillas are wild. Always listen to your ranger guide.
Because gorillas and humans share 99% of the same DNA, gorillas are susceptible to human illnesses; thus, if you have a cold, you will be asked to remain at a distance of at least 7 meters (about 20 feet) from the gorillas.
Other things to consider
Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Tours
Enjoy Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Safaris in Parc National des Volcans (PNV) or Volcanoes National Park. The park is home to over 360 Mountain Gorillas, with 7 Habituated Gorilla Families available for tourists to visit. The distance from Kigali to PNV is only 2 hours, making Rwanda the best Gorilla trekking destination compared to Uganda and Congo the other two countries where you can find the mountain gorillas. We offer several Rwanda Gorilla Tours ranging from day trips to multiple day safaris.
Rwanda Gorilla trekking Permits
The Rwanda Gorilla trekking permits costs $1500 for foreigners and $350 for foreign residents. We normally include the gorilla permits in our quoted prices.
Accommodation options during Rwanda Gorilla trekking
We offer several accommodation options for travelers to choose from depending on their budgets. Recommended hotels near the park include Muhabura Hotel / La Palme Hotel (Budget) Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge / Mountain Gorilla View Lodge (Mid-range) Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel / Sabinyo Silverback Lodge (Luxury)
It is recommended to book your gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda at least 3 months before intended travel date to enable us secure your trekking permit in time. We can also do last minute bookings depending on availability of the gorilla trekking permits.
Other activities to do while on your Rwanda gorilla safari
Volcanoes national park has a lot of other interesting activities you can do while on your Rwanda safaris including Hiking mount Bisoke, Golden Monkey trekking, Dian Fossey Hike, hiking mountain Karisimbi, a visit to the ibylwacu cultural centre, a visit to the twin lakes of Ruhundo and Burera.