Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park

Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park is the most memorable safari activity to do in a life time, this thrilling and adventurous activity offers visitors an opportunity to see the critically endangered and rare mountain gorillas in their nature habitat.

In Rwanda, gorilla trekking is only and only done in Volcanoes national park. The park is also one of the only 4 destinations in the world where you can do gorilla trekking.

 Volcanoes national park is the most famous safari destination in Rwanda located in the northwestern part of the country bordering with Mgahinga Gorilla national park in Uganda and Virunga national park in Republic of Congo. Volcanoes national park covers an area of 62 square kilometers protected the slopes of the magnificent mountain range which is a home to endangered mountain gorillas and a rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, evergreen and bamboo forest and open grasslands.

Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes national park is a home to a total of 380 mountain gorillas including 10 mountain gorillas groups which are open for tourism, these gorilla families underwent 2 years gorilla habituation process which made them used to human presence

Making eye contact with these gentle giants is a memorable and unforgettable life experience, in Volcanoes national park you spend one hour with them while observing their amazing behaviors which are similar to humans.

Habituated Gorilla families in Rwanda

There are 10 habituated gorilla groups in Rwanda that are

  • Susa Gorilla Group (Susa A Family)
  • Karisimbi Gorilla Group (Susa-B)
  • Sabyinyo Gorilla Group
  • Amahoro Gorilla Group
  • Umubano Gorilla Group
  • Agashya Gorilla Group
  • Kwitonda Gorilla Group
  • Hirwa Gorilla Group
  • Bwenge Family Group
  • Ugenda Gorilla Family
Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park
Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park

Gorilla trekking is the major activity done in Volcanoes national park, this experience starts early in the morning with briefing at the park’s headquarters at RDB (Rwanda Development Board) in Kinigi. The briefing is done by professional park rangers and guides that will be leading you in the forests of the park.

In the briefing, you are taken through the rules and regulations and how to conduct yourself while in the presence of mountain gorillas, in groups of 8 people you are allocated a gorilla group to visit or trek.

The trekking takes approximately 2-6 hours of searching for mountain gorillas depending on the gorilla family you are trekking, when you locate the gorillas you are allowed to send only one hour in their presence while observing their behavior. You are allowed to take pictures as long as your flashlight is off.

After one hour, you trek back to the park’s headquarters where you are rewarded with gorilla trekking certificates.

Note: Each gorilla family is visited by only 8 people a day

As the briefing goes on, you will enjoy a cup of coffee while be entertained by local dances performed by local Rwandese.

With guidance of a guide, you will trek into the jungle of Volcanoes national park in search for mountain gorillas. This walk in the forests of volcanoes national park in search for the gentle creatures is what is referred to as Gorilla trekking or Gorilla tracking.

Prior to start gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park, there is a provision of tourists requesting a group of their choice for their trekking (however there is no guarantee of getting it).  At the beginning of the day, the park’s rangers speak with all the guides and try to match the trekkers to the various groups based on the trekker’s preferences but also where they expect each group to be found that day

Because mountain gorillas are always on a move, a group that is normally easy to trek can be much harder trek the next day and vice versa

 Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park has been done for many years now and it is has remained safe and relatively accessible, gorilla trekking in  Rwanda offers visitors an opportunity to encounter one of the habituated gorilla families in the forests of volcanoes national park.

Price of gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda

Gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda, Volcanoes national park currently costs US$ 1,500. Only a daily only 96 gorilla permits are issued by Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and because of the high demand, the available permits are not enough when compared to the number of visitors who are interested gorilla trekking.

Visitors are advised to book their Rwanda gorilla trekking safari about 6 months prior.

 Where to stay in Volcanoes national park

Volcanoes national park has a number of accommodation facilities serving tourists on a gorilla trekking safari, these facilities range from budget, midrange and luxury. And they include

  • One & only Gorillas Nest
  • Singita Kwitonda Lodge
  • Bisate Lodge
  • Amakoro Songa Lodge
  • 5 volcanoes Boutique Hotel
  • Mountain Gorilla’s Nest lodge
  • Sabinyo Silverback Lodge
  • Best view Hotel
  • Faraja Hotel
  • Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge

Other activities to do in Volcanoes national park

Though volcanoes national park is known for gorilla trekking, there are other thrilling and memorable Rwanda safari activities you can do and these include

  • Golden monkey tracking
  • Hike to Dian Fossey Tombs
  • Hiking Mount Bisoke
  • Cultural visits

 Also Volcanoes national park can be combined to visits/ safaris to other Rwanda safari destinations such as Akagera national park where you will see various big Five and Nyungwe Forest national park  for chimpanzee tracking and bird watching.

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