WHERE TO TREK MOUNTAIN GORILLAS IN RWANDA?
Rwanda is one of the best places in the world to trek with mountain gorillas, and travelers can do so in Volcanoes National Park, located in the northwestern part of the country. Here's how you can go about trekking with mountain gorillas in Rwanda.
What you should know Rwanda’s mountain gorilla trekking
Obtain a gorilla permit:
• All travelers planning to go mountain gorilla trekking should obtain a gorilla trekking permit in advance. Mountain gorilla permits are limited in number and can be competitive in nature, so it's advisable to book in advance, like six months prior to your travel date.
• Travelers can obtain their mountain gorilla trekking permits through the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) or through a reputable local tour operator. Make sure to check availability.
Choose a Trekking Group:
• Travelers to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park for gorilla trekking are typically organized in groups of up to eight visitors per mountain gorilla family.
• Depending on the travelers’ fitness level and preferences, you can request a particular group that matches your trekking abilities.
Prepare for the Trek:
• Make sure you are in good physical shape, as gorilla trekking can be physically demanding due to steep terrain and altitude.
• Wear appropriate clothing for the trek, including long-sleeved shirts, long pants, sturdy hiking boots, and a waterproof jacket.
• Carry essentials like drinking water, a packed lunch, a hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
• On the day of your trek, you'll meet your park ranger guide and other trekkers at the park headquarters in Kinigi, near the park entrance.
• After a briefing on gorilla etiquette and safety, you will be assigned to your gorilla family group and start the trek.
• The duration of the trek can vary from a few hours to a full day, depending on the location of the gorilla family you are tracking.
• Once you find the assigned gorilla family, you will have a precious one-hour encounter with them. You can observe their behavior, take photos (without flash), and enjoy the experience.
• Follow the guidelines provided by your guide, which include maintaining a safe distance from the gorillas, avoiding direct eye contact, and staying calm and quiet during the encounter.
Return to Park Headquarters:
• After your one-hour gorilla encounter, you will trek back to the park headquarters, where you will receive a certificate for your participation.
Remember that gorilla trekking permits are subject to availability; it's essential to check the latest information and plan your trip accordingly. Additionally, gorilla trekking is subject to regulations aimed at protecting the gorillas and their habitat, so it's important to respect these rules for the well-being of the gorillas and the sustainability of this incredible experience.