Gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park Rwanda
Gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park Rwanda: Gorilla trekking is the most popular activity in Volcanoes national park where visitors move into the dense forests and steep volcanoes in search of the habituated gorilla families and once found spend one hour with them in their natural habitat. Volcanoes national park is located in northwestern part of Rwanda in Musanze village and borders with Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda. Apart from Volcanoes national park, gorilla trekking can also be done in other destinations namely Bwindi impenetrable national park, Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda and Virunga national park and Kahuzi Biega national park in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Volcanoes national park is one of the best gorilla trekking destinations in Africa and it harbors over 18 habituated gorilla families and among the 18 gorilla families only 12 are available for trekking on a daily basis while other gorilla groups have been reserved for reach but can also be trekked when the number of visitors increases.
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park starts in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters about the expectations, rules and regulations of trekking. After the briefing, you will be grouped into 8 people and allocated a gorilla group to trek. Grouping of individuals at the park headquarters is done according to physical fitness, age and personal preferences therefore visitors who are not fit are advised to communicate with the guides so that they are allocated a gorilla group that is near to trek.
At around 8:00am, you will start trekking in the jungle with a park guide and trekking takes about 30 minutes to 6 hours depending on the location of the mountain gorillas. Once the gorillas have been found, you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their natural environment which will be used to learn about their lifestyle, habits, behaviors, take photos and record the moments to show people back home after the safari.
Cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda
For any visitor who wants to engage in gorilla trekking activity in Volcanoes national park he or she must have a gorilla trekking permit which is a document that is issued by Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to a visitor allowing him or her to visit a habituated gorilla family in the park. a single gorilla trekking permit in Volcanoes national park costs $1500 for all nationalities and it’s the most expensive gorilla trekking permit compared to other destinations like Uganda where the permit costs $600 per person for foreign non-residents and $500 per person for foreign residents and Democratic Republic of Congo where a gorilla trekking permit costs $ 400 per person for foreign non-residents.
Booking a gorilla trekking permit in Volcanoes national park
A gorilla trekking permit in the park can either be booked directly through Rwanda Development Board where you will contact the offices via telephone calls or email or you can book through a tour operator like Achieve Global Safaris. You will therefore contact us with the date, month and year when you wish to travel for gorilla trekking. We will check for availability of the permit and get back to you. If the permit is available, you will be asked to make a deposit for the permit. Once the deposit has been made you will be asked to send a scanned copy of your passport which will be used in registration of the permit and we will acquire the permit for you. We will then send a scanned copy of the receipt as confirmation. Booking through Achieve global safaris is the best option in that we will save you the hustle and also plan for your entire gorilla trekking safari which involves transportation, meals, accommodation and other activities that you want to engage in apart from gorilla trekking
However a gorilla trekking permit in volcanoes national park should be booked 3 to 6months in advance before the trekking date because the permits are competitive especially during the peak season in the months of June to September and December to February therefore in order to avoid last minute disappointments, you are advised to book early.
What to carry for your gorilla trekking safari in Volcanoes national park
There are various essentials that you can carry on your gorilla trekking safari including long sleeved shirt and trousers to keep you warm during trekking, garden gloves to protect you from germs, hiking shoes to keep your feet dry, insect repellent to protect your body from biting insects such as tsetse flies, rain jacket/poncho to protect you from rainfall, hat and sunglasses, energy snacks like drinking water and packed lunch, walking stick, backpack to carry your items, camera to take picture, a pair of binoculars to view far wildlife species like the birds among others.
Best time to go for gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park
Gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park can be done all year round though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February. During the dry season there is less rainfall in the forest therefore gorilla trekking trails in the jungle will be passable compared to the rainy season when the trails are muddy and slippery which makes gorilla trekking difficult.
Though the rainy season is the period when there is heavy rainfall in the park there are some disadvantages for visitors who travel during this period for example less competition of the gorilla trekking permit and fewer crowds in the park.
Where to stay on your gorilla trekking safari in Volcanoes national park
There are a wide range of luxury, midrange and budget accommodations where you can stay during your gorilla trekking safari including Five Volcanoes Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Mountain Gorillas Nest Lodge, Bisate Lodge, Virunga Volcanoes Lodge, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Da Vince Gorilla Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Gorilla Solution Lodge, La Palme Hotel, Villa Gorilla Lodge, Gorillas Volcanoes Hotel Muhabura, Garr Hotel, Kinigi Guest House among others.
How to get to Volcanoes national park
When getting to Volcanoes national park you will fly to Kigali international airport and then connect to Kinigi park headquarters by road which takes about 2 hours’ drive.
You can also use public means of transport where by you will board a bus from Kigali to Musanze and then hire a private taxi to the park headquarters because there are no public means of transport to the park. Public means of transport is however not recommended because you can be overcharged and it takes a lot of time because the bus stops in all towns.
Volcanoes national park also offers other interesting activities that can be combined with gorilla trekking such as Golden monkey trekking, hiking the 5 volcanic mountains namely Mount Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Bisoke, Gahinga and Muhabura, visiting the Dian Fossey Grave, Musanze Caves, twin Lakes, Cultural encounters where you will visit Ibyi wacu cultural village, Birding and going for a city tour in Kigali where you will visit the genocide memorial Centre, museum among others.