Rwanda gorilla trekking permits
Rwanda gorilla trekking permits : Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is the most popular activity where visitors move into the dense tropical rain forests in search of the habituated gorilla families and once found spend one hour with them in their natural habitat. Visitors who want to participate in this incredible and thrilling activity are required to have a valid gorilla trekking permit which is a card or document that is issued by Rwanda Development Board to any visitor above the age of fifteen years allowing him or her to visit the endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes national park.
Volcanoes national park is a home of over 18 habituated gorilla families with only 12 families open for trekking and others reserved for research. Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park starts early in the morning with a briefing at Kinigi Park headquarters where after you will be grouped into 8 people and allocated a gorilla family to trek. Trekking of the mountain gorillas in the park is done in steep slopes therefore visitors need to be physically fit and those who are not physically fit are advised to communicate with the guides so that they are allocated a gorilla group that is near to trek.
Trekking in the jungle starts at around 8:00am with a park guide who is well conversant with the trails in the jungle and it takes about 30 minutes to 6 hours depending on the location of the gorillas. Once the gorillas have been found, you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat taking photos, recording videos, watching them as they carry out their daily activities, learning about their behaviors, habits among others.
Cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda
A gorilla trekking permit in Volcanoes national park costs $1500 per person for all nationals and Rwanda is the only destination with the most expensive permit compared to other countries like Uganda where a gorilla trekking permit costs $600 per person for foreign non-residents, $500 per person for foreign residents, UGX 250,000 per person for East African citizens and Democratic Republic of Congo where a gorilla trekking permit costs $400 during the peak season, $200 discounted gorilla trekking permit during the low season.
Rwanda increased the price of a gorilla trekking permit in 2017 from $750 to $1500 so as to ensure sustainability of conservation initiatives, to enhance visitors experience and to improve on the standards of living for the people that live adjacent to the national park and due to the increase of a gorilla trekking permit, Volcanoes national park is known as a luxury gorilla trekking destination.
How to book a gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda
Booking a gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda is very easy in that you can either book directly through contacting Rwanda Development Board (RDB) a government body in charge of tourism by contacting the offices through email or telephone calls, you can also book online through the Irembo Portal or you can book through a trusted tour operator like Achieve Global Safaris. Booking through a tour operator is the best option to use where you go through various steps which include
- Contacting us with the date, month and year when you want to trek the mountain gorillas
- We will check for permit availability by contacting Rwanda Development Board and if there are permits available matching with the dates provided you will be asked to make a deposit for the permit.
- When the deposit is made, you will be asked to send a scanned copy of your passport with details like date of birth, nationality, names, passport number among others which will be used to register for your permit.
- Once the money has been received we will acquire your gorilla trekking permit and send a scanned copy of the receipt as confirmation.
When to book a gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda
A gorilla trekking permit in Volcanoes national park should be booked 3 to 6 months in advance before the trekking date to avoid disappointments because the permits are competitive and usually get sold out especially during the peak season in the months of June to September and December to February
Rwanda discounted gorilla trekking permits
- 30% discount ($1050) on gorilla permits if you visit other Rwanda national parks namely Akagera national park, Nyungwe national park for 3 days and more during the low season in March to May and October to November.
- 15 % discount ($1275) for conference guests who stay pre and post MICE events to visit the mountain gorillas.
- $30,000 for a minimum of 3 visitors for 3 consecutive days (behind the scenes)
- $15,000 for private gorilla trekking of an entire group with an exclusive personalized tour guide.
Rwanda gorilla permits cancellation policy
- If you cancel a gorilla trekking permit 91 days and more to the trekking date, you will receive 75% of the refund
- If you cancel your gorilla trekking permit 46 to 90 days to the trekking date, you will receive 50% refund
- If you cancel your gorilla trekking permit below 5 to 24 days to the trekking date, you will receive 25%refund
- If you cancel your gorilla trekking permit 8 days to the trekking date, you will not be refunded.
Rwanda Development Board shall refund 50% of the gorilla trekking fee to any visitor showing signs of illness and this is confirmed by a park warden. This is applicable to visitors who have already arrived at the park because gorillas are vulnerable to human diseases hence visitors with illness are not allowed to trek the mountain gorillas.