Gorilla Trekking Safaris in Volcanoes National Park
Gorilla trekking safaris in Volcanoes national park is one of the top popular tourism products which attracts most tourists in Rwanda for a holiday. Gorilla trekking is carried out through moving in the big forest and mountainous areas looking for the unique endangered mountain gorillas. These primates are unique from other gorilla sub-species because of their endangered status. There are few remaining mountain gorillas which are like 1000 individuals in the whole world. Mountain gorilla trekking is among the top 5 wildlife experiences. This activity in Rwanda is done only in Volcanoes national park and it is one of the four national parks in the country, however, it is the common popular park not only in Rwanda but the entire world as the home of the few remaining mountain gorillas. With 30% while 20% are live in Virunga national park of DR. Congo and the rest 50% is found in Bwindi forest and Mgahinga gorilla national parks of Uganda. In all above, Volcanoes national park has over 320 individual mountain gorillas with 10 habituated gorilla families.
The vegetation cover has montane forests, grassland, bamboo forests, and swamps the landscape is covered by 5 volcanoes that are Karisimbi, Mahabura, Bisoke, Sabyinyo, and Gahinga. Apart from mountain gorillas, the park is also home to other wildlife animals such as forest elephants, duikers, bush pigs, buffaloes, hyenas, giant forest hogs, and several primates like golden monkeys, blue monkeys, and many more.
Volcanoes national park is commonly known for mountain gorilla trekking but there are also other tourist activities one can enjoy after gorilla trekking and these include; visiting the Dian Fossey tomb, golden monkey trekking, bird watching, nature walks, community culture tour, and so on. Tourists are recommended to set aside at least 3 days to enjoy both the gorilla trekking experience plus other tourist attractions in the park.
Cost of seeing gorillas in the Volcanoes national park Rwanda.
Most tourists are wondering about the price of mountain gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park, which is okay. As with any other tourism activity, this activity also has a price and this goes for 1500USD per person per trek. A gorilla permit in Volcanoes national park is purchased from Rwanda Development Board or you can get in touch with Africa Adventure Vacations. During gorilla trekking, there are also other costs to consider like meals, transfer means, accommodations, and personal expenses. There are several packages for the gorilla safari in Rwanda which best for budget tourists like a 3 days gorilla safari in Rwanda which costs 2350USD for budget accommodation per person, a 2 day for gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda costs about 2150USD per person and a 1-day gorilla safari in Rwanda costs 18000USD per person per trek.
The experience of gorilla trekking safaris in Volcanoes national park Rwanda.
After booking your accommodation with your permits and already for gorilla trekking, you will be required to be at the park headquarters at exactly 7:00 am for a briefing where you will get to known the dos and don’ts for gorilla trekking, then after your passports and gorilla permits will be verified. After that, you will be provided with a walking stick and allocated a gorilla family according to your fitness. You follow your ranger guide and start searching for mountain gorillas, this is carried out by only 8 people each day. Those with heavy luggage can hire a porter are available at the park headquarters and costs between 10-15USD. This activity is carried out through passing in the thick bushes, with the range while telling you more stories about the gorilla group, the different species of trees, wildlife animals, birds, insects, and others. Gorilla trekking safaris in Volcanoes national park takes about 1-4 hours. Gorillas live in families of about 8-30 members and are headed by a dormant silverback (male). The silverback is the one responsible to take care of and feeding his members, if they sense the presence of any intruders in their area, the silverback comes to check out. If he realizes that no danger, he leads other family members and goes about their business like you don’t exist. Guidelines to follow in the presence of mountain gorillas. Never touch a gorilla even if they come close to you, you should keep your voice low in the presence of gorillas, take photos only when you’re accepted, keep a distance of 7 meters from the gorillas, you allowed to take only 1 hour and interact with them as well as learning more about their lifestyle. After there, your guide will take you to the park headquarters and meet your drivers to take you back to the reserved lodge.
How to prepare for gorilla trekking safaris in Volcanoes national park Rwanda.
If you want to enjoy your gorilla safari when you’re tracking the gorillas, you have to be physically and mentally to complete the activity without disturbance. Another thing does not forget to bring your packed lunch and water since the activity started very early in the morning. You are also advised to wear long-sleeved shirts, trousers, hiking boots, hand gloves, hat, and raincoat and so on.
To follow the gorilla trekking rules is very important for example never use flash while photographing gorillas reason being to avoid irritating them, tourists below 15 years of age are not allowed to do gorillas trekking reason being. Young people may fail to complete the full trek since the activity is done through passing in the thick forest and mountainous area, they can also fail to follow instructions, they may want to go back when they are tired, hungry, thirsty, young people are more likely to cough and flue, yet a person with contagious diseases like cough, flu as well as covid-19 are not allowed to participate in gorilla trekking. As the gorillas have DNA that is similar to that one of a human being.
What to do after seeing Gorillas in volcanoes national park Rwanda
Volcanoes national park has a lot of tourist attractions one can combine with gorilla trekking. These activities include;
Golden monkey trekking
This is the second activity done in this park after gorilla trekking. When searching these primates, you will go through bamboo forests while observing the amazing monkeys when they play and feed. They are called golden monkeys because of their golden coats around their back and cheeks which makes them look beautiful. This activity costs 100USD per person each day, it is cheaper than gorilla trekking which costs 1500USD per person.
Mountain climbing safari
There are five volcanoes in Volcanoes national park which include mount Gahinga, mount Sabyinyo, mount Bisoke, Mount Karisimbi, and mount Muhabura. But Karisimbi and Bisoke are the best and common mountains to hike. Both offer beautiful views of the Volcanoes and Virunga ranges which go up to DR. Congo. Karisimbi is a 2-day hike and Bisoke is a 1-day hike.
Volcanoes national park hosts over 200 bird species. While on your birding safari in Volcanoes national park, you will see birds like red-faced woodland warbler, strange weaver, handsome francolin, Grauer’s rush warbler, and others.
Cultural encounters are also an amazing experience in Volcanoes national park. on your gorilla safari get some time and do a Rwanda city tour where you will get an opportunity to visit several cities with their attraction like Musanze city where the Ibyiwacu cultural village is found and participate in their daily activities such as cooking local food, banana beer making, community walks, and so on. Visiting Ibyiwacu cultural village is a wonderful experience that one cannot miss out on.
After your gorilla safari in Volcanoes national park, spare some time and visit Musanze caves. Our professional guides will take you into the caves while telling you the background of the caves and other facts about Rwanda.
Hiking Dian Fossey tomb
Hiking to the Dian Fossey tomb and understand more about Dian Fossy and the mountain gorilla. Where you will get to know the interest of Dain Fossy in the gorillas and the reason why gorillas are conserved and protected which later led to gorilla tourism. You will also get a chance to see the house where Dian Fossey was mysteriously murdered by poachers in 1985.
Activities outside the Volcanoes national park.
Take time and visit Rwanda first the beautiful city of Rwanda, Kigali is one of the fascinating attractions in the country, exploit some of the interesting top places in Rwanda that you ought not to miss during any of your safari visits in Rwanda. Listed below are the Things to do in Rwanda among others.
Explore Rwanda’s Genocide Memorial center;
The purpose why this center was built is to remember those who lost their lives in the 1994 genocide. About l million Tutsi and Hutu were murdered by the government at the time. The center was built as a reminder of the horror of the genocide and also for the younger generation where they will get to know more about what caused and how to prevent it. You will also have a chance to explore more about Rwanda.
Meet and encounter the primates of Nyungwe forest national park.
Besides gorilla trekking safaris in Volcanoes national park, Rwanda is blessed with many national parks like Nyungwe forest where one can get a great opportunity to do chimpanzee and other small primates tracking which include olive baboons, red-tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, golden monkeys, black/white colobus, Angola colobuses, and others. After gorilla trekking spare time and do Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe forest which is a wonderful experience.
Wildlife sightings in Akagera national park.
Akagera national park is among the top tourist destinations in the eastern region of Rwanda. On the border of Tanzania and Rwanda. Akagera national park is the best place for game viewing and the most spotted animals are; buffaloes, zebras, lions, elands, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, antelopes, warthogs, and others. Apart from gorilla trekking safaris in Volcanoes national park, game viewing in Akagera is also an exciting and rewarding experience since it is the only national park in the country where to see all of Africa’s big 5.
Visiting Lake Kivu.
Besides swimming at Lake Kivu, there are many interesting things to do like bird watching, you can take a canoe to visit the several islands or a boat cruise which can take you near DR. Congo where you will see local fishermen. Therefore, after gorilla trekking safaris in Volcanoes national park, gets some time and visit Lake Kivu for relaxation and a boat ride.
Where to stay at Volcanoes national park during gorilla trekking safaris.
There are many safari lodges in and outside the park which range from luxury, mid-range, and budget, where one can stay and complete his/her trip with no disturbances. These are some of the luxury safari lodges includes
Bisate safari lodge has communal dining plus six stand-alone domes which is good for luxurious tourists. It offers beautiful views of mountains Mikeno, Bisoke, and Karisimbi and it is best to access the park for gorilla trekking, bird watching, and other activities.
Gorilla’s Nest Lodge is situated in the northwest of Kigali city in Rwanda with 12 elegant and spacious guest rooms. It features a sauna, Wi-Fi internet, a luxurious infinity pool, airport transport, a restaurant, and a bar stocked with all types of drinks, free complimentary breakfast, and among others. Activities to do while staying here are gorilla trekking, mountain biking, nature walks, bird watching, and others.
Villa Gorilla is found near the park headquarters just a 2-hour drive from Kigali Airport. It is the best place for a family or group who looking for a perfect lodge. The lodge has 4 double bedrooms with a private bath and toilets. It has a restaurant and bar with all types of drinks that are ready to serve. Activities to do while staying are gorilla trekking, bird watching, golden monkey trekking, and so on.
Hotel Muhabura is a budget lodge. This is good for those who are looking for an affordable place to stay. The lodge has 30 rooms in form of single, double, and twin. The hotel offers facilities like conference facilities, sauna, and massage, camping gift shop, restaurant, bar stocked with staff that are ready to serve, garden, and others. You can participate in activities like mountain climbing, gorilla trekking, bird watching, and so on.
Kinigi guest house is the best place for budget tourists in the Kinigi district. It has 20 rooms with electricity and hot water, the rooms are also warm and comfortable. You will enjoy activities like gorilla trekking, volcano hiking, nature walks while staying at an affordable place.