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Gorilla Trekking Rwanda

29 Apr
Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Virunga

Gorilla Trekking Rwanda

A guide to gorilla trekking in Rwanda find all the updated information about Rwanda Gorilla Safaris , How to get to Volcanoes National Park , Hotels & Gorilla trekking rules, Recommended Safari companies.

How to get to volcanoes national park

Quite a number of tourists who visit Rwanda have Volcanoes national park as their number one choice safari destination because of its unique attraction with the endangered mountain Gorillas that live in its dense forests and volcanoes. The mountain gorillas at Volcanoes national park are Rwanda’s greatest tourist draw, Tourists interested in Rwanda gorilla trekking and wanting to know How to Get to Volcanoes National Park, here are different means that are often used.

Volcanoes National Park is Rwanda’s number one primate park and is home to the mountain Gorillas. Volcanoes is situated in the northern province of the country in Musanze district and Ruhengeri town the famous tourism hub here in Rwanda. Volcanoes National Park is not only famous for Mountain Gorillas but it is also home to the endemic Golden Monkey species, five of the inactive extinct volcanoes that are part of Virunga ranges, abundant bird life and some mammals as well as beautiful flora. The five inactive extinct volcanoes are Mount Bisoke, Mount Sabinyo, Mount Gahinga, Mount Karisimbi and Mount Muhabura. Rwanda is also famously known as the land of a thousand hills.

There are different ways of getting Volcanoes National Park that is by road and Air, the most popular and commonly used means of reaching Volcanoes National Park is using the road transport.

By Road

Road is the cheapest and most convenient means of getting to Volcanoes National Park, if you have arranged your gorilla safari in Volcanoes with a tour operator, you will be booked into a private car that will transfer you from Kigali to the park. The journey from Kigali to Volcanoes in Musanze is so captivating and eye catching, it passes through whirling hills and beautiful landscapes that give tourists magnificent and stunning views of the country side.

The travel time from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park is approximately 2-3 hours depending on the stopovers.  There is a possibility of using highly customized private vehicles of different categories including extended 4*4-wheel safari vehicles, Jeeps, Land cruisers and Rav 4 vehicles and saloon vehicles.

Also, by road, you can choose to use the public bus services as another way on how to get to Volcanoes National Park. Rwanda is one of the African countries that has clean and well-maintained roads with a great public transport system, there are daily bus/ coaster services that move from Kigali to Musanze at different time intervals, you can easily find these buses from Nyabugogo bus station. Some visitors usually opt for car hire that can be provided by tour operators or any car hire service providers. Some safari companies provide services for self-drive car hire or car hire with a professional driver/safari guide.

By Air

Helicopter flights to Volcanoes National Park

The quickest way on how to get to Volcanoes National Park from Kigali is by using air, there are scheduled helicopter flights from Kigali international airport to Volcanoes in Musanze, these helicopter flights to Musanze Airstrip are daily and they are operated by the Akagera Aviation. The flight only takes 30 minutes but it gives tourists the most unique and scenic transfer experience.

The cost of a gorilla permit

In case you intend to do gorilla trekking in Rwanda’s volcanoes national park, you will need to acquire a gorilla permit. A gorilla permit is a document that grants you access to the gorillas and a gorilla permit costs $1500. Tourists who are African residents are eligible to a discount on the gorilla permit. They will therefore pay $500 instead of the original $1500 for a single gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda. However, to qualify for the above-mentioned discount, you need to present evidence that you are indeed an African resident.

Booking a gorilla permit

Booking gorilla permits starts the organization process of the memorable and incredible gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda. The permit is the password you need to get guided access to the gorillas in their natural habitat. Besides the passport, a gorilla permit it is a vital travel document for the gorilla safari.

The logistical process of booking the permit can be daunting for many travelers because it involves back-and-forth communication and wire exchange of money.

Gorilla trekking permits, mountain hiking, golden monkey permits, chimpanzee permits are issued by the Rwanda Development Board. Permits for gorilla trekking. The tour companies and even hotels can help you book the permits.

To get a gorilla trekking permit, we highly recommend that you seek help from a registered tour Operator to ease the process for you. Tour operators usually charge a fee of $25-60 per-permit.

Best time to trek gorillas- Volcanoes National Park

It is important to note that Mountain gorillas can be tracked throughout the year because their movements are not affected by changing seasons. The exquisite time to track gorillas is in the dry season where the vegetation is not thick and the ground isn’t very slippery. Getting this time right is not easy because global warming has affected weather patterns a lot in Africa making very hard to predict the beginning and end of the wet and dry seasons. At the end of the day, the final decision of when to visit the gorillas remains with the traveler.

Rwanda has two dry and wet seasons because she is lies along the equator zone. The dry season falls in the months between December to February and again between June to September. Gorilla trekking during the dry season is more advantageous and the best time to take clear photos of the country side since there is always little or no obstructions like mist or overgrown vegetation.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Virunga

The dry season also has its disadvantages. It is generally more expensive to travel around this period. Gorilla permits and accommodation availability are hard to find and booking last minute gorilla tours is not easy. The dry season is not the best time to visit for those hoping for an easier trek or being assigned a nearby gorilla group. If you are targeting a particular gorilla group, we recommend that you book your trip months in advance, otherwise you will find out that those gorilla families were already allocated to other travelers.

The months of March to April and October to November are considered wet seasons and also referred to as low seasons. The forests can get very muddy and tracking mountain gorillas becomes more challenging. We cannot rule out mud even during the dry season because mountain gorillas live in rain forests and the rains can occur at any time of the year. It is important to note that the rains in Rwanda do not go on throughout the day like it is in Europe or North America. It rains for between one to two hours before the sun appears again thus enabling the activity to go on regardless of whether it is raining or not.

What is the chance of seeing mountain gorillas?

Your chance of having a glimpse of the mountain gorillas is 98% because the trekking exercise has been perfected over time to ensure that everyone who pays for the gorilla trekking activity sees the gorillas.

Golden Monkey

Every morning, trekkers wake up and move beforehand to establish where these gorillas slept the previous year. As the clients are briefed on gorilla trekking rules and regulations at the trailhead, the advance team communicates with your ranger guide about the current position of the primates and how to reach them.

So, following the trekker’s advice, you will start from the trailhead and your ranger guide will guide you to where the gorillas would have spent the previous night and then follow their path to where they will be.

However, sometimes situations might dictate, and you are unable to view them. It could be that maybe the family is frightened or inflamed after a late-night attack from another gorilla family, most likely an unhabituated silverback. That could make the gorilla too perturbed to entertain visitors.

In other situations, the gorillas may move a long distance far away from the trailhead or hide from trackers for the reasons best known to them. Such cases may not favour gorilla trekking for that day.

In respect to all that, RDB has set terms and conditions to reschedule or refund your gorilla permit if you don’t see the mountain gorillas. Have a word with any of your consultants before booking the permit to take you through the terms and conditions to help you avoid disappointments on your dream trip.

Recommended tour operators in Rwanda

Are you looking for Tour operators in Rwanda? Are you wondering how you can discover a good and trustworthy tour operator to help arrange your Rwanda Safari? Well, we will be sharing a list of some trustworthy tour Agencies to take into consideration. Before sharing the list of tour operators, it is important to note that the dominant tourist activities  in Rwanda are gorilla trekking at volcanoes, chimpanzee tracking at Nyungwe forest, golden monkey trekking at Volcanoes, hiking Mount Sabinyo, visiting Lake Kivu, visiting one of the genocide memorial sites, visiting the Ibwiwachu cultural village, exploring the Musanze caves, visiting the Dian Fossey tomb, natures walks and canopy walks in Nyungwe National Park. Rwanda is also excellent for standard game drives and boat rides along lake Ihema in Akagera national park.

Gorilla trekking permits, mountain hiking, golden monkey permits, chimpanzee permits are issued by the Rwanda Development Board. Permits for gorilla trekking. The tour companies and even hotels can help you book the permits.

Here is a list of some of the Tour companies in Rwanda: Check on the List of Rwanda Safari operators



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