Facts About Gorilla Trekking In Volcanoes National Park
Gorilla trekking in the volcanoes is the top activity in this park and Rwanda safaris. Volcanoes National Park lies in the northwestern part of Rwanda, neighboring Mgahinga National Park in Uganda and Virunga National Park in D.R.Congo.
Currently, Volcanoes National Park has 12 gorilla families fully habituated and open to the public to book, which is 96 Rwanda gorilla permits per day. Some of the Rwanda gorilla families that are fully habituated include Umubano Family, Susa Family, Agashya Family, Amahoro Family, Muhoza Family, and others.
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At times, the gorilla families in Rwanda spend part of their day on the slopes of five distinctive volcanoes: Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Muhabura, Mountain Sabyinyo, Mountain Bisoke, and Mountain Karisimbi. This is why you need to have some fitness level during the gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda because you need to know where the mountain gorillas may be feeding or lounging. Rwanda gorilla trekking is done in a steeper area compared to her counterparts Uganda and D.R.Congo.
To do gorilla trekking in Rwanda, you must book a gorilla permit from the Rwanda Development Board.
What Is A Gorilla Permit?
The gorilla permit is a ticket that permits you entry into the forest to search for a fully habituated mountain gorilla family and spend only one hour with them.
How Much Is Gorilla Permit For Volcanoes National Park?
The gorilla permit for Volcanoes National Park is $1500 per person per trek. You need to book your gorilla permit in advance, as they get sold out fast, especially those for the peak season, normally June, July, August, September, December, and January.
A first come, first served basis is used when acquiring the Rwanda gorilla permits because of the high demand for the limited number opened for public daily booking. A maximum 8 gorilla permits are allowed to be sold per day for every gorilla family.
What Is Included in The Cost of Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Permit?
The Rwanda gorilla permit includes security during gorilla trekking, park ranger fees for the gorilla trekking day, gorilla conservation support, local community support, a certificate after gorilla trekking, and one hour of mountain gorilla viewing.
What Is Excluded From The Cost Of Gorilla Trekking Permit For Volcanoes National Park?
Tips, transport to Volcanoes National Park, drinks, packed lunch, and any other items of personal nature.
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we assist you in booking your accommodation, transport, and any other safari amenities desired during gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.
We have been in operation for over 1o year and have accumulated expertise that we use to select some of the best facilities that fit your budget during gorilla trekking in Rwanda. We understand that comfort is one of the memorable experiences tourists wish to have during a holiday.
Is The Cost Of A Gorilla Permit For Volcanoes National Park Worth?
The cost of a gorilla permit for Volcanoes National Park is $1500 per person per trek and may seem hefty, but it is worth this once-in-a-lifetime encounter with the mountain gorillas. In Rwanda, the plight of the mountain gorillas was forwarded to the world scene by primatologist Dian Fossey.
In order to keep conserving these only leftover mountain gorillas, some funds are necessary. Some of these funds are accumulated through the sale of the gorilla permits. Whenever you purchase a gorilla permit, you support the local community, too, where part of the annual profit is given to the local community to support their projects.
Can I reschedule the gorilla trekking date in Rwanda?
Rwanda Development Board allows rescheduling the date for gorilla trekking. However, it would be best if you wrote to them first.
You need to state why you would like to push your gorilla trekking date into the future and attach evidence, if any, to support your request.
When accepted, your gorilla permit is rescheduled to a date of your choice based on the prevailing availability status,
Rwanda development board charges for gorilla permit reschedule.
Your gorilla permit must be topped up before you reschedule for those who purchase the gorilla trekking permit in installment.
Can I Purchase Gorilla Permits for Volcanoes National Park in Instalment?
Fully payment for your gorilla trekking permit is the most reliable option; however, installment purchase is accepted.
You can pay for your gorilla permit in portions of 30% and 70% respectively. This only applies when you purchase your gorilla permit 90 days before the trekking date and top-up before 90 days of the trekking date.
Failure to comply with the installment gorilla permit purchase policy may lead to a penalty.
What time does Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park start?
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park starts early with a briefing at the ORTPN. You may start at about 0700 hours. You must have your gorilla trekking gear and hire a porter if you need one.
Every person must attend the briefing, and missing may lead to your disqualification from gorilla trekking even if you have a gorilla permit.
During the briefing before gorilla trekking, you listed the rules and regulations of gorilla trekking, like no feeding the mountain gorillas, provoking the mountain gorillas, keeping a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas when you locate them, and others.
How Long Is Gorilla Trekking In Volcanoes National Park
The time of locating the mountain gorilla in Volcanoes National Park is still being determined. The mountain gorillas are free primates that wander the forest without stopping them.
Sometimes, the mountain gorillas have family feuds, and the losers go into hiding or split so locating them gets challenging.
When the mountain gorillas lose a family member, they may go into hiding to mourn their loss. It would be best if you had some patience in order to get where the mountain gorillas may be staged.
During the severe rainy season, the mountain gorillas may keep on the slopes, so you must sometimes hike the slippery and soggy surface to get to the mountain gorillas.
You may need more time to locate the mountain gorillas when allocated to do gorilla trekking with a slow group. The ranger guide follows the pace of the slowest trekker so that nobody is forgotten in the wilderness.
How Difficult Is Gorilla Trekking In Volcanoes National Park?
The topography of Volcanoes National Park is generally steep, with deep valleys and draping creepers. Five volcanic mountains make the backdrop of Volcanoes National Park.
You must have packed the right gorilla trekking gear like safari boots, long-sleeved shirts and trousers, insect repellants, and others for extra comfort. The trails in Volcanoes National Park are usually wet due to regular rains that fall without warning, yet less sunlight penetrates through the dense canopy, so you need to wear the right gorilla trekking gear.
How Secure Is Volcanoes National Park?
Volcanoes National Park is safe as trained ranger guides take you through all the rules you are to follow while in the forest.
Rwanda security agencies are present to keep law and order around this forest national park, so no need to worry.
You must pay attention to personal security by only entering the forest with an escorting ranger guide. There are other forest dwellers, like forest elephants, that may be harmful to you because they are not habituated to human presence.
Provoking or mimicking the mountain gorillas is forbidden as you may cause them to hoot or thump their chests, ending in a forest stampede.
How Far Is Volcanoes National Park From Kigali Airport
The drive from Kigali Airport to Volcanoes National Park is about 3 hours. This is a scenic drive as you bypass winding roads that curve the bottom of several highlands that form the land of a thousand hills.
You can charter from Kigali Airport to Volcanoes National Park in about 45 minutes.
What Are The Dos And Don’t Of Gorilla Trekking In Volcanoes National Park
- Do not spit on vegetation or ground while in the park. You may pass an infection to the highly susceptible mountain gorillas to human infection like flu, covid-19. Cough and others
- If you catch an infection like diarrhea, volunteer to stay behind as you may pass these germs to the mountain gorillas.
- When you wish to take a long call, ask the ranger guide to dig a hole at least 30 centimeters deep and cover it well beyond recognition.
- Never surround the mountain gorillas, but remain in a tight group so you do not look suspicious or make them feel you are about to ambush them.
- When taking photos, do it with no flash as new occurrences may cause the mountain gorillas to feel attacked.
- Suppose you want to smoke or eat at least 200 meters from the mountain gorillas. This is to reduce the chances of them grabbing it from you, yet they are wild animals that must look for their food.
- Dumping garbage or rubbish in the forest is forbidden because you alter the nature of the forest where mountain gorillas live.
- If you wish to sneeze or cough, avoid the mountain gorillas. This reduces the chances of passing an infection to the mountain gorillas.
- When in front of the mountain gorillas, keep a distance of about 8 meters from them. This is to prevent chances of spreading infections to the sensitive mountain gorillas.
- Keep a clean mask on when you locate the mountain gorillas as a measure adopted after the COVID-19 pandemic. Mountain gorillas have about 96% human DNA, so they are highly susceptible to the coronavirus.
- Only persons aged 15 can do gorilla trekking because you are still determining when to locate the mountain gorillas.
What Else To Do In Volcanoes National Park Other Than Gorilla Trekking
Golden Monkeys Trekking In Volcanoes National Park
The golden monkeys co-exist with mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. This is another endangered monkey species, with about 2,000 to 4,000 believed to be living in the world.
You must obtain a Golden Monkeys trekking permit from the Rwanda Development Board. The golden monkeys are charming and barely golden brown hairs at the lower bottom. They live in communities under the leadership of an alpha male. Each day, they break into troops for better feeding.
Golden monkey trekking permits for Rwanda are currently $90 per person per trek at the Rwanda Development Board.
Hike To Dian Fossey Grave In Volcanoes National Park
You can contribute to the work of the Dian Fossey Foundation by taking a hike to where Dian Fossey’s remains were laid after she was gruesomely murdered. She was an American primatologist who dedicated her life to the survival of the mountain gorillas from 1967 till 1985. It’s her selfless work that current information about mountain gorillas exists.
After she and her team carried out a census, the population of the mountain gorillas by the 1980s was about 250 mountain gorillas. The gentle giant’s plight was deemed highly endangered then. Gorilla trekking was one of the solutions to reduce the animosity between mountain gorillas and humans.
You walk in her last steps as a mountain gorilla hero during the hike to Dian Fossey’s grave.
Birding in Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park hosts over 200 bird species, including Albertine endemics. You need to organize your Rwanda birding safari in advance or take advantage of the walk to locate the mountain gorillas. Having a professional and experienced ornithologist is an added advantage.
During a birding adventure in the Volcanoes National Park, you may have a chance to spot birds like the white-tailed blue flycatcher, montane collared sunbird, Kivu ground thrush, Duskey’s turtle dove, Rwenzori turaco, and others.
Mountaineering in Volcanoes National Park
The topography of Volcanoes National Park is composed of highlands like Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Sabyinyo, Mountain Karisimbi, Mountain Bisoke, and Mountain Muhavura.
You can test your fitness with a day’s hike to either of these mountains. You must have an escorting ranger guide to take you up these beautiful mountains.
Contact us for more information about gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park.