Minimum days for a Rwanda gorilla tour (one day)
It is possible to do a one-day gorilla tour to see these great primates in Volcanoes National Park. Rwanda is the only gorilla safari destination amongst the three mountain gorilla destinations with a possibility of a one-day gorilla trekking adventure. Volcanoes National Park is the only home to Rwanda mountain gorillas but to be allowed to participate in gorilla trekking, you must have a gorilla permit. The Rwanda Developments Board is the selling and regulating body for all Rwanda gorilla permits.
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To do a one day gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda, you must possess a pre-purchased gorilla permit. On a normal Rwanda safari, the 3-day Rwanda gorilla trekking experience is more relaxing, but this time is quite a rash program.
The possibility of one day gorilla trekking in Rwanda can be possible if you are already in Rwanda or disembark from an early morning flight, and drive in the dark to ORTPN to get there in time for briefing. The drive time from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park is about 3 hours.
One day Rwanda Gorilla Trekking safari Itinerary
From Kigali, drive to Musaze, then Kinigi, where to find Volcanoes National Park. Along the way, drive through winding roads and enjoy the lush green cover on the escarpments. You must arrive at the briefing point, which is the ORTPN, before 0800 hours as this is the usual starting time of gorilla trekking in Rwanda.
Do gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park as long as you possess the gorilla permit? Drive back to Kigali after the gorilla safari.
With the possibility of one-day gorilla trekking in Rwanda, this can be one of the activities you can do in case Rwanda is your stopover point before proceeding to your final destination.
Pack your gorilla trekking gear in the backpack so as not to forget any and turn into an inconvenience while with others. Check our list of gorilla trekking gear you need to pack
You must have a gorilla permit before heading to do the gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda for one day.
In case you have a departure flight from Kigali International Airport, you need to book late-night flights and a day room to freshen up after the gorilla trek. This is to avoid panicking as you try to catch up with check-in time after the gorilla trek.
Since this is a crash program gorilla safari in Rwanda, you must note that the time of returning from the gorilla trek is hard to determine as this depends on factors prevailing in the wilderness.
How To Plan One day Gorilla trekking Safari In Rwanda?
Book the Rwanda gorilla permit
Since this is a one day gorilla safari to Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, you must purchase the gorilla permit in advance. This is to avoid inconveniences at the briefing point, so you must be sure of the gorilla permit. To book the Rwanda gorilla permit, have a date when you hope to do this adventure and the number of permits.
Check for gorilla permit availability from Rwanda Development Board. At Encounter Africa Safaris, we can assist lift off your shoulder the burden of having to make calls to seek gorilla permit availability. We are an accredited company with access to the gorilla permit status list of Rwanda Development Board
Note that gorilla permit demand is high in the peak season: June, July, August, September, December and January. It may be challenging to find the gorilla permits at the last minute during this season.
How much is Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Permit?
The cost of a Rwanda gorilla trekking permit is currently $1500 for foreign nonresidents, $500 for foreign residents and $300 for East Africans. The cost of a Rwanda gorilla permit covers ranger guide fees, park entrance fees, security, mountain gorilla conservation, local community support, a certificate, and one hour with the mountain gorillas.
The cost of Rwanda gorilla permits excludes porter hire, tips, transport, and any other personal expenditures.
Reserve transport to Volcanoes National Park
From Kigali, you need a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle to Volcanoes National Park. From Kigali, the drive to Volcanoes National Park is about 3 hours through winding roads and lush green vegetation.
Having a professional and experienced driver guide gives you an upper hand in getting to the ranger station in time. In case you miss the briefing, you may be disqualified from the gorilla trek.
Charter flights are available at Kigali International Airport to Volcanoes National park.
Select additional Rwanda safari activities to combine with gorilla trekking.
After the one-day gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda and you have some extra time, you can do other Rwanda safari activities like game drives in Akagera National Park, boat trips on Lake Ihema, chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe National Park, visit Rwanda genocide memorials and others.
How Long Is Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park?
From the start of the gorilla trekking safari, the time of finding mountain gorillas varies with factors prevailing in the forest. Some tourists have located the mountain gorillas in two hours while others have taken more time.
Finding the mountain gorillas depends on factors like the location of the feeding spots of these primates, the death of a gorilla family member, weather conditions prevailing in the wilderness, the pace of fellow tourists, and others.
Upon finding the mountain gorillas, one hour is allowed with them for conservation reasons. Mountain gorillas are generally vegetarian whose life depends on foliage which they need to take them throughout the day and night. Mountain gorillas need to consume enough foliage that support their bulky bodies throughout the day and night. They need to also carry on with their day to day activities like grooming the infants, procreation, lounging, and much more.
When is the best time to do gorilla trekking in Rwanda?
Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris are open all year; however, the dry season ( June to September, December to January ) is most preferred. The mountain gorillas are more active plus other forest inhabitants like birds, and butterflies to mention but a few.
The trails in the forest are drier although Volcanoes forest is known for receiving untimely rains. There is more sunray penetration to the ground during the dry season which leaves the way drier.
Note that demand for gorilla permits for this season is high, so when planning to do the one-day gorilla safari in Rwanda, ensure you confirm your permit.
Low-season gorilla trekking permits may be available even at the last moment but are not a guarantee all the time. The low season is normally the wet season in Rwanda which is March, April, May, and November. Sometimes, the Rwanda Development Board offers discounted gorilla trekking permits that are $1050 per person as long as you book at least two nights in another Rwanda National Parka, such as Akagera National Park or Nyungwe National Park.
Is the Cost of Rwanda Gorilla permit worth the money?
For sure, the cost of a Rwanda gorilla trekking permit is worth the money as you get a chance to be just about 8 meters from the only leftover mountain gorillas in the world. In films and animations, the mountain gorillas are portrayed as very aggressive creatures but you get firsthand information directly from the natural forest where they live.
When you purchase the gorilla permit, you support the conservation of these few leftover mountain gorillas. The recent census shows that about 1000 mountain gorillas are living in the world from the 300 mountain gorillas that lived in the 1980s. All this achievement is awed to dedication from the conservation groups within and outside Rwanda. When you purchase the gorilla permits, you support their work.
A portion of the money collected from purchasing the gorilla permits is annually given back to the local community in compensation of what is destroyed when mountain gorillas stray. There is a need to carry out community sensitization on why mountain gorillas need to be reserved, plus their habitats.
Which is the easiest Rwanda Gorilla family To Trek?
At the moment, Rwanda has 15 gorilla trekking families but it is hard to determine the easiest to trek. Some of the Rwanda gorilla families include Amahoro, Sabyinyo, Susa, Agashya, Muhoza, Hirwa, Umubano, and others. The movement of the mountain gorillas is not restricted so they are free to walk in the forest. The gorilla family that was closer to the starting point the day before may be the furthest in the next day.
Tourists are requested to bare some level of fitness as the nature of the terrain where the mountain gorillas live in Rwanda is steeper. This is because of the effects of volcanic action that lead to the formation of five volcanoes that compose Volcanoes National Park that is Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Muhabura, Mountain Sabyinyo, Mountain Bisoke, and Mountain Karisimbi.
Carry some energy bites to keep munching on and help you carry on.
Do I Need to Hire a porter for Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda?
Yes, you need a porter to help you carry your gorilla trekking gear, which may slow you down during the search. The mountain gorillas sometimes live on the slopes of ridges and plateaus draped by thick vegetation which may be challenging to walk through because of it is tangled and thick.
When the porters carry your belongings in the wilderness, you can capture great moments in the forest with nothing distracting you. By hiring the porter, it is one of the direct ways to give back to the local community. They use these funds to run their day-to-day activities like medical care, home support, school dues, and much more.
How safe is gorilla trekking in Rwanda?
Gorilla trekking is safe in Rwanda even though its done in the pristine Volcanoes forest. Before opening each of the gorilla families to the public, its first habituated for an unknown time until proven ready. The mountain gorillas may not be aggressive but they still possess wild traits. In nature, the mountain gorillas are calm and, when agitated, can easily run into hiding.
It is not all the time that when mountain gorillas charge its against humans. You need to wait for the ranger guides to establish the root cause of the matter. No need to run or shout when you notice something odd about the mountain gorilla’s behavior because you may escalate the situation.
Each day, the gorilla trekking group is escorted by at least two ranger guides, one holding a machete while another carries a rifle to use where necessary. The rangers are in constant communication with security on the ground in case backup is needed.
Before tourists enter Volcanoes National Park to start searching for the mountain gorilla, they must undergo a briefing to take them through the guidelines of the gorilla safari. When you uphold the gorilla trekking rules, you are able to complete the entire trek without angering the forest dwellers.
Each day a team of ranger guides wakes ups earlier to patrol the forest and establish the conditions in the forest, where the mountain gorillas might have nested, possible day hangout spot and others. The ranger guides leading tourists use these clues to locate the mountain gorillas.
Tourists are requested to mind personal safety by not walking in the forest without an escorting ranger guide. When with the mountain gorillas, do not stare into their shy eyes. Do not touch the mountain gorillas, but let them pass you quietly.
What is the Age Limit For Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda?
15 years and over is the age limit for gorilla trekking in Rwanda. This is because the nature of the topography where the mountain gorillas live is rugged, with highlands where these primates spend their day. Children below 15 years may not be in a position to hike.
At a glance, mountain gorillas look intimidating because of their dark-furred bodies, deep brown sunken eyes, and knuckle locomotion style, which may scare children below this age.
Some level of patience is required during gorilla trekking as the time of finding the mountain gorillas is quite hard to determine and abide by for children below 15 years.
Children below 15 years may not be fit enough to hike the steep slopes.
Contact us for more information and our team will be ready to attendto you.