Planning a team-building safari to trek gorillas in Rwanda
Planning a team-building safari to trek gorillas in Rwanda. Are you planning a team-building Safari and looking for the best destination for gorilla tracking? Rwanda is known as one of Africa’s best safari destinations as it is home to the endangered mountain gorillas. Also referred to as the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda is blessed with some of the most beautiful Safari destinations in the world. Gorilla tracking in Rwanda is carried out in the north-western part of the country in Volcanoes National Park, which is located at the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the only other two countries where gorilla trekking is carried out.
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Volcanoes National Park has over 400 endangered mountain gorillas with about 15 habituated gorilla families that are open for trekking in the country. Gorilla trekking, sometimes also referred to as gorilla tracking, involves walking through the dense forests of Volcanoes National Park in search of the gorillas, and once you have made contact, each group gets to spend an hour with the gorillas.
Gorilla tracking starts early in the morning with a briefing from the guides about what to expect during the gorilla trek, the rules and guidelines, and gorilla families are assigned immediately after the briefing. All those who feel sick before the trek are advised to opt-out, and the trek starts immediately. It can take an hour to 6 hours to locate the gorillas, depending on the family you have been assigned, and after finding the families, each group has an hour with the species.
Team building is all about the welfare of the employees, and the best way to enjoy the team building Safari is by visiting Rwanda to enjoy the different safari destinations in the country, where you get to participate in various activities in Volcanoes National Park. Besides tracking the gorillas, other activities are carried out in volcanoes, including trips to the villages where you get to learn more about the culture of the indigenous people around the park. You get to enjoy a cycling Safari using the routes that were set up for cycling in volcanoes, participate in the Kwita Izina ceremony, and participate in the golden monkey trek.
All about gorilla trekking in Rwanda
Mountain gorillas are an endangered species that can be trekked in three countries: Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They were a high spot for poachers, which almost led to their extinction until Dian Fossey started researching the gorillas and their protection. As you plan a team-building gorilla trek safari, there are a few things that you need to know, and these are what to pack, the gorilla permit which gives you access to the primates, the cost of the gorilla safari, and the rules and regulations about gorilla trekking. Once you know these, you will be ready for your team-building safari trek with the gorillas in Rwanda.
What to bring for the team-building gorilla safari
You need to be sure of what you are bringing or packing for your Safari if you plan to enjoy your gorilla safari in Rwanda. Below are some things you can get we consider essential for your gorilla trek.
- Clothes: the right set of clothes for your trek is extremely important because you must be dressed appropriately when traveling to a jungle and unknown destination. Lightweight trousers (not jeans) and long-sleeved shirts are appropriate. The extra material on the clothes keeps you warm and protects your skin from bug bites and scratches during the trek. Clothes brought on a gorilla safari should at least be neutral colors since bright colors attract a lot of attention, but not positively.
- Thick long socks keep you warm, and trousers are tucked into the stockings during the trek to prevent insects from crawling up your skin.
- Strong hike boots, ankle length in nature and waterproof, are recommended for a gorilla trek.
- Gaiters are necessary during both the dry and wet seasons to protect you from dust, insects, mud, and water. Get adjustable gaiters.
- A refillable water bottle of at least 1 liter or more and some snacks to munch during the trek.
- Gadgets are a must, and the recommended ones to bring for your Safari include a camera and all its necessary equipment and binoculars. Ensure you have enough storage memory not to run out while still taking photos.
Gorilla trekking guidelines in Rwanda
- All trekkers need to keep 7 meters from the gorillas once they make contact. The distance keeps tourists from getting close to the gorillas, touching them, and spreading diseases.
- Tourists are grouped into a maximum of 8 people, and these are to trek a gorilla family. The numbers are limited to protect the gorillas.
- Tourists who are sick or fell sick on the day’s trek should volunteer not to go on with the trek to protect the gorillas. Mountain gorillas are highly prone to diseases; once they fall sick, it can be detrimental to the entire family.
- You must take all the rubbish to keep the park clean and the gorillas safe.
- All trek groups get to spend an hour with the gorillas once they locate the gorillas. The one hour was set not to disrupt the behavior patterns, and in case they start acting agitated, the one hour would be cut short.
- Smoking, eating, and drinking are prohibited with the gorillas and can only be done when you are at least 300 meters away. The guides also can decide when it is safe to rest and eat.
- Rwanda’s minimum trekking age is 15 years. This was set because children are more challenging to control and might break the different trekking rules.
- Dig a hole of about 30 cm when you feel like using the toilet, and cover it afterward.
- You will be taking photos of the gorillas, but note that flash photography with the gorillas has been prohibited.
The gorilla permit in Rwanda
A gorilla permit is a document printed and issued by the Rwanda Development Board and given to each tourist who intends to trek the gorillas. Getting a permit is the only way you will be able to gain access to the gorillas. Gorilla permits are always in high demand and must be booked early enough to ensure you get your desired dates.
The gorilla permits in Rwanda cost $1500 per person, valid until after the one hour with the gorillas. It can be bought directly from the Rwanda Development Board, or a tour operator, and the same process for purchasing is followed. After contacting the tour operator, you will be asked for the dates you prefer to trek with your group and your passport details to check and confirm whether the dates are available. After confirmation, you will be contacted via email with confirmation, and after that, you will be requested to make payments so that the booking is made.
Payments are made using the company’s bank details, and when confirmation of payment is made, the permits are booked and purchased, and the evidence is sent to your email. No purchases will be made if you do not pay the full amount for the permit.
Rwanda offers discounts to tourists of 10% who book to tour Akagera National Park and Nyungwe Forest National Park, and this is done to improve the country’s tourism sector. Tourists visiting the country before and after a conference also get a discount if the gorilla trek permits are bought in bulk.
One frequently asked question about gorilla permits is when the right time to purchase the permit is. The answer is that permits can be bought six months before the trek date to plan your team-building Safari to Rwanda for gorilla trekking properly.
The cost of the gorilla trek safari
Several factors determine and affect the cost of a gorilla trekking safari. The different factors that affect the cost of the Safari include:
- The time of travel.
- The size of the traveling group.
- The number of days spent on the gorilla trek safari.
- The gorilla permit.
Accommodation in and around Volcanoes National Park comes in three categories: luxury, mid-range, and budget facilities. Your choice will determine the cost of the Safari. If you are traveling on a budget, you can book the budget or mid-range, and if you are looking to go all out without any expenses, there are many luxury accommodation facilities to choose from.
Traveling for a gorilla safari in large groups is less costly than traveling solo or in smaller groups. Costs of the different expenses during the trek are shared when you travel in larger groups, making the cost of the trek less, which is different when traveling in smaller groups or alone.
The number of days spent on a gorilla safari also affects the cost of the gorilla trek safari. The recommended days for a gorilla trek safari is three, but you can still go for more days, although you should note that the more days you spend on your Safari, the more money you are going to spend, and the fewer days spent, the lower the cost of the Safari.
Season of travel also affects the cost of the Safari. Two seasons of gorilla trekking are the dry, also known as the peak season, and the wet/ low season. The peak/dry season (June to September and December to January) is the best time for trekking. Still, the most expensive time to travel due to service providers hiking costs because of the many tourists visiting during this period, and the rainy season (October to November and March to May) is the best time for tourists traveling on a budget.
Other activities you can carry out during team building Safari in Rwanda
Several activities are carried out in Rwanda besides gorilla tracking and in the different Safari destinations, including the following.
Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe Forest National Park: Nyungwe National Park is located at the border of Rwanda with the Democratic Republic of Congo and is the best destination for chimpanzee trekking with over 13 different permit species, including baboons, vervet monkeys, gray-cheeked Mangabeys, black and white Colobus monkeys and red-tailed monkeys among others. Other activities that are carried out in Nyungwe include chimpanzee habituation, primate tracking, bird watching, and canopy walking.
Wildlife viewing in Akagera: Tourists can also visit Akagera National Park for game drives. Akagera National Park is the only Savannah Park in Rwanda and is home to the Big Five and other wildlife species, including Bush bucks, hippos, zebras, Impalas, crocodiles, and Oribis, among others. You can also enjoy a boat ride along the Akagera River and bird watching, among other things.
Where to stay during a gorilla team-building trip to Rwanda.
Volcanoes National Park has budget, mid-range, and luxury accommodation options from which you can choose, and the prices range from 100 US dollars to over 1,000 per person per night.
Some of the Safari accommodations that you can choose from include Five Volcanoes Hotel, Davinci Lodge, Hotel Muhabura, Bisate Lodge, Virunga Volcano Lodge, Faraji Hotel, Sabinyo Silverback Lodge, La Palm Hotel, Kinigi Hotel, and Mountain View Mountain Gorilla View Hotel among others.
When to go for a team-building gorilla trek safari in Rwanda
The best time for a team-building gorilla trek safari in Rwanda is during the drier months of June to September and December to February. Gorillas can easily be spotted during this period. The trek routes are easy to use compared to the rainy/wet season experienced in March to May and October to November, where the routes are muddy, and sometimes, the rain hinders the trekking process.
Contact our team to plan your team-building safari today.