Rwanda Gorilla Trekking and safari holidays from the United Kingdom
Are you planning for Rwanda gorilla trekking and safari holidays from the United Kingdom for the first time? Are you interested in seeing the gorillas in Rwanda and also going on safari to other parks such as Akagera and Nyungwe Forest National Park? You have got a lot to look forward to visiting Rwanda from the United Kingdom. Rwanda is a perfect Africa safari destination for your family vacation, honeymoon, wedding anniversary, and get away from the United Kingdom. You can do both gorilla trek and safari to Volcanoes National Park and Akagera National Park, respectively. In this write-up, we provide some essential guidelines to assist you in planning a Rwanda gorilla trekking and safari holidays from the United Kingdom.
Rwanda gorilla trekking from the United Kingdom
Volcanoes National Park Rwanda is famous for gorilla trekking and it is among the most popular destinations in Africa and Rwanda. The park is located in western Rwanda and part of the Virunga volcanoes which are shared between Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo. The Virunga Mountains include Mountain Bisoke, Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Muhavura, Mountain Sabinyo and Mountain Karisimbi. This park is an evergreen bamboo forest with grassland areas, swamps, and heath in other areas. Volcanoes National Park is also known as Parc Des Vulcan’s in French and Pariki Yigihugu yibirungu in Kinyarwanda (Local language). It is a habitat for the endangered primates that include the Mountain Gorillas and Golden Monkeys, there are also many species of birds, Monkeys, trees, forest hogs, bushbucks among others in the forest.
The mountain gorillas are the prime attraction in volcanoes national park with gorilla trekking happening throughout the year. Gorilla trekking is an activity that involves visiting the habituated endangered mountain gorillas in their natural environment, as you view the way they feed, move, rest, and live in harmony. The chances of seeing the mountain gorillas are 99% as you are guided by trackers, guides and park rangers. The trek starts every day at 8:00 am with a briefing on guidelines to follow while on the trek, even though the gorillas have 99% DNA as the humans, they still remain wild and you are advised to follow the dos and don’ts from the guides during the Briefing and on a trek. The gorilla trek can take 30 minutes to more hours depending on the movement and location of the gorillas in the forest. Booking a gorilla trek to volcanoes National Park in Rwanda from the United Kingdom is a lifetime experience to complete your bucket list. Contact us to book your gorilla safari.
How many Rwanda Gorilla permits are available each day for gorilla trekking?
The gorilla permits are very essential for a successful gorilla trek in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. There are 80 gorilla permits available every day to allow you to see the gorillas, encounter Africa safaris will help you in the process of booking and securing the permits. Once you contact us about your planned trek and desired dates, we shall check the availability of permits with the Rwanda Development board online and if permits are available, we shall send you an invoice to make payment for the permits as they are top priority and if they are not available, you will choose other dates that have availability of permits. Once we receive payment, we shall book and secure your permits and send you a copy of the receipt with booking ID to confirm your trek. Rwanda Gorilla permits are one of the 10 things to consider when booking the Rwanda gorilla trek.
What is the cost of the Rwanda gorilla permits for a gorilla trek safari from the UK?
The Rwanda gorilla permit costs USD1500 per person for all Nationals to trek the gorillas. There is also a special discount for one visiting all the national parks in the months of May to November, visiting Nyungwe National Park and Volcanoes National park earns YOU 30% discount on the gorilla permit which is USD1050 per person and USD1250 per person for Delegates in the country. The Rwanda gorilla permit is paid for to the Rwanda development board and we shall send you copies of the permits. There is also another offer of USD5000 per person to have three consecutive days’ treks of gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park. Gorilla permits can easily be purchased through travel agents. Contact us as Encounter Africa safaris by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get your permit in the shortest time possible.
How many gorilla families are in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
There are ten gorilla families in volcanoes national park, which are habituated for gorilla tourism and research, whereas others are not habituated. Each gorilla group is given a name depending on different circumstances and is led by a silverback. Some gorilla family groups are named after influential persons, situations, or even local names of places. When a young silverback challenges the dominant silverback, he must ‘steal’ some females from an existing group in order to form his own family. The gorilla families include; Amahoro gorilla group – Amahoro means “peaceful” and is led by the calm Ubumwe. The group mainly resides uphill, which requires you to endure a steep climb to eventually come into its territory but as always, the climb is worth it. There is also Hirwa gorilla group that emerged from different existing gorilla families, including Group 13, Susa, and Sabyinyo. Munyinya the silverback after leaving Susa with 2 females,
Sabyinyo gorilla group is led by Guhonda, named after one of the volcanoes which is Mountain Sabyinyo. This group is most times close to the park headquarters, if you are weary of tracking long distances, this is the group to request if available. Kwitonda gorilla group is led by silverback Kwitonda and the name is translated “humble one”. This gorilla group migrated from the Democratic Republic of Congo and settled ‘permanently’ in Rwanda. Group 13 / Agastya gorilla group had only 13 members during habituation hence its name. Currently, it has a membership of approximately 25 members and is led by silverback Agastya which explains the name change. Umubano gorilla group is led by silverback Charles who broke off from Amahoro gorilla group with some females to form Umubano. The name Umubano is translated as ‘living together. There is also Ugenda gorilla group was named after its unique behavior of roaming from place to place around the Karisimbi area, come ready to hike this volcano as you follow this gorilla group. Susa (A) gorilla group is the largest gorilla group in the park with 41 gorillas and is the group that was studied by Dian Fossey. The group is known for having rare twins named Byishimo and Impano.
Karisimbi / Susa – B gorilla group split from the original Susa (A) group and has 2 silverbacks. This group is one of the hardest to trek, residing on the upper slopes of Mt Karisimbi. It is best for seasoned hikers who enjoy the hiking experience as much as sighting the gorillas. Titus gorilla group was named after silverback Titus which was born during the days of Dian Fossey’s research at Karisoke. Bwenge gorilla group was formed by silverback Bwenge after breaking away with females from other groups. Bwenge is translated as ‘Wisdom’. The group occupies mainly the slopes between Karisimbi and Bisoke mountains.
What is the Packing List for Rwanda Gorilla Trek?
We always advise our visitors to pack as lightly as you can, you may have to travel in a group and baggage size and weight limits you depending on the car booked. Below are some of the things that should not miss on your packing list.
- Hiking Boots, Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park involves trekking/hiking in search for the endangered mountain gorillas. Because of the nature of the forest plus the altitude and terrain, you need light weight hiking boots for this activity. Hiking boots are must as you decide on what to pack for your Rwanda gorilla trek in Rwanda’s volcanoes National Park.
- Garden Gloves, You will be required gloves to protect your hands during your gorilla trek. As you move in this forest, remember that it can get slippery and somehow you need to hold on something just in case such happens.
- Rain Jacket, You will never tell when it is going to rain so you need a rain jacket in order to be protected from rain. Many clients prefer traveling in drier months of June, July, August and beginning of September and try to avoid rainy seasons of March, April and May but being a tropical rain forest, it can rain any time. This should be considered for your Rwanda gorilla trek.
- Long Sleeved Shirts/Blouse/, you are required to have long sleeved trousers/shirts/blouse for your gorilla trekking. Please ensure that you tack in your trousers in your hiking boots to avoid insects such as safari ants entering your trousers. Jeans trousers can do this better.
- Cameras and extra batteries, Photography is an important component of your Rwanda gorilla trek and thus make sure that you have your camera ready, charge your batteries very well and if necessary, carry extra batteries as you will need to take as many photographs in the one hour you will have with the gorillas. Please make sure that you switch off your flash while taking gorilla photographs.
- Hat and Sun Glasses, if it is hot, please carry a hat to protect you from the strong sun rays. You may also need to carry some sun glasses too. These are extra optional.
- Porters for your gorilla trek, this is an extra optional item and we advise all our clients to take a porter for their gorilla trekking. As earlier noted, gorilla trekking can be strenuous and thus you will need someone to give you a push or a pull on the way to the gorillas. These porters go for a fee but it is worth it. Remember that these porters are actually school going students either in their vacation or have been chased out of school due to school fees. By paying some money to have a porter with you, you will have contributed to community development indirectly.
Safari Holiday in Rwanda from the United Kingdom
Are you interested in a safari holiday in Rwanda aside from the gorilla trek? You will enjoy a wildlife experience in Rwanda’s only game park. Akagera national park is the serene and African wilderness safari experience. The Park is located in the Eastern region and gives you the opportunity to spot the Big Five wildlife in Rwanda. Buffaloes and elephants are most common, but leopards are observed with increasing frequency on night game drives, and the lion and black rhino’s population is growing. Other wildlife that you can film include includes Maasai giraffe, Burchell’s zebra, warthog, olive baboon, vervet monkey, hippo, impala, Defassa waterbuck, bushbuck, common duiker, eland, topi, Bohor reedbuck, oribi, roan antelope, klipspringer, and the secretive semi-aquatic sitatunga. Spotted hyena, genet, civet, white-tailed mongoose, bush baby, elephant-shrew, and various species of owl and nightjar are often seen on night drives
Akagera National Park was founded in 1934 and includes savannah, montane, and swamp habitats. The park is named for the Kagera River which flows along its eastern boundary feeding into Lake Ihema and several smaller lakes. The complex system of lakes and linking papyrus swamps makes up over a third of the park, which is the largest protected wetland in Eastern-Central Africa. There are about 480 bird species in Akagera National park. Contact us to organize game drives and boat cruise on Lake Ihema as well as community experiences for unforgettable safari experiences in Rwanda.
Flying to Rwanda from the UK for Safari
Rwanda air now operates direct flights from the United Kingdom though there are other flight options you can consider depending on the cost convenient and the best price. You fly into Kigali International Airport and acquire a visa upon arrival at the airport or online, you will have to adhere to the covid-19 regulations if you travel in this period for your safety and a healthy safari. You will then do a city tour of Kigali city and then drive to Volcanoes National Park for a gorilla trek and Akagera National Park for safari which is approximately 2-3 hours’ drive.
Where to stay in Rwanda for Gorilla trekking and Safari holiday from UK?
Planning a Rwanda gorilla trek and safari holiday, you should be sure where to stay within Volcanoes national Park or even in the outskirts of the park. The least you nights you can spend is only one night in a lodge of your choice. The more nights you stay at a hotel/Lodge you will get good discounts for your trip.
Depending on your budget, there are lodges/Hotels in volcanoes national park ranging from luxury to budget options. All lodges have single, double, twin, triple, and family rooms available to accommodate all of your interests. The luxury lodges include Virunga lodge, Sabinyo Silverback lodge, and Bisate lodge, the midrange lodges, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge and Lebambou Gorilla Lodge, Davinci Lodge and they are worth a night stay. The budget options include Gorilla Solution Lodge, Villa Gorilla, Virunga Hotel, Faraji Hotel, Kinigi Hotel, Hotel Muhabura, and La Palme Hotel or Home Inn. Let us know your budget and the lodge you would like to stay in and we shall advise accordingly for a service worth your budget.
For a safari/Holiday alongside gorillas, you can stay in Akagera National Park for a wildlife experience. Lodges in Akagera National Park range in service, Luxury options include Akagera Game Lodge, Akagera Rhino Lodge, and Ruzizi Tented Camp. They have great hospitality, clean rooms, VIP rooms and all have put in place the set SOPs for prevention of the spread of the coronavirus and all are ensuring the safety and health of their clients. The Midrange lodge options at Akagera National Park include Magashi camp, Dereva Hotel, and Akagera Bush Lodge. Contact us to tailor your holiday to Rwanda from the United Kingdom.
Booking Rwanda Gorilla trek and Safari Holiday from the UK with Encounter Africa safaris
Encounter Africa safaris has been conducting safaris for more than 10 years with a professional team conducting safaris to different parts of East Africa including Uganda, Rwanda, Congo, Kenya, and Tanzania. Volcanoes National Park has alternatives to offer besides mountain gorilla trekking, you can do golden monkey trekking, Diane Fossey hike, Hiking Mountain Bisoke and Karisimbi, Cultural encounter, and Birding. Encounter Africa safaris is highly recommended on Trip advisor as well as Safari Bookings. Get in touch today for a bespoke safari to Rwanda from the United Kingdom