Why Does Rwanda Not Have Gorilla Habituation Experience in Volcanoes National Park?
Why does Rwanda not have gorilla habituation experience in Volcanoes National Park? Rwanda doesn’t have gorilla habituation experience in Volcanoes National Park to reduce the effects of mass tourism in this park. Compared to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, the size of Volcanoes National Park is smaller. For conservation reasons, gorilla trekking and golden monkey trekking are the activities the park can support for now. Besides, all-mountain gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park are all habituated, while others are put aside for research.
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Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda hosts 15 gorilla families, including Amahoro, Agashya, Umubano, Susa, Sabyinyo, and others. These gorilla families need to have enough food to support their existence, and in case more people are allowed to visit, they may trample on the foliage. Naturally, mountain gorillas are vegetarians, so they need enough to support their bodies in the day and night.
Uganda is currently the only country offering gorilla habituation experience, and the cost of the Uganda gorilla habituation permit is the same as the gorilla trekking permit cost for Rwanda. At the moment, the gorilla habituation permit for Uganda is $1500, where four hours are allowed with the semi-habituated gorilla family, while the exact cost is levied on the Rwanda gorilla trekking permit, where one hour is allowed with the mountain gorillas.
This makes it hard for Rwanda to charge a higher cost for gorilla habituation experience, yet her neighbor Uganda charges a different permit cost.
How To Book Rwanda Gorilla trekking Permits?
Suppose you do not purchase your gorilla permit directly from the Rwanda Development Board. In that case, we are ready to help lift the burden of gorilla safari planning off your shoulders at Encounter Africa Safaris. We understand the hassle you go through to save for your Africa holiday, and we aim to give you the best experience on your gorilla safari.
Upon receiving your Rwanda gorilla safari inquiry, our safari consultant checks availability per your details, such as safari dates and the number of people traveling. Knowing the ages of people in your company is important, as the age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 and beyond.
When availability is favorable, our consultants get back to you, but we advise clients to purchase their permits as soon as possible. This is because the availability of gorilla permits gets scarce, especially during the peak season, that is, June to September and December to January, when demand is high.
For identification purposes, forward some personal details like your full name as presented on the passport, nationality, date of birth, passport expiry date, and others
How Much Is The Gorilla Safari in Rwanda?
Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500 for foreign nonresidents, $500 for foreign residents, and $300 for East Africans.
Within the cost of a Rwanda gorilla trekking permit are the ranger guide fee, park entrance fee, security, one hour with the mountain gorillas, mountain gorilla conservation, local community support, and certificate, to mention but a few.
Exclusions in the cost of Rwanda gorilla permit
Tips, accommodation, transport, snacks, and any other personal belongings
What is the age limit for Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda?
Fifteen years and over is the age limit for gorilla trekking because of the nature of the terrain of Volcanoes National Park, where you may be required to hike to the slopes or deep in the valley, sometimes to find the mountain gorillas.
Rules of gorilla trekking must be religiously followed, but a child below 15 years may not abide by them, yet violating them may agitate the mountain gorillas.
How Long Is The Gorilla Trek In Volcanoes National Park?
The length of the gorilla trek in Rwanda may take two hours or more, depending on factors prevailing in the forest. Finding the mountain gorillas may depend on factors like prevailing weather conditions of the day, location of mountain gorilla feeding point, death of a gorilla family member, and others.
During the gorilla trek, tourists are advised to be patient and open-minded to other exciting features in the forest other than focusing on finding the mountain gorillas.
Finding the mountain gorillas may make you forget what you may have gone through searching for these primates. Meeting the mountain gorillas is a dream come true experience worth every investment of your time and money.
Are mountain gorillas of Volcanoes National Park aggressive?
The mountain gorillas are serene primates despite their scaring appearance. When you meet the mountain gorillas, you realize how vulnerable they are. This doesn’t mean you provoke them because they have feelings, too. Mountain gorillas may thump hard on their chest, walk on one foot, pull grass around them, and so much more when agitated.
Upon noticing this, you do not have to panic but wait for directions from the ranger guide after establishing the cause of the matter. If the root cause is not visitors but family feuds, power struggles, or much more, follow the ranger guide’s advice to capture and enjoy the drama.
When departing from the mountain gorillas, stealthily do it without causing any altercation with the mountain gorillas.
What else To do On Rwanda Safari?
Golden Monkey trekking in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda.
Within Volcanoes National Park, one can engage in golden monkey trekking. These monkeys are among the world’s endangered primates, with about 2,000 to 4,000 golden monkeys estimated to live in the world. They are charming, and although habituated to human presence, they still possess their charming nature. When you locate the golden monkeys, be ready to stay at your feet because of their restless characteristics.
Golden monkeys have a unique body structure, which is more significant than that of ordinary monkeys, and possess golden brown hairs on the lower part of their bodies. To be allowed to do gorilla trekking, you must possess a golden monkey permit from the Rwanda Development Board.
The current Golden Monkey trekking permit costs $100 per person per trek.
Birding in Volcanoes National Park
Visiting Volcanoes National Park for gorilla trekking is a double opportunity for keen birders. The forest celebrates over 300 bird species, including Albertine rift endemics. Some birds in Volcanoes National Park include Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Archer’s Robin-chat, Mountain Masked Apalis, and Dusky Crimsonwing. The list is endless. Some of these you may spot during the gorilla trek or may arrange a birding safari in Volcanoes National Park.
Mountaineering Experience in Volcanoes National Park
The topography of Volcanoes National Park comprises five highlands: Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Muhavura, Mountain Bisoke, Mountain Karisimbi, and Mountain Sabyinyo. If you wish to test your fitness level with an 8-hour return hike excursion, you may do an escorted hike to the summit of either mountain.
The vegetation you pass by on your way to the top of these highlands is stunning. The unique views created by the great vegetation are exceptional and worth your effort.
Dian Fossey Grave treks
The death of the mountain gorilla hero was tragic in the 1980s, and to walk in her last steps while supporting her cause to conserve the mountain gorillas is worth taking. Dian Fossey was an American primatologist who dedicated her life to the survival of mountain gorillas but was gruesomely murdered in 1985 by an unknown assassin. Her efforts are why the mountain gorillas still live.
Forest walk in Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park is endowed with other interesting primates, which you may spot on a forest walk. Some of the primates in Volcanoes National Park include blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, and others.
Volcanoes National Park, being a biosphere reserve, offers you the chance to see a number of other interesting features in the forest, like unique plants rarely seen outside the park, insects, and other wild animals. The forest is a dense network of rivers that may form waterfalls.
Other Rwanda safari activities
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe National Park
Although Rwanda is generally a small country, eco-tourism is one of its offers as it jealously conserves its forests where animals like chimpanzees thrive. Nyungwe National Park is the only home of chimpanzees in Rwanda, and it currently hosts a semi-habituated community. On the outskirts of Nyungwe National Park is Cyamudondo, home to another chimpanzee community.
You must secure a chimpanzee trekking permit from the Rwanda Development Board to be given access to human cousins. Two chimpanzee trekking sessions happen in Nyungwe National Park each morning and afternoon, but a maximum of 6 tourists are allowed to visit each chimpanzee troop. This is a way to minimize disturbance as human presence disrupts the chimpanzees’ day-to-day life.
Canopy walk over Nyungwe National Park.
You can do the canopy walk to view the Nyungwe forest canopy from the suspension bridge. This 90-meter-long bridge is the only one of its kind in East Africa. While standing over the forest, you get a beautiful view of Nyungwe forest, some of its dwellers, and stunning features. It’s a relaxing adventure worth adding to your Rwanda safari itinerary.
If you fear heights, this may not go well with you.
Game Safaris in Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park is the only habitat where you can enjoy game safaris in Rwanda. This park was severely affected by the Rwanda genocide of 1994 and even its aftereffects. Many wild animals were killed while others fled.
This park is recovering, and several wild animals are being re-habitated. During the game drives in Akagera National Park, you may spot giraffes, leopards, waterbucks, zebras, bushbucks, cape buffaloes, elephants, Uganda kobs, and impalas, to mention but a few.
Taking a boat trip on Lake Ihema within Akagera National Park is relaxing as you may watch several water birds and enjoy the stunning scenery, to mention but a few.
Kigali City Tour
How do you depart Rwanda without knowing more about its clean city? While on the Kigali city tour, you may visit the Rwanda genocide memorial, Butare National Museum, Kigali Institute of Science and Technology, and the Kandt house and enjoy Rwanda coffee’s tasty and incredible aromas.
The Kigali City Tour gives you an in-depth view of the city and lets you feel the genuine heartbeat of Rwanda.
Rwandase Cultural Experience
Rwandese are proud of their unique culture, which can be felt in most of their activities, like the Intore dance, if you get a chance to attend one. The loud beats from these long drums and a crested crane nuptial dance move speak volumes about the joy of being Rwandese. During the intore dance moves, traditional songs accompany Lulunga, a harp-like instrument with eight strings. The Hoe dance from northern Rwanda is the finest example of traditional dance moves.
As these drums play, you may be enticed to dance along as these moves are irresistible.
Visiting the National Museum of Huye may give you a chance to enjoy the Intore dance at short notice.
In most craft shops in Rwanda, you may purchase the Imigongo. This is a unique cow dung painting, but the Nyakarimbi offers better opportunities for this when you visit because this is the source of most Rwanda crafts. Rwandese love making crafts; you can witness this from the different crafts shops you visit.
Is Rwanda Safe For A Visit?
Rwanda is safe to visit. After the Rwandese genocide of 1994, the country is enjoying peace as the people are regularly reminded of their past by different monuments and genocide memorials set up.
Most Rwanda safari activities are conducted by well-trained ranger guides, especially in the National Park, who protect wildlife, its habitats, and visitors. Also, other Rwandan security agencies are on the ground to keep law and order.
As a tourist, you must be the first security for yourself by not moving in the wilderness without an escorting ranger guide. The wilderness has several occupants that may be harmful to you. Refrain from carrying your precious items, as you may attract the wrong company.
To know more about visiting gorillas in Rwanda, please contact us for more information.