Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda: Things You Should Know

Need to trek mountain gorillas in Africa? Rwanda is one of the few destinations that are open for gorilla tourism in Africa.

To many travelers who have gone on primate safaris, there is no better way to get close to a family of mountain gorillas than undertaking a gorilla trek in Rwanda!

Located in central Africa, Rwanda is the most popular destination for gorilla trekking in the world. The country closed its doors to tourists in March 2020 due to the novel corona virus but it was one of the few destinations to reopen tourism but with stringent rules and guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of the virus to both tourists and the wildlife. Today you can book a tailor-made gorilla safari in Rwanda and also explore other outstanding destinations in the country safely!

Gorilla Safaris in Rwanda
Rwanda is one of the few destinations that first embraced gorilla tourism. The country has at the centre of gorilla conservation and its work has been promoted to the world largely by the late Dian Fossey, one of the famous conservationists in the world.

When you choose to go on gorilla trekking safaris in Rwanda, be rest assured that you will be guaranteed of life changing experiences and your dollars will help in the conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas whose total population stands at just 1060 individuals left in the whole world.

There are varied gorilla safaris offered by local tour operators that will allow you immense yourself into Africa’s dense tropical rain-forest to enjoy a face to face encounter with the impressive mountain gorillas. These great apes are not only found in Rwanda but also in the neighboring Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The three African states shelter the world’s 1063 mountain gorillas and on Rwanda gorilla treks, you stand a great chance to explore them in the wild in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.

Gorilla Tracking is conducted in the Volcanoes National Park, one of the only four national parks in the world that host the mountain gorillas. To make a gorilla visit safe, researchers take time to habituate gorilla families that are to be visited by tourists. The process which has been named “gorilla habituation” takes about 2-5 years and a party of researchers will often visit the gorilla family to get it used to the presence of humans into their territory. Currently there are twelve habituated gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park that can be visited by tourists. Some of the most popular gorilla families are; Hirwa gorilla group, Bwenge, Kwitonda, Sabyinyo, Group 13/Agashya, Susa A, Karisimbi or Susa B, Amahoro, Ugenda and Umubano.

When you book a gorilla trek in Rwanda, you also stand a chance to also engage in other wildlife experiences, adventures, authentic African cultural experiences, primate encounters and a lot more. Local tour operators arrange both short and long safaris thus presenting to you opportunity to choose the best that suits your budget and travel needs.

At US$ 1500 per gorilla permit in Rwanda, you can certainly be part of the thrilling gorilla watching experience in Volcanoes National Park. Book for your gorilla permit well in advance and get started with arranging the most exceptional experiential safari in the Virunga.

Best time to enjoy Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris
Gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park can be enjoyed at any time of the year! Rwanda is an exceptional destination with favorable weather and climatic conditions that make travels possible in all seasons.

Though gorilla trekking can be done any time of the year, the dry season is remarkably the best for you to undertake expeditions into the bamboo forest to meet the endangered gorillas. The dry months you should mark on your calendar are; June, July, August, September and these are known to be the longest dry months of the year. The shortest dry months begin in December, January, February.

Why travel to Rwanda for gorilla trekking safaris during the dry season? There are many benefits of trekking mountain gorillas in Rwanda during the dry season.
Firstly, the ground remains drier making it easier trekking through the vegetation. Remember the hike is taken through a tropical rain forest that can be slipperly during the rain season.

The dry season also makes it easier to get clearer pictures. You take clear pictures of the mountain gorillas since the vegetation is less dense and there is also less vegetation undergrowth.

Gorilla trekking is not limited to only the dry season. Some travelers opt for gorilla treks during the rainy season and there are also advantages that are tied to travels during what could be considered the wet months.

Why travel during the wet or rainy season to track gorillas? Undertaking a gorilla trek tour in Rwanda during the rainy/low season comes with advantages like discounted accommodation rates, enjoying a gorilla trek with fewer crowds, possibility of last-minute bookings, enjoy discounts on ground travel.

Though the hikes may be difficult during the wet months, the hikes are always of less distance if compared with the dry season. The rains normally come with growth of plenty of food and the mountain gorillas will not roam so much in search of food. The brave ones who opt to track the gorillas during this season will easily see mountain gorillas on shorter hikes.

Another reason for considering the wet months is that you can get a better deal during these off-peak months of the year. With high availability of beds, you will save more on accommodation with low season discount offers that are always given out even by the most luxurious lodges within Rwanda. The wet season normally begins from March to May and October to November although these are characterized by heavy rains.

What you need to pack on Rwanda gorilla treks
The check-list of items you should have on gorilla treks in Rwanda range from valid gorilla permit, visa, first aid kit, prescribed anti-malarials, insect repellents, rain-jacket/poncho, waterproof hiking boots, hat, long-sleeved shirt, daypack, sunscreen, trousers, camera with no flashlight, bottled water, snacks, essential vaccination documents, pair of socks and others.

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