Trekking through the Rwandan jungle can be a strenuous experience, however the reward of coming face to face with a family of gorillas is a memory that will stay with you forever. After a night spent in a lodge, nestled in the scenic slopes of the Sabinyo Volcano, hike through thick bamboo forest, alpine moorland and dense jungle to the habitat of one of ten mountain gorilla families. Sit quietly and wait for these magnificent creatures to emerge from the wilderness – a truly breathtaking moment.
After a very early start, drive to the park headquarters (approximately 30 minutes) where you’ll be briefed on the gorilla trek by the guides of Parc National des Volcans. Ten different gorilla families live here, in bamboo forest interspersed with alpine moorland, grassland and marshland. The groups include Group 13, Sabinyo, Amahoro, Umubano, Susa, Kwitonda (which has recently arrived from the DRC) and the Hirwa group, newly formed from different habituated families. Gorilla trekking is highly controlled, with only 80 gorilla trekking permits available each day. Once a trekking group encounters one of the gorilla families, only one hour is granted in the presence of the great apes before trekkers must leave, however reluctantly. Be aware that the trek can be strenuous and may reach altitudes of almost 3,000 meters above sea level. Depending on weather conditions, some of the paths can be slippery and these paths themselves can change depending on the location of the gorillas. Therefore it is very hard to predict how long you will need to walk for, but a very good level of fitness is recommended for this trek. It may take anything between 40 minutes and five hours to reach your designated gorilla family, but it’s more than worth it. The trackers will have already set out and located the gorilla family by the time you begin your trek, so your actual walking time can usually be predicted when you set off. You can usually get very close to the mountain gorillas, and watching their movements is like seeing a mirror image of yourself. Be mesmerized as you watch them eat, sleep, groom and play – the giant silver-back surveying the scene as the smaller ones laze in the trees or play like children. As lunch can only be taken upon return to the hotel, it is recommended that you bring a few snacks to keep you going throughout the morning. At the end of the day the comforts of the hotel beckon, along with a chance to reflect on what is sure to be a truly memorable day.
Notes: Your gorilla trek will be a shared activity. You will be accompanied by other travellers, with a maximum of 8 people per gorilla group, plus your guides.
GOOD TO KNOW:
A deposit of 300 USD is required to confirm this tour. For any departures within 29 March 2018 full payment is required.
The Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda Experience – Independent tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads’ travel insurance.
For this Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda Experience – Independent tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveler, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.