Within the whole world, you can see the mountain gorillas scientifically known as the Gorilla Berengeri Berengeri in Uganda, the Republic of Rwanda and the Democratic republic of Congo. Within the republic of Rwanda, these gigantic apes can be tracked or seen in the Volcanoes National park commonly known as Park Nationale Des Volcans, Bwindi and Mgahinga in Uganda, Vringa national Park in Congo. There are seven mountain gorilla groups being habituated a year. Eight people per day are allowed to trek gorillas in Rwanda. In the republic of Rwanda, a gorilla permit costs $ 1500 for each person for every trek. When you are paying this money, you should feel confident because part of this money is goes to the conserving of the mountain gorillas. For you to enjoy this gorilla expedition, you should the gorilla safari with a very credible company. You should make sure that a scanned copy of your gorilla tracking permit is ready before a few weeks before your tour commences.
The republic of Rwanda Gorillas
You will be required to wake up early in the morning and usually, this will require you to find the best accommodation which is near your park entrance. In your African gorilla guide, there is briefing which requires you to be at the station at exactly 7:00am. There must be safety and precautions as well as the protocol to be observed during gorilla trekking. Within the country, there are over eighty gorilla trekking guides and these are provided by the Rwanda Development Board. These guides are too confident because, they are very well trained. They do speak English and French. In addition to other members of the group you will be required to proceed to the rain forest where you will hike. Usually, the hiking depends on your physical fitness and strength and this adventure will readily take you about thirty minutes or a couple of hours not exceeding 5 hours.
Where to go gorilla trekking in the Republic of Rwanda?
When you are in the republic of Rwanda and you have booked a permit, the gorillas can only be tracked in or within Volcanoes National park (Parc National des Volcans) of which the bigger section lies in the Virunga Mountains. Currently about four hundred mountain gorillas do live in the Virunga complex and these do reside on the altitude which do range from 2, 3000 to 4, 5000 meters.
When to go gorilla trekking
Gorilla trekking safaris can be done throughout the year. The hiking itself can be more arduous in the rainy seasons from April – May and in November, but at an altitude of 2000m and more, it can of course rain here at any time of the year. For more detail, see Rwanda’s climate.
The habituated Gorilla groups in Rwanda
The republic of Rwanda has got ten (10) habituated gorilla families including; Ugenda, Umubano, Susa group, Karinsimbi, Sabinyo, Hirwa, Amahoro, Bwengye, Group 13 (the Agasha group) and the Kwitonda. At most, a maximum of eight (8) people are allowed to visit each gorilla group every day. You are required to spend one hour when you are with these gorillas. When you are with the gorillas, you will be allowed to take pictures, take photographs and relax while you are with these gorillas. When you are with the gorillas, it is very interesting moment as you will have time to critically examine these gigantic apes.
what To Wear?
Day time temperatures are generally warm to hot, so bring lots of light clothing. Evenings are cooler, especially at high altitudes, so carry a couple of light sweaters too. Those who intend to hike on the mountains will be exposed to alpine temperatures and should pack accordingly. Solid walking shoes and sturdy clothing are ideal for forest walks. Don’t forget to bring a hat, sunglasses and a waterproof jacket.
What to bring
A valid passport is mandatory, and visa requirements should be checked before you travel. To make the most of the game reserves and national parks, carry binoculars and field guides. Print film and developing is available in Kigali. Toiletries and other essentials can be bought in the cities.
Gorilla Trekking Rules In Rwanda
- Before departing on your gorilla tracking:
A maximum number of 8 visitors may visit a group of habituated mountain gorillas in a day. This minimizes behavioral disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases.
- On the way to the gorillas:
Please always keep your voices low. You will also be able to observe the great bird life and other wildlife in the forest.
DO NOT leave rubbish in the park. Whatever you bring into the forest should be carried back out with you.
You will be taken to where the guides observed the gorillas the day before. From there you will follow the gorilla’s trail to find them. Look out for the gorilla’s nesting sites along the way!
- When you are with the gorillas:
A 7 meter (21 feet) distance should tried to be observed at all times from the gorillas. The further back you are, the more relaxed the group will be.
You must stay in tight group whey you are near the gorillas.
Keep your voices down at all times. However, it is okay to ask the guide questions.
Do not smoke, drink or eat when you are near the gorillas. Eating or drinking inevitably will increase the risk of food/drink morsels/droplets falling, which could increase the risk of transmission of diseases.
Sometimes the gorillas charge. Follow the guides example (crouch down slowly, do not look the gorillas directly in the eyes and wait for the animals to pass). Do not attempt to run away because that will increase the risk.
Flash photography is not permitted! When taking pictures move slowly and carefully.
Do not touch the gorillas. They are wild animals.
The maximum time you can spend with the gorillas is one hour. However, if the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide will finish the visit early.
After the visit keep your voices down until you are 200 meters away from the gorillas.
- General health rules:
Remember that mountain gorillas are very susceptible to human diseases. The following rules are ways to minimize the risk your visit might poses to them:
Respect the limits imposed on the number of visitors allowed with the gorillas each day. This minimizes the risk of disease transmission and stress to the group.
If you are feeling ill, or you are carrying a contagious disease, volunteer to stay behind. An alternate visit will be arranged for you, or you will be refunded your money.
If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the gorillas, please turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order to minimize the spread of bacteria or viruses.