Rwanda, famously known as the “The Country of Thousand Hills” is internationally popular for hosting a third of the total remaining population of the mountain gorillas in the world. Becoming a famous destination for mountain gorilla trekking, Rwanda is one of the 3 African countries that inhabit the critically endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. It is only in this park together with Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, and the Virunga National Park in congo, where travelers can see the endangered mountain gorillas.
Volcanoes National park, also known as Parc des Volcans is located in the Northern part of Rwanda, a region called Ruhengeri. The park is a home to nearly a third of the world’s remaining total population of the mountain gorillas. Did you know that you can only see the mountain gorillas in Africa! There are about 880 individuals of these gigantic apes left in the world and these populations are found in only three African countries. Therefore their protection is very important.
Volcanoes National Park is one of the well developed places for gorilla tourism. Located about 2-3 hours drive from Kigali (Rwanda’s Capital), the park is the most accessible place for watching the mountain gorillas in the world. Other places where you can see the mountain gorillas are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda as well as Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Though gorilla trekking is the most popular highlight within Parc des volcans, there are several other adventure activities within the park; golden monkey tracking, Karisimbi mountain climbing
, hiking to Dian Fossey Grave yard, visit to cultural villages, nature walk to the twin lakes of Ruhondo and Burera, and more.
Planning a Gorilla Trek
On a gorilla trek in Rwanda, you are required to reserve gorilla permits for a specific day you are looking to watching the mountain gorillas. A permit in Rwanda costs US$750 and it is advisable to book your pass in time. Remember in peak months such as july, August, September and December, permits are sold our fast and therefore the gorilla permits should be booked in advance given the high demand. To check for availability of gorilla permits you should consider contacting a local tour operator in Kigali.
Many travelers opt for gorilla treks that involve multiple gorilla trekking in various locations. Today double gorilla tracking is becoming popular in East Africa where many visitors consider tracking the gorillas twice in Volcanoes National Park. The treks lead you into two different gorilla groups within the park.
There are also travelers who opt for gorilla tracking in different countries. Therefore you can consider creating a magical trip though Uganda and Rwanda or DR Congo to increase your chances of seeing the mountain gorillas in the wild.
Are there Other Places to Include on Your Trip Itinerary?
There are lots of other fascinating places that you can include on your tour within Rwanda. The other destinations that you can visit include Akagera National park, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Lake Kivu, Genocide Memorial sites and more.
Some of the key points and tips that will help you plan the trip more efficiently while keeping your costs low are as below:-
Choose the right time to visit: Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is best done during the dry season, which runs from June to September and December to February. During this time, the trails are less muddy and the weather is generally more pleasant.
Choose the right trekking company: There are several trekking companies in Rwanda, and it’s important to choose one that fits your budget. Look for a company that offers budget options and has good reviews.
Book in advance: Gorilla trekking permits in Rwanda are limited and tend to sell out quickly, so it’s important to book your permit in advance. You can book your permit through a tour company or directly through the Rwanda Development Board.
Choose a budget accommodation: There are several budget accommodation options in Rwanda that are close to the gorilla trekking trails. Look for a guesthouse or hostel that fits your budget and has good reviews.
Pack appropriately: You’ll be trekking through dense forest, so it’s important to pack appropriate clothing and gear. This includes sturdy hiking boots, long pants, a rain jacket, and insect repellent.
By following these tips, you can have an amazing gorilla trekking experience in Rwanda without breaking the bank.