Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is an incredible and unforgettable experience. Rwanda is home to a significant number of mountain gorillas, and visitors can take guided treks into the forests to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
The trek can be physically demanding, as the gorillas live in mountainous regions, but the experience of seeing them up close is well worth the effort. Visitors are usually allowed to spend an hour with the gorillas, during which they can observe their behavior, interact with them, and take photos.
It’s important to note that gorilla trekking permits are limited, and it’s advisable to book in advance. Visitors also need to follow strict guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of the gorillas, such as keeping a safe distance and avoiding touching them.
Rwanda gorillas can be tracked in the Volcanoes National Park (Parc des Volcans). Going on a gorilla safari in Rwanda can be an expensive venture but worth the charge as this money is used for protecting the forest and the gorillas, without which the mountain gorilla protection might be a risk. Mountain gorilla tracking is an activity which takes place in the natural habitant of the gorillas and hence the experience cannot be compared to that of going to a zoo.
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is carried out in a secure, and well organized way so as to protect gorilla groups, nature as well as travelers tracking these rare primates. Standards and regulations have been set up to eliminate anything that may affect this practice.
The gorilla safari experience has been described as “thrilling, emotional and even impassioned.” The enormous silver-back gorillas are tender and will seldomly show up when you finally meet the gorillas. Young gorillas will also come in view. They are especially lured to bright colors like yellow hence its best to wear dull colors.
Below are the rules and regulations of tracking gorillas
- Submissiveness to the gorillas
When having your briefing before entering the forest in search for the gorillas, you are instructed to depict absolute resignation. Don’t look straight in the eyes and abstain from standing over them. Depending on situations, if the male gorilla charges at you, squat down. Gorillas have freedom of way. Don’t yell, talk in whispers. The guides will advise on the best way to act on encounter with these rare species. Constantly follow the directions from the guides.
- Gorilla Photography/Photographic Safaris.
Flash photography is not allowed, as they will scare off the gorillas. Tourists are allowed normal photography and filming for domestic use. Special Photographic and filming safaris may be organized for particular groups at the park station. These will include those who want to film specifically for commercial use and documentaries. These will require accreditation cards unlike normal tourists.
- Health of the Gorillas
With just only about 700 mountain gorillas in left in the wild theses species have been categorized as endangered and have to be protected. Therefore in Rwanda Gorilla tracking is confined to 8 persons for every day per gorilla group. That makes what added up to 56 gorilla permits for every day.
Avoid tracking gorillas if you suffer from contagious disease. In case you develop a severe case of flu, your money will be fully refunded if you make this known in advance. However if you attempt to track and fail for whatever reason, or if the guides discover that you cannot track due to disease, you are disqualified for any refunds and may even be fined.
3.Don’t sneeze towards them
Do not spit in the forest or defecate carelessly. If you need to the guides will help you with a machete to dig a hole to bury your waste.
4. Environmental consciousness
Gorilla tracking is a clean activity. Leave only your footprints in the national park.
Do not litter and if you spot any litter, collect it and take it down with you.
Do not collect any souvenirs from the park.
5. Eating while tracking gorillas
You can carry your picnic but do not eat in the vicinity of the gorillas. You eating might encourage the gorillas to come and share your delicacy with you.
- Don’t Imitate the gorillas
Please do not imitate the male gorilla chest beating. The silver back will take that as a challenge and charge after you which can result in severe injuries. Please note that you are not liable for any compensation for any animal related injuries in the parks. Though charging has not been reported for a long time, please avoid any provocation as you will come out second best.
- Age Limit: Only people of 15 years and above are allowed track gorillas. However young children can engage in other activities in volcanoes like tracking golden monkeys
Overall, gorilla trekking in Rwanda is a must-do experience for any nature or animal lover visiting Rwanda. It is an opportunity to see these magnificent creatures up close while also contributing to their conservation and the local community