This remarkable trekking safari in Rwanda goes to come across 700 from the world’s making it through types of mountain gorillas only based in the rain forest jungles from Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.Besides trekking the large gentle creatures, take nature walks with the forests for other primates, watch the wild birds, take sights from the peaks on Muhavura, stunning backdrop of Karisimbi, Bisoke, Mikeno, Sabyinyo, Mgahinga volcanoes, watch and discover the reasons scientists like Dian Fossey, Karen Strier and Jane Goodal have loved the habitat of those primates. You will find more primates in Rwanda compared to every other country in Central and East Africa.
Gorilla Trekking in Parc Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
Take breakfast and mind off first for that ORTPN offices at Musanze about the feet slopes from the park around 7am for prior briefing. There, you will be allotted into categories of only 8 persons brought by armed and expert ranger/ trackers.
Parc National des Volcans is mainly composed of heavy rain forested slopes and mostly a famous habitat for gorillas. There’s an adrenaline hurry that catches you once you discover the family you’ve been monitoring in excess of 2 hrs. After this you have 1 hour to relish the intense feeling, watching the apes feeding, nursing the youthful ones and also the juveniles playing within the overgrown vines.
The volcanoes national park can also be the place to find other primates such as the rare habituated Golden apes, that are now on the top from the listing of the day’s trekking. They are among the most rarified species within the monkey family recognized to inhabit the Albertine rift. From Nyungwe National Park in south west Rwanda, you’ll find less of those apes. Other primates seen may range from the acrobatic Angola colobus and many chimpanzees.
Diane Fossey Grave
Trek within the volcanoes park also for Dian Fossey’s grave that’s near Karisoke Research Center. Dian Fossey was a united states investigator/naturalist who showed up within the park around 1967, creating an investigation center and her home inside the park while investing her effort and time to saving the gorillas from illegal poachers. She’s recommended worldwide for representing the plight from the gorillas which were continuously under extinction. She was sadly killed in 1985 by unknown people- regarded as poachers whom she greatly fought against against her days whilst in the park. Her dynamic effort and work inspired this area office movie ‘Gorillas within the Mist’
When you turn up at Musanze, there are several choices for Rwanda Accommodation. You should check into among the overnight options like Virunga lodge and Sabinyo Lodge for luxury accommodation. Fairly cheap but standard accommodation from Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Mountain Gorilla Nest Lodge and Hotel Gorilla, while for cheaper options take a look at Kinigi Guesthouse and Hotel Muhabura.
If Rwanda doesn’t satisfy you on Gorilla Trekking you can try out Gorilla safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable forest of Uganda or visit Congo for the lowland gorillas. you can never get enough of Gorilla safaris and primates from the jungle of central and eastern Africa.
GORILLA TREKKING IN RWANDA
Do not forget to carry your gorilla permit as you leave your hotel that morning and make sure you have packed all the necessary gears like trekking boots, gloves, rain jackets, long sleeved wear, packed lunch and snacks, a walking stick (very necessary) among others. This is a glimpse of what you should expect the day of your gorilla trekking excursion here in Rwanda.
As you head for the early morning pre-tracking briefing in the morning at the park’s headquarters by the park’s headquarters, carry your passport. These are needed to verify whether you are the rightful owner of the permit; the gorilla permit is crosschecked with your passport. You are expected at this moment to be ready with your packed lunch as there is no time to take off till the trek is over.
You will be served a cup of tea or coffee as you are entertained by the local traditional Kinyarwanda dancers thereby giving you a good start of the strenuous yet thrilling day, before the ranger guides gives you the dos and don’ts for the trek.
Having been briefed on the safety measures and what to expect during the day, you will be assigned a group in which there will be a maximum of 8 people and each group is assigned one gorilla family to trek. 10 groups are allowed to trek on a particular day because Rwanda has 10 gorilla families.
Assigning you a group will highly depend on your fitness as well as your age; for instance guests aged 45 years and above and those who are less fit will be assigned easy to find gorilla families that do not wander too far from the trail heads. However guests with special interests over specific gorilla groups will need to inform their guides so that they are assigned particular groups.
It should be noted that it is not a guarantee that the easy to find gorillas will be easily found because these are wild animals in their natural habitat so they may wander off far as they search for food. Although this exercise may be considered strenuous the total experience is interesting and unpredictable.
Each gorilla tracking group comprises a main guide and 2 scouts who carry with them AK-47 guns, one leads the group as the other follows at the back of the group. This is done to ensure protection of the guests against wild or angry gorillas and elephants. The scouts are well trained to fire shots in the air to scare the animals away and on rare occasions have they had to shoot at the animals. Tourists are usually advised to hide until the animal goes away.
Prior to your arrival a pair of trackers will be sent out very early in the morning mainly to find the location of specific gorilla families and also assess where they may be heading. These communicate these movements to the guide so as to decide on the best approach on how to meet the family.
Trekking to Find the Gorillas
The time taken to hike to the mountain gorillas is very unpredictable as this will depend on how far the gorillas have moved. It could take as little as 30 minutes to as long as 7 hours.
Their habitat is verdant, humid and somewhat light with no discernible trekking paths. The terrain consists of steep volcano slopes and hills where you may need to pull yourself up steep grades by clinging onto plant roots, branches, bushes and more. Always follow the lead of your guide and when you need to take a break you should inform him/her.
It is also very important that you carry some energy giving snacks as well as bottled mineral water to quench your thirst and give you more energy.
Actual Encounter with the Gorillas
Once in the presence of the gorilla family, the clock starts kicking for a maximum of exactly one hour. You will be required to move slowly, stay quiet and avoid drastic movements so as not to irritate the gorillas. You will instead sit down but avoid a direct look into the eyes of the gorillas as this also irritates them.
Get your cameras ready and take as many photos as you can but please remember to remove the flash lights and sounds. The gorillas can be seen feeding from the ground resting, moving around or up in the trees playing about in the branches. Make sure you get yourself the best view for photographs and learn all about their behavior.
You can follow them in case they move but remember to be at a recommended distance which should be not shorter than 7 meters. Be advised that the most important thing is you stay near your guide and follow his instructions always.
The trackers often clear the bush with their machetes so that it is possible for you to get a clearer and closer look at the gorillas. You will be amazed at how graceful and peaceful these animals are, considering their incredible size. The sight of the silverbacks (mature males) getting up and moving around showing control over the territory is incredible.
TREKKING GORILLAS IN RWANDA.
Rwanda which is also known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills” is a small country not only surrounded by land but also gifted with nature and beautiful people. Rwanda was a long time ago faced with a very disturbing and trying moment back in 1994 when a genocide saw many lose their lives. This period has never left Rwanda the same though there has been much progress since then and the inhabitants of Rwanda has managed to pick up the pieces on the recovery road and has been peaceful since then.
There are quite a number of sights to see when in the Land of a thousand hill however the most captivating of them all are the Mountain Gorillas. These gentle giants are found in the Volcanoes National Park and are fully available for tracking.
Rwanda only has one major advantage of having the shortest distance from the airport to the national park thus it is very suitable and reliable for trackers that are limited by the time factor. It takes about 2 to 3 hours to travel to the park entrance from airport which allows many visitors interested in tracking to take advantage of this kind of proximity before getting on with their daily activities.
Rwanda’s Mountain Gorilla Tracking permits are quite expensive when compared to the other two countries. These go for a whooping US$1500 each, thus it is only best for those that have no problem paying that amount for a tracking permit and those that are limited by time.
There are only 10 habituated groups in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. These include the Susa Family (A), the Amahoro Group, the Titus Family, the Karisimbi Group (Susa B), the Kwitonda Group, the Umubano Group and the Agashya Gorilla family among others. It is 8 persons that are allowed and allocated to each gorilla family for tracking. These are supposed to be briefed on what to do before they head out into the forest. Hiking can last 30 minutes all the way to 4 hours because it is determined by how far the gorilla groups you are allocated have moved.
There are direct flights coming from Kenya in Nairobi and the Mount Kilimanjaro as well every day to Rwanda’s Kigali International airport which gives you enough time to travel to the Volcanoes National Park, go on to track these Mountain Gorillas and then head back that same day.
You can be able to take part in visiting some other places that reflect the beauty of Rwanda like the Akagera National Park, the Nyungwe Forest National Park, Lake Kivu and the Gishwati Mukura National Park where you can enjoy tracking Chimpanzees, Golden Monkeys, have game drives and do so many more exciting activities. You can also opt for a city tour to visit famous sites, museums and the markets to buy some souvenirs before catching your flight back.