Is it safe to see gorillas in Rwanda? Yes, seeking mountain gorillas in Rwanda is safe and secure for every visitor on an African safari holiday? Mountain gorillas are one of the world’s most sought after primates and undoubtedly the most magnificent wild creatures to interact with. A trip to the luxuriant Volcanoes National Park to view these star attractions is incomparably the most inspiring travel experience that comes once in a life time. Volcanoes National Park is one of the only four protected areas in Africa that attract visitors for gorilla trekking experiences. Many Gorilla trekkers normally ask different questions regarding to Gorilla trekking in Rwanda

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is an amazing experience that offers a tourist an opportunity to view the primates in the thick forest on volcanoes. These rare primates are only tracked in habituated gorilla groups and in Rwanda. There are 12 habituated gorilla groups in the Volcanoes National Park. There are other groups habituated fir research and these can only be accessed by researchers or scientists and they have the largest members of the family and they are Beetsme and Pablo’s Shida’s.  and  there are only  10 gorilla families that are tracked by visitors or opened for tourism every day and  they include the Susa gorilla family, Sabyinyo family, Amahoro, Group 13 also known as Agasha family, Kwitonda family, Umubano gorilla family,  Bwengye, Hirwa family, Ugenda gorilla family and Karisimbi gorilla family.  With the maximum of 8 persons and trackers are allowed to view the gentle giants for a maximum of one hour. This means that 80 visitors can possibly enjoy a gorilla trek each day within the Volcanoes National Park.

Trekking rules and regulations you should follow include

 Wash your hands before visiting the gorillas

Do not litter the park or forest. Whatever you bring with you to the forest should be taken back with you, no matter how small.

Maintain a distance of 7 meters while observing gorillas. This keeps the group relaxed and undisturbed. However, if gorillas come close to you, you can interact with them freely.

Tourists must stay close to each other while observing gorillas. You will not be allowed to scatter all over.

Always wash your hands thoroughly before heading to trek mountain gorillas.

Do not smoke, eat, or drink in the presence of mountain gorillas, as this could increase their risk of diseases due to droplets or passive smoking.

Avoid direct eyes contact with the gorillas, this can make them get irritated and when they come near you, do not touch them

Keep within the group of visitor that you came to track mountain gorillas and never attempt to run away among others

Safety essentials to pack to see the gorillas in Rwanda

Hiking boots or shoes because of the nature of the forest plus the altitude and terrain, you need lightweight hiking boots to give you support while on this activity. Please consider these as a must as you decide on what to pack for gorilla trekking in Rwanda, particularly the Volcanoes National Park.

You will need to also pack breathable waterproof jacket and trousers. Even if it doesn’t rain, the ground and vegetation are generally wet. Wearing waterproof trousers means you can kneel to get gorilla photos or slide down slippery slopes.

Long-sleeved shirt to protect yourself from tree branches, the sun, and insects, be sure to also pack long socks that you may tuck into the long trousers protect legs from scratches and keep insects out

Sunglasses, sunscreen, and sunhat

Gloves to grip the vegetation dime store or ‘pound shop’ gardening gloves are perfect.  These gloves will, therefore, protect you from germs and other items that may scratch your hands. Consider including Garden.

Camera equipment for taking pictures: Photography is an important component of your Rwanda safari and thus make sure that you have your camera ready, charge your batteries very well and if necessary, carry extra batteries as you will need to take as many photographs in the one hour you will have with the gorillas.

A walking stick. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend taking up the offer of a walking pole or stick. Sometimes the lodge provides them, other times, the guide may cut one for you from bamboo. Even one pole can be a big help for climbing up and easing yourself back down steep or muddy hills among other essentials.

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Cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Volcanoes national park

A gorilla trekking permit is a legal document that is issued by Rwanda Development Board to any visitor above the age of 15 year allowing him or her to visit a habituated gorilla family and spend one hour with the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. A gorilla trekking permit in Volcanoes National Park costs 1,500 US dollars per person for foreign nonresidents.  Foreign resident are charged 500US dollars per person, 200US dollars per person for Rwandan citizens and East African citizens.   You are advanced to book a permit a month before the trekking date.

How to get to Volcanoes national park

Volcanoes national park is located in northwestern part of Rwanda and can be accessed by road transport means where you will drive from Kigali international airport to the park headquarters which takes about 2 to 3 hours’ drive. Volcanoes National Park can also be accessed by public means of transport from Kigali to Musanze and then hire a private taxi to the park headquarters.

Best lodges for gorilla trekking

This is also another concerned question from most of the trackers who go to the Volcanoes National Park, well! Volcanoes National Park offers trekkers with affordable accommodations ranging from budget to luxury options such as Luxury Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback, Rwanda, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Kinigi Guest House, Muhabura Hotel, Rushel Kivu Lodge, Amata n’Ubuki Boutique Hotel, Nirvana Heights Resort and Spa, Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge among others.

For more information about the travel guide to gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park, you can reach out to us at Explore Rwanda Tours

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