Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park
Trekking to see mountain gorillas in volcanoes national park is an exhilarating; heartfelt, humbling, truly special and unforgettable experience every traveler must ejoy on a Rwanda safari. The hikies through villages and jungle to spend an hour with the gorillas in their natural habitat make gorilla trekking an incredible experience reviewed by trip advisor as number one activity to do in Rwanda. The memorable experience is one of the key features that have put Rwanda on the world travel map drawing thousands of travelers into the land of a thousand hills everyday. The national park is a home to the highest population of mountain gorillas in the virunga massif the remaining population residing in Uganda’s Mgahinga and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo. Rwanda safaris are mainly about gorilla trekking in the volcanoes national park. Gorilla tourism in Rwanda started way back in 1958 empowered by an American primatologist Dian Fossey who sacrificed her life to save the rare mountain gorillas that were at the verge of extinction. Volcanoes national park is roughly 2-3 hours drive from Kigali international airport hence the easily accessible gorilla national park in the World. Mountain gorillas are incredible animals to spend time with as you enjoy them eat, play, groom and sleep in their respective families.
Since the start of gorilla tourism in Rwanda, 10 gorilla families have so far been habituated in volcanoes national park. These groups include sabyinyo family, amahoro family, Titus family, Susa family, Umubano family, Bwenge family, karisimbi family, kwitonda family, Hirwa family, Agashya family and Bwenge family. Each gorilla family is allocated to a group of eight people for an hour after which they descend back to the starting point. A gorilla family is led by a dominant silverback who takes the lead of the entire family in terms of planning where to sleep and protecting the family against any external attacks. Each family members has a role to play, adult females nurse the young ones while juveniles keep the family lively as they continuously jump over and play around. Each family name has a different meaning depending on its location, the name of the silverback and the circumstance in which the gorilla family was habituated.
A gorilla permit is a pass to see mountain gorillas and yet a must have by every traveler taking part in trekking. A single gorilla permit in volcanoes national park costs 1500usd, which make the country a luxury gorilla destination with an expensive gorilla permit. The high cost of gorilla permit in Rwanda was put in may 2017 doubling from the then 750usd to 1500usd aimed at promoting gorilla conservation and benefiting the local people living adjacent to the national park. Permits are accessed from the Rwanda development board (RDB) a government body responsible for tourism in Rwanda or else booked through any trusted tour operator offering gorilla packages in Rwanda. Due to the high demand for gorilla passes in Rwanda. On the actual day of trekking, all travelers “MUST” carry their valid gorilla permits along with other documents such as passports for clarifications. A permit allow travelers to spend an hour with mountain gorillas as they observe critically the human characters of these endangered species as well as taking photographs for remembrance. The cost of a gorilla permit includes park entrance fees and the payment for the ranger guide.
When to trek gorillas
Gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park is done all year round. However the dry season between the months of June, July, august, September, December and February are the best time to trek mountain gorillas. Dry season is also known as peak season associate with little or no rains making it easy to hike through the bamboo forests with no hustle. On the other hand, though gorilla the price of gorilla permit remains the same, trekking in the low season is pocket friendly. There are usually no crowds in lodges and travelers are given discounts for accommodation and food hence an advantage for budget travelers.
Beside gorilla trekking:
Golden monkey trekking
This is not a miss on your safari to volcanoes national park. The national park is one of the two destinations sheltering these rare monkey species (golden monkeys) along side Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda. Golden monkeys are playful lively animals worth to spend time with. Interestingly, golden monkey trekking is done at a relatively low rate (100usd) but the experience is for a lifetime. A visit to see golden monkeys is always done as an add to gorilla trekking but its surely worth doing. While trekking golden monkeys, travelers are reminded to keep steady and careful since these creatures continuously jump and a cross over tree branches. The trekking rules and regulations are similar to those with mountain gorillas.
Hiking Virunga volcanoes
Virunga volcanoes are awe-inspiring attractions you should not miss out in volcanoes national park. Physically fit travelers should not miss out hiking any of the virunga volcanoes in volcanoes national park. Rwanda hosts three of the eight chain of Virunga volcanoes and these share borders with the neighboring countries of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mount karismbi is the highest volcano in the chain of Virunga volcanoes and the other two are Mont Bisoke and Mount Sabyinyo in Rwanda’s border with Uganda. Interestingly the slopes of these volcanoes are covered by forests, which host the endangered mountain gorillas. The slopes of mount karisimbi is a home to karisimbi gorilla family hence an opportunity for travelers to meet and interact with the gentle giants in the process of hiking. A hike up through the rainforest is so amazing which reward you with great views from the top of craters at the summit of the Volcano.
Where to sleep
Travelers to volcanoes national park are served by various hotels and lodges all providing you with quality food and sleeping services. The service prices vary depending on the choice of services but both luxury and budget travelers are assured of quality services at affordable prices. new five star lodges have been established within and around volcanoes national park and these include among others Bisate lodge, one, mountain gorilla view lodge, Five volcanoes Boutique hotel, Sabyinyo silverback lodge, Da vinci gorilla lode, Gorilla solution lodge, Virunga lodge, Le Bambou gorilla lodge, Kinigi guest house and Mountain gorilla nest lodge. Travelers are assured of easy connectivity to the national park headquarters and the starting point for gorilla trekking.
Conclusively therefore, volcanoes National Park is a best place to visit. Visit the national park for gorilla trekking, volcano climbing and golden monkey trekking among others rewarding you with a phenomenal experience.