Gorilla trekking has no specific definition; however, it is a safari activity that involves hiking/climbing through a tropical forest to spend a single hour with mountain gorillas. Hiking or climbing known as so because Volcanoes National Park raises to an altitude ranging from 2,500m to 4,500m above sea level. Gorilla trekking is done every single day as a total of 8 tourists visit a single gorilla family of the 10 gorilla families in the park.
The activity starts at 8:00am local time with a 30 minutes briefing from the park rangers who tell you of the gorilla trekking do’s and don’ts. After then you head into the jungle along with an armed park ranger and other trekkers. The trekking time is unpredictable and can last about 2-6 hours. A single hour is counted as soon as you get close to the gorillas. Remember to use your Rwanda gorilla trekking safari hour properly by using your camera right and observing the amazing gorilla interaction. After having a glimpse at the gorillas at play and chunk food, you then return to the gorilla trek start point where you receive a gorilla trekking certificate then be transferred to your next destination by your Rwanda safari guide.
There’s nothing like the same gorilla trekking experience, every day can be a different story to different tourists. The same playful and amazing tourists today can be the moody one’s the next day, just go trekking expecting anything.
One would wonder whether its only a single hour for Rwanda with any other option, the answer is yes! Unfortunately, unlike the chance Uganda gorilla safari tourists have to go for gorilla habituation, all of Rwanda’s gorillas have been habituated and therefore you can only go for trekking/tracking.
Rwanda is popularly known as the land of a thousand hills and becoming a prominent tourism destination in East Africa because of the Rwanda tour attractions in the country. Mountain Gorillas are only found in the Volcanoes National Park south west of the country along the Virunga massif- a mountain range that hosts Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Congo’s Virunga National Park. Gorilla trekking Rwanda is just a day’s activity, strenuous because of the hike but still unpredictable since the gorillas are on a move. Many Gorilla safari Rwanda tourists wonder which other activities in Volcanoes National Park that they can undertake after the hike. After your Africa gorillasafari, you can several activities like;
Golden Monkey trekking
Volcanoes National Park is lucky to be host to both Mountain Gorillas and Golden Monkeys. The Golden Monkey (Cercopithecus Mitis Kandti) is a local subspecies of the widespread Sykes Monkey, also known as the “Blue Monkey” and is endemic to the high-altitude forests of the Virunga massif. Golden monkeys are a beautiful sub species of monkeys from their golden coat, long tail to the playful and intrusive character. They spend most of their time leaping from bamboo branches or skipping on the forest floor in a manner that offers lasting memories to those who come to trek them. Their amazing and impressive character has made golden monkey trekking one of the popular Rwanda safari activity tailored to gorilla trekking.
There are two habituated (made used to the presence of people) groups of Golden Monkeys in Volcanoes National Park of which tourists trek on their safaris in Rwanda. Each of the group comprises around 80 – 100 members which is a great sight to witness when you get close to the monkeys.
Golden Monkey trekking starts in the morning from the park headquarters of Kinigi at 7:00am and lasts about 4 hours with no limited number of tourists allowed to trek a golden monkey group. A golden Monkey permit is currently USD100 per person per trek and tourists are permitted to stay for 1 hour with the monkeys. Permit booking can either be arranged in advance or booked at the park headquarters on the morning of the trek. It is easy to find the golden monkeys since they mostly live at the bottom of the Volcano Mountains with in the bamboo forest, and by just following the traces of fresh leftovers from the bamboo shoots eaten, the trackers are then able to locate them with in less than an hour. In case you need porters to help with luggage, they can be hired at the entry point of the park.
Since the forest is covered with bamboo, it is not difficult to get good photos. However, a longer lens is recommended as they can be more active and playful so could easily move away from you as you get close.
Visit Dian Fossey centre
A visit to Dian Fossey Centre on a Rwanda gorilla safari is a popular activity because of its relatedness to gorilla trekking. Dian Fossey Centre was set up in remembrance of Dian Fossey, a primatologist who lost her life in the gorilla conservation efforts. The visit involves a 30 minutes’ drive from the park headquarters to the trail head to access the Karisoke research camp where tourists walk for 10 minutes to the park boundary. The walk from the park boundary to the research center where the Dian’s grave is, takes about 1 ½ hours within the forest with possible sightings of forest hogs, forest elephants, a variety of primates and bird species. This visit is more than just a hike but an exceptional experience physically, emotionally and intellectually. It is so inspiring to learn about someone who was so dedicated and lost her life building a legacy that has seen Mountain Gorillas as the only great apes facing a population growth.
Mountain Hiking Adventures
If you would like to have a hiking adventure added to your Gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda then you can have it. The hiking spots include Mount Bisoke that stands at 3,700 meters above sea level, with a deep crater lake on the top. The hike does not require prior hiking experience; you only need to be physically fit, due to the high elevation and length of the climb. You spend about 5-7 hours depending on your hiking ability.
The other is Mountain Karisimbi which is the second highest volcanic peak in the Virunga ranges and takes two days and one night to experience. At the volcano’s top, you will enjoy fantastic views of the other five volcanoes and the beautiful Twin Lakes of Rwanda, Burera and Ruhondo.
Gorilla trekking is becoming the trendy thing to do while on an African safari. The experience isn’t only restricted to Rwanda but can be gotten on a Uganda gorilla trekking safari or Congo gorilla trekking safari making since they all have mountain Gorillas.
As you plan to trek gorillas in Rwanda don’t just miss out on the trek, undertake another activity for more rewarding memories.
Uganda Gorilla safari packages
3 Days Uganda gorilla trekking safari
4 Days Uganda gorilla trekking tour
5 Days Uganda gorilla & wildlife safari
6 Days Uganda gorilla & chimpanzee trekking safari tour
9 Days Uganda gorilla, chimps & wildlife safari
10 Days Uganda gorilla & chimps tour
12 Days Uganda gorilla tour
Rwanda gorilla safari packages
1 Day Rwanda gorilla safari
2 Days Rwanda gorilla trekking tour
3 Days Rwanda gorilla safari
4 Days Rwanda gorilla & wildlife safari
5 Days Rwanda gorilla & wildlife safari
6 Days Rwanda gorilla safari tour
8 Days Uganda Rwanda gorilla trekking safari
9 days Uganda Rwanda gorilla, chimps & wildlife safari
Congo gorilla safari packages
2 Days Congo gorilla safari to Virunga National Park
3 Days Congo gorilla safari
3 Days Lowland gorilla trekking safari
4 Days Congo gorilla safari & Nyiragongo hike
5 Days Congo gorilla safari
6 Days Congo gorilla & hiking safari
7 Days Congo wildlife safari