Rwanda is open for gorilla safaris all year but the dry season, which is normally June, July, August, September, December and January, is most preferred. The mountain gorillas are most active in this season because there is a lot of flourishing foliage in the forest to feed on. ENQUIRE NOW
Volcanoes National Park is the only home of mountain gorillas in Rwanda. This park lies in the northwestern part of Rwanda. At the moment, Volcanoes National Park has about 12 gorilla trekking families open to public booking that is 96 gorilla permits Rwanda open to public booking.
There are a number of other primates living in the forest and can be spotted moving freely in the forest like blue monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, red tailed monkeys, olive baboons, black and white colobus and others.
Keen birders in gorilla safari can get the best opportunity to spot a number of birds that wander through the forest all day. Volcanoes National Park hots over 200 bird species including Albertine rift endemics.
To confirm a gorilla trekking tour, you must obtain a gorilla permit from Rwanda Development Board. Since the number of gorilla permits is limited to maximum 8 per gorilla family, even when demand is increased, supply remains constant.
The trails in Volcanoes forest are passable during the peak season because even through the Virunga area is known for its untimely rains, the dry season receives fairly less rains. There is more sunray penetration through the dense Volcanoes forest canopy to the ground to keep the way less dense.
During the wet season, Volcanoes National Park receives less visitor on gorilla safari but chances of going on a solo adventure are high. The wet season of Volcanoes forest is normally March, April, May and November. This is the low Rwanda tourism season too so you may go on a solo gorilla safari without paying extra.
How can I Book Rwanda Gorilla Permit?
The Rwanda Gorilla Permits can be obtained from Rwanda development Board or through an accredited tour operator like Arch safaris And Tours. We can plan the gorilla safari on your behalf secure the gorilla permit, organize transport, hire a professional and driver guide for you so as to make you feel comfortable while on this dream Rwanda gorilla safari adventure.
To secure a Rwanda gorilla permit, you must have a date when you wish to do gorilla safari and the number of people you hope to travel with.
Check for availability from Rwanda Development Board or through a tour operator. Upon getting availability, purchase your gorilla permit as quickly as possible.
This is because they sell out fast on first come first served basis. Due to the limited number of Rwanda gorilla permits, they are sold at first come first served basis so none of the gorilla permits is sold without payment.
For identification purposes, you are required to forward some passport details like your full names as presented on the passport, Nationality, date of birth, passport expiry date and others.
The current cost of Rwanda gorilla permit is $1500 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $500 for foreign residents and $200 for East African residents. The Rwanda Development Board is the only selling and regulating body of Rwanda gorilla permits.
The cost of Rwanda gorilla permit includes the mountain gorilla conservation support, one hour with the mountain gorillas, briefing, escorting ranger guide service, government tax, park entrance fees, local community support, certificate after gorilla safari and others.
Exclusions of Rwanda gorilla permit cost: accommodation, transport, tips, snacks and any other personal items.
Is Gorilla Permit Instalment Purchase accepted in Rwanda?
Yes, Rwanda Gorilla permit instalment purchase is accepted by Rwanda development Board in the portions of 30% and 70% respectively. To qualify for Instalment gorilla permit purchase, you must have secured the gorilla permit before 90 days to gorilla safari date. You are reminded to top up the gorilla permit before 90 days to trekking date as failure to abide by this the gorilla permit is opened back to the public.
To avoid chances of forgetting to top up the gorilla permit, it is best to purchase it in full.
Can I reschedule Rwanda Gorilla Permits?
Rwanda accepts rescheduling the gorilla permit once you are unable to attend as per the booked arrangement. You need to follow the below arrangement when placing on your request to change gorilla permit date.
Write to Rwanda Development Board requesting to reschedule your gorilla permit to a new date. Attach evidence to backup your request to move the gorilla permits in case you have any.
Once Rwanda Development Board approves your request, the gorilla permit is rescheduled according to availability status.
Rwanda development Board charges for gorilla permit reschedule.
Is Rwanda Safe For Gorilla Trekking Tour
Rwanda is safe for gorilla safari experience as Volcanoes National Park is run by a well trained and experienced team of ranger guides to lead the way to the mountain gorillas. One of the ranger guides carries a rifle in case an emergence while another carries a machete for trimming down obstructing vines. Since the end of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the country is enjoying peace.
Each day a team of trackers patrols Volcanoes National Park before tourists visit the mountain gorillas to establish where the mountain gorillas may have spent the night and there possible hanging destination for the day. It is these clues that the ranger guides follow during gorilla trekking to make it quicker for tourists to trace the mountain gorillas other than just meandering in this thick jungle.
Although the mountain gorillas live in the thick Bwindi Forest, they are known to be cohesive with there families. This makes it conducive for those who do habituate these mountain gorillas. They get to be with the mountain gorillas and take them through the process of habituation to get them used to human presence without altering there nature. With this process, mountain gorillas learn to tolerate humans for atleast an hour.
Volcanoes National Park security include other Rwanda security agencies who help keep law and order in and around the park. They are the backup team in case attackers escalate pressure on the ranger guides.
Are Rwanda Mountain Gorillas Aggressive?
The Rwanda mountain gorillas families opened to public viewing are first habituated for a certain period before being approved ready to be opened to the public. This process helps reduce the possible animosity between humans and the mountain gorillas.
In nature the mountain gorillas are calm primates despite there scaring outlook. the mountain gorillas have a dark hairy body, posses sunken brown eyes and walk by knuckle locomotion which looks intimidating.
There outlook is not who they are because in nature mountain gorillas are shy and timid primates. When agitated, the mountain gorillas rash into the forest, thump hard there chest or hoot loudly.
In the history of gorilla trekking in Rwanda, no one has ever been reported to have been attacked by the mountain gorillas.
Attending briefing is compulsory before gorilla trekking in Rwanda and this is done from ORTPN. During gorilla trekking briefing, you go through the dos and donts of gorilla trekking and following them makes your gorilla safari incredible.
How Difficult Is Gorilla trekking in Rwanda
In general Rwanda is a mountainous country and that is why its referred to as the land of a thousand hills. The Volcanoes area is generally ragged with remains resulting from volcanic action that led to the formation of ridges and plateaus. Sometimes the mountain gorillas love spending part of there time at the slopes of these ragged mountains where by you must hike to locate them.
The trek to find the mountains is quite hectic because apart from having steep slopes, these highlands are covered with tangled vegetation that have culminated over year. Sometimes you may be required to crawl under these thick vines yet they may be slippery at times. All this is worth your endurance because the moment you stand face to face with the mountain gorillas makes you forget these challenges.
Wearing the right gorilla safari gears like a long sleeved shirt and trouser, rain coat, insect repellant saves you from getting hurt while in the jungle.
The look of the mountain gorillas melts your heart especially when you realize how calm these primates are rather than there aggressive behaviors that are shown in films. You can never depart the mountain gorillas without feeling a beat of connection with them.
What else can I combine with Gorilla Safari In Volcanoes National Park Rwanda?
Golden monkey trekking
The Volcanoes National Park is not only home to the famous mountain gorillas by other primates like golden monkeys are residents too. Golden monkeys are a specially monkey specie with golden brown hair at the lower bottom. These monkeys are some of the endangered primates in the world and at the moment they are living in the Virunga area only.
They are charming primates even though they are first habituated to human presence, they still posses there natural traits and keep on lookers at there toes.
Birding in Volcanoes National Park is never disappointing because even from your room, you can identify a variety of birds. Volcanoes forest lies in the Albertine rift area that is top say in the Virunga volcanos chain so chances of spotting Albertine rift endemics are high. Volcanoes National Park hosts over 200 bird species and according to ornithologists, the list is still expending
Some of the birds you may spot in Volcanoes forest include handsome Francolin, Rwenzori turaco, Archer’s Robin Chat, Shelley’ Crimsonwing to mention but a few. While on a gorilla safari in Rwanda, you can make use of this double opportunity to do birding in order to pass time as you search to find the mountain gorillas.
Hike Dian Fossey Grave
You can take a hike to the last steps of an American primatologist who dedicated her life to the survival of the mountain gorillas. Her tireless efforts to defend the mountain gorillas and there habitat is the reason why still exist. In 1980s, Dianne and her team conducted a mountain gorilla census and by them about 250 mountain gorillas were recorded to be living in the entire world.
This number placed the mountain gorillas among the highly endangered species of the world. A number of internal and international conservation bodies were brought to the concern of the mountain gorillas. There was need to collect funds to support the survival of these primates and selling gorilla trekking permits became one of the ways to achieve this.
At the moment, the population of the mountain gorillas is about 1000 in the entire Virunga area all is credited to the continuous support from those who attend gorilla safaris in Rwanda, Uganda and D.R.Congo.
By taking the hike to Dian Fossey grave you contribute to continuous mountain gorilla research as started by Primatologist Diane Fossey in 1967 when she set up the Karisoke research center. She was brutally murdered in 1985 by unknown assassins and buried amongst her friends the mountain gorillas. The funds collected from every visit to the Diane fossey grave are used to support more research about the mountain gorillas.
Mountaineering on the Volcanoes
Volcanoes National park has five of the six volcanoes that form the Virunga chain. Mountain Karisoke, mountain Karisimbi, mountain Gahinga, Mountain Sabyinyo and Mountain Muhavura. A day’s hike to the top of any of these highlands is exceptional.
You get the beautiful view of the serene surrounding with the different vegetation zones. When you hike to the top of Sabyinyo you enjoy the view of the border of Uganda, Rwanda and D.R.Congo. With a guide, you can hike to the top of any of these highlands on an 8 hour return trip.
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe national Park
You can depart Volcanoes National Park and head to Nyungwe National Park. Chimpanzee trekking is one of the main activities you can take part in. Uwinka is the main head quarter of Nyungwe National Park. The park has another chimpanzee community in Cyamudondo where you can enjoy the chimpanzee trek.