Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris takes place in Volcanoes national park. The park is the setting for the famous ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ a movie about Dian Fossey’s work in conservation of gorillas. Rwanda is one of three African countries where mountain gorillas can be found. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is something everyone should undertake at least once in their lives.
Rwanda has 12 gorilla families available for gorilla trekking. Gorilla trekking starts with a briefing from the ranger guides at the park headquarters where you join all the people looking to do a gorilla trek. After this experience you are allocated a gorilla family to trek and a ranger guide to lead you.
Some of the families are near the briefing area and other groups require driving to the trail head from where you enter the park. Regardless of the gorilla group allocated to you, you will all be able to sight the gorillas which are often found feeding and the little ones playing.
Volcanoes National Park is Rwanda’s most popular park and it has a lot to offer in terms of sights and activities. You can combine gorilla trekking with a few other activities for diversity and excitement. Visitors to the Volcanoes National Park can also undertake golden monkey trekking, volcano climbing, and hiking, Rwanda birding safaris, nature walks, cave explorations, among many others.
Mountain gorillas live at high altitude and this may cause difficulties in hiking up for some visitors. You should pace yourself, walk slowly, drink plenty of water and prepare adequately for this experience.
After an early morning breakfast, the driver guide will transfer you to the briefing area at the headquarters of Volcanoes national park. The ranger guide will share tips of on your time in the park and encountering mountain gorillas.
In the meantime, you will enjoy traditional Rwandan dancers and pure Rwandan coffee as you wait to start your trek. After the briefing you are distributed in different gorilla groups to start the trek. Gorilla trekking requires that you be relatively fit to enjoy hiking in the Volcanoes.
If the family of gorillas you visit is nearby and you are able to finish this activity in the morning, there is an option of visiting the gorilla guardians’ village to learn more about the Rwandan culture and the people who co-existed with the gorillas for centuries.
You will still enjoy another activity in the same park. Transfer again to the briefing area but this time for golden monkey trekking. Golden monkeys are primates that reside in the Virunga regions of Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The golden monkeys are generally more active than the gorillas. This requires that for great photos you will continuously follow them as they forage for food especially the delicious bamboo shoots. Sometimes they are seen getting into the surrounding gardens for potatoes.
However, to note is that they are generally not located too far so the trek to their habitat is much more manageable than some of the gorilla families. You will receive a briefing at the park headquarters before you start your golden monkey trek just like the previous day.
You can carry packed lunch but usually the trek lasts a few minutes and you are able to return to the lodge for lunch. After lunch the driver guide will transfer you to Kigali to return to your hotel or take your flight home.