Rwanda Gorilla Safari

Rwanda Gorilla Safari – 2 Days

Overview | Highlights | Detailed Itinerary | Includes | Request Quote

 

Overview

This is a short safari for those interested in only trekking the endangered Mountain Gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

This 2 day Rwanda Gorilla Safaris designed to suit the time constrained travellers who limit themselves to visiting only the Volcanoes National Park to track the Mountain Gorillas and depart.

Safari Highlights

  • The thrill of trekking Mountain Gorillas in the challenging forest terrain and the humbling experience of coming face to face with them as they feed, play, rest and bond with their young
  • Viewing the awesome scenic features of the volcanic landscapes

Activity Schedule

Day 1: Arrival in Rwanda and transfer to Volcanoes National Park
Day 2: Gorilla trekking & transfer back to Kigali


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Safari Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Rwanda and transfer to Volcanoes National Park

You will be met at the Airport by your private Rwanda Gorilla Safari guide who will transfer you to the Hotel booked for you in Ruhengeri near the Volcanoes National Park. You will have lunch and in the afternoon be taken for a scenic drive in the park for 2 – 3 hours to view the splendid volcanic mountain landscapes after which you will be return to your Hotel for Dinner and overnight.


Day 2: Gorilla tracking in the Volcanoes National Park

This is the Rwanda Gorilla Safari main day: we will have an early breakfast after which be driven to the Park headquarters for a briefing at 8:30am on the rules to be observed during Gorilla trekking. You will be allocated a Gorilla family to track and guides to lead you to the Gorillas. The tracking will be a 2-5 hour exercise after which you drive back to the airport for your departure flight.

mountain gorilla populationCredit: Gorillafund.org

The Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Experience

If there is a Rwanda safari that brings you any closer, on foot, to wild beasts that share 98% of our DNA, don’t look any further. Let us show you how it feels to be close to these magnificent creatures.

One second you are bushwhacking through thickets of bamboo in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, pulling yourself up a steep lava slope, toehold to toehold. The next, you turn a corner and sunlight streams through the canopy to illuminate a matted clump of black against a curtain of rain forest green. You’ve known this was coming and still you gasp. Seated perhaps 30 feet away is one of the roughly 900 mountain gorillas remaining on earth, a saggy-breasted female, and soon you see that she is cradling an infant in her lap. She wraps one arm around the 6-month-old while scratching her own ear with an extended index finger.

She is the advanced sentry for the Hirwa family, a clan of 20, and to the extent that she seems to care at all about our arrival, her attitude smacks of “What took you so long?” We freeze, then tiptoe forward to give all eight trekkers in our group a clear sightline. Cameras are unholstered faster than six-shooters at a gunfight.

Soon two siblings tumble out of the brush, abruptly disrupting the maternal one-on-one time. As the imps wrestle and roll, the mother flops on her back in surrender.

Any anthropomorphism must be forgiven; it is impossible not to be struck by the humanoid nature of these neighbors on the evolutionary chain. While observing so much of African wildlife — warthogs, elephants, giraffes — one marvels at their prehistoric form and questions our placement in the same biological class. With the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, which share 98 percent of our DNA, we look into a mirror, and they are looking impassively back.


Requirements for the Rwanda Gorilla Safari

  • A Visa for Rwanda which you can get at the airport
  • Gorilla trekking permit paid for in advance
  • Travel & Health insurance arranged by you in your home country before you travel.
  • Yellow fever vaccination (certificate for proof)
  • Physical fitness

The Safari package includes:

  • Accommodation as per the itinerary
  • 4WD safari vehicle
  • Bottled drinking water
  • Gorilla trekking permit
  • Services of an English speaking driver/guide.
  • Return airport transfers.

 

The Safari package excludes expenses of a personal nature such as:

  • Other drinks apart from bottled water
  • Laundry
  • Tips to local guides
  • Telephone expenses
  • Porter fees while trekking Gorillas
  • Personal insurance
  • Cigarettes
  • Items of personal nature such as tips, drinks, and laundry

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What to Expect on a Rwanda Gorilla Safari

For a great gorilla trekking experience you need to be fairly fit, equipped for the humid, muddy conditions of a rainforest hike, and in good health – gorillas are susceptible to human illnesses but don’t have our immunity, which means a common cold can be deadly to a whole family of gorillas and you won’t be permitted to trek if you are unwell. Even in the dry season, the rainforest is a challenging environment: it’s humid, wet and muddy with some steep slopes, plenty of insects and thick vegetation. It is absolutely worth the effort to spend time with gorillas in the wild, but be prepared to exert yourself on the trek.

Your professional gorilla guide and tracker leads you into the forest’s secret paths, looking for a habituated gorilla family. Once found, you’ll approach the gorillas quietly and settle down to observe them from between 7 and 10m (22 to 32 ft) away. You’ll spend between 40 minutes and an hour with the gorillas, watching the adults forage and groom each other while the babies tumble and play. You’ll be under the watchful gaze of the great silverback patriarch, whose soft brown eyes constantly sweep over his family protectively. Witnessing gorillas express typically human gestures and emotions is a truly profound experience and one of the reasons that gorilla trekking is such a life changing encounter.

You’ll be asked to leave any personal items or bottled water you’re carrying with your porters and approach the gorillas with only your camera. You are not allowed to use a flash and it’s best to use a camera that doesn’t make loud clicks, whirring or other mechanical noises.

Quick links to gorilla trekking tips

When To Go – Best time to go on a Gorilla Safari in Rwanda

Although a Rwanda Gorilla Safari can be conducted all year round in the Virunga Mountains, due to the somewhat damp seasons experienced by Volcanoes National Park jungle in which these gorillas stay, the majority of tourists prefer visiting in the dry seasons where traversing the jungles is somewhat doable – and that is the months of June to September as well as from December up to February. You can visit at any time of the year, the low season calls for cheaper gorilla permit price.

Temperature & Weather

Up the mountain Forest could be very cold especially in the morning & night. The annual mean temperatures range is 7°C to 20°C with the coldest months being June & July. Hence warm clothing are required, plus wet weather gear because Virunga receives up to 2390mm of rain every year. This is centered on during 2 wet seasons, short rains in March- May & heavy rainfall in the months of September-November. In Virunga, rain often falls as long hours of soft drizzle, instead of short tropical deluge. Our Tour Experts will help you prepare depending on the season.

Getting There

Volcanoes National Park is located in north-western corner of Rwanda approximately 3 hours drive from the Kigali International airport.

The gorilla permit

The gorilla permit is the second most important document next to your Visa and passport. The Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500, a hefty sum but very much worth it. You should know that some of this money is used to take care of these creatures, help them repopulate and protect them from the rampant poaching.

Acquiring a gorilla permit can be strenuous especially in peak season. We would recommend buying them months in advance to avoid the long cues. The permit per  person in most cases is included in the package price, so you’ll not need to hustle acquiring the document.

Once you have the gorilla permit and you’re guided into the jungle, prepare your emotions because seeing the mountain gorillas is guaranteed.

What To Wear on the Gorilla Safari.

Rwanda Gorilla Safari gear guide: Good quality walking boots if trying any hikes or even climbs, warm layers of cloth for the cold evenings and clothing for wet weather remember it becomes cold and wet at this high altitude.

However during the day, the sun is strong even when cloudy therefore always remember to carry and wear sunscreen as well as a sun hat. In addition, you may have to carry along waterproof bags to safeguard cameras plus additional equipment for the hike. Water plus snacks are additional recommended items plus a packed lunch for people doing full-day expeditions.

What else after the gorilla safari?

While in Rwanda, besides visiting the mountain gorillas, you can take a game drive safari across the boarder into Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo National Park or within Rwanda you can visit Kigali City, Akagera National Park and several other Rwanda attractions worth checking out. Most tourists on African trip combine Tanzania safari adventures with gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda in addition to a safari in Kenya or Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking in Tanzania.

Let’s get you started on this trip, right? Request for a quote.

Quick Safari Details

Number of people: Tailored

Leaves When: Any Day

Start/End: Kigali, Rwanda

Activities: Road Drive, Gorilla Trekking, Jungle Trek, Bird Watching

Destinations: Kigali, Volcanoes National Park

Price: Request a Quote

Best time to go: June to September and December up to February.

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