Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Safari Tour
Gorilla trekking safaris in Rwanda/ Mountain Gorilla seeing treks are conducted in the famous Volcanoes National Park located in the Virunga Mountains covering the parts of the neighbouring countries of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo with a minimum mountain gorilla population of 480. This is more than a half of their world population with the rest (400) thriving in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Gorilla Trekking can be conducted throughout the year though the rainy season months of April, May and November present a challenging trek in the gorilla highlands. The drier months of December to February and from June to Mid September present dry surface and thus less challenging for trekking making it the best time to undertake Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Tour. However, at the raised landscape of like 2000m altitude and more, it can rain at any time of the year.
Permits for Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Safari Tour
Basically, booking the gorilla permits for the high season months would be quite challenging at a short notice and therefore an advance booking is required in order to avoid missing out and allow for adequate preparation. Rwanda has eighty (80) gorilla permits available every day which are solely sold by the Rwanda Development Board but can as well be booked through the travel agents. Each permit costs $750 and though seems high, it truly gives the Rwandan government a reason to conserve gorillas and also allocate a 24 hour armed guard for every gorilla group.
How much Fitness is required for a gorilla trekking safari tour in Rwanda?
There is no kind of super fitness that is really required to track Mountain gorillas in Rwanda but a general fitness level would of help as it enhances the experience. The walk to the gorillas is always at a slow pace and the breaks if needed can always be made. It can be noted that the gorilla family allocated and the time of the year that you are travelling can determine the degree of the trek. In the rainy periods, the Mountain gorillas dwell in the lower layers of the Volcano thus easy to approach than in the dry months when they are at a relatively higher altitude. The distant gorilla groups would see you trek the steep slopes and slope down the same surfaces.
The Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda contain 98% DNA similar to humans and therefore there is a high possibility to acquire human infections most especially the respiratory ones.
The eight (8) people are allowed to track one gorilla family per day and these people are allowed to be with the gorillas for one hour. This is done to minimise Mountain gorilla disturbance and stress.
Any person with a contagious infection like flue is requested not to go tracking and an alternative trek is often offered another day. During the moment with the gorillas, the 7m distance has to be maintained and in the event of gorilla approaching, you are supposed to step back to avoid contact.
The voices have to be kept very low, unnecessary movements avoided and desist from drinking or eating while with the gorillas on the Rwanda gorilla trekking Safari Tour.
Photography on Gorilla Safari in Rwanda
Photographing Mountain Gorillas is one of the exciting moments that you can have in the gorilla forest. Flash photography is not allowed. The challenge is that the deep layers of the forest can be dark thus providing not enough light for the camera. Additionally, you require a good camera cover to protect it from rain.
Rwanda Gorilla Safari Trekking wear
The sturdy shoes would help you traverse the steep and slippery surfaces while the gardening gloves would shelter the hands from the bush thorns. The long trousers are recommended to protect the legs against the vegetation scratches. The waterproof jacket for rain moments, walking stick for extra support during challenging treks and lunch box along with sufficient water to keep you energised during the trek. In case you have a heavy baggage, there are porters at the trail heads who can assist with the bag or heavy camera equipment.
Susa: This is the largest group with 38 members featuring two (2) sets of twins and presents a challenging trek to the mountains.
Sabinyo: This has 16 members and it is the most easily accessible family led by the powerful Guhonda Silverback.
Agashya: This was initially known as Group 13 and this has now increased to 22 members.
Amahoro: This Rwanda Gorilla Safari family has 19 members led by the Ubumwe Silverback one the five (5) Silverbacks. The group presents a relatively steep climb.
Umubano: This has thirteen (13) members and is noted to have broken off from Amahoro gorilla family led by Charles – the Silverback.
Hirwa: This has eighteen (18) members gathered from Group 13 and the Sabinyo groups. It has 5 year old twins. The silverback is called Muyinda.
Kwitonda: This features 22 members led by the Silverback Akerevuro and it was initially habituated in the Democratic Democrat Republic of Congo presenting moderately difficult trek.
Titus: The gorilla family features fourteen (14) members including 3 Silverbacks and the dominant Silverback is called Turakora and tends to dwell on Mount Bisoke slopes.
Kuryama: This has fourteen (14) members with two (2) Silverbacks. The main Silverback is called Kirahure.
Ugenda: This is a small gorilla family with six (6) members and its name literally translates as being on the move led by the Silverback Ugenda.