When it comes to gorilla trekking, Virunga National Park in Congo offers a much more affordable option compared to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The difference in price is mainly due to the policy differences between these two countries. While Congo is working to promote its gorilla tourism and attract more travelers after a long period of insecurity in the region, Rwanda is positioning itself as a luxury destination for gorilla trekking in Africa, with high-end lodges and a higher gorilla permit price.
Despite the differences in policy, the experience and the time spent with gorillas remains the same in both countries. Whether you choose to trek in Rwanda or Congo, encountering these majestic creatures in their natural habitat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should not be missed.
Gorilla trekking is a unique and life-changing experience that comes at a cost. In Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda, foreign non-residents are required to pay $1500 per person per trek for a chance to spend one hour with mountain gorillas. However, foreign residents pay $500 per person, and East African citizens pay $200. Volcanoes National Park has 12 gorilla families, meaning 96 gorilla permits are available each day.
Booking gorilla permits in Volcanoes National Park can be done directly through the Rwanda Development Board or through Trek Africa Expeditions, a trusted tour operator in Rwanda.
On the other hand, Virunga National Park in Congo offers a more affordable gorilla trekking permit price of $400 per person per trek during the high season months of mid-December to mid-March, then June to October. During the low season months of mid-March to mid-May and mid-October to mid-December, the permit cost is reduced to $200. In Kahuzi Beiga National Park, the permit costs $400 for foreign non-residents, $200 for East African residents, and $20 for national residents.
To book gorilla permits in Congo, one can do so directly through Virunga National Park or through Trek Africa Expeditions, a trusted tour operator in Congo.
When it comes to the minimum age limit for gorilla trekking, Volcanoes National Park sets it at 15 years old, while Virunga National Park in Congo requires trekkers to be at least 18 years old. On the other hand, the maximum age limit for both parks depends on the individual’s fitness level, with some elderly individuals being able to trek. For those who feel physically unfit, Volcanoes National Park offers sedan chair carriers which can be hired in advance or on the day of the trek for a fee of 400-500 dollars. These chairs are carried by porters who will assist the elderly trekkers in and out of the forest, making it possible for them to experience the magic of gorilla trekking.
Booking gorilla trekking permits in Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National Park in Congo is a straightforward process that can be easily done through Trek Africa Expeditions. To secure a spot for your desired trek date, you need to purchase a gorilla permit in advance depending on availability. Gorilla trekking is done in groups of eight visitors accompanied by park guides, rangers, and porters. With Trek Africa Expeditions, you simply need to provide your preferred trek date, and we will check the availability of permits online and tentatively reserve your permit. We will then send you a permit payment invoice, and once payment is made, we will secure your permit and send you scanned copies of receipts from the park authorities.
It’s also possible to choose a special date like a birthday, anniversary, or holiday to make your gorilla trek even more memorable. However, it’s important to plan and book the permit well in advance to avoid disappointment. With Trek Africa Expeditions, we make the permit booking process stress-free, ensuring that you have an unforgettable gorilla trekking experience.
When planning for a gorilla trekking expedition, packing the right items can make all the difference. Whether you’re heading to Volcanoes National Park or Virunga National Park in Congo, the items you need to pack are generally the same. One essential item to bring along is a comfortable pair of walking shoes or boots that are hard-wearing and waterproof, as the conditions can be muddy and slippery in the forest.
You should also pack a long-sleeved cotton shirt and lightweight long trousers to protect yourself from the undergrowth, stinging nettles, and biting ants. In addition to these, here is a list of suggested items to pack for gorilla trekking: Insect repellent, Torch/Flashlight – and spare batteries, Wet wipes, Water bottle, Camera, lenses, etc. • Comfortable walking/hiking boots and socks, Gardening gloves for gorilla tracking, Sandals/flip-flops/walking shoes, Hat and sunscreen, Rain jacket, Sweater/fleece, Swimwear, Binoculars (for game/bird watching)
By packing these essential items, you’ll be well-prepared for a memorable gorilla trekking experience in either Volcanoes National Park or Virunga National Park.
Gorilla trekking is possible all year round in both Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National Park in Congo. However, it is important to note that both parks are located within the tropics and can receive rain at any time. The ideal months to track gorillas are June to August and December to February since these are the driest months with less rainfall, and the forest trails are less slippery.
If you plan to visit during the months of March to May and November, you should expect more rainfall, but you may also get discounts on accommodation in some lodges. It is important to pack for rain and prepare for slippery trails if you plan to visit during these months. No matter when you choose to visit, gorilla trekking in either park is an incredible experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.