An Unforgettable Journey
Embark on an extraordinary journey with Trek Africa Expeditions, one of the premier safari companies renowned for orchestrating gorilla tracking tours in Rwanda. The opportunity to observe gorillas in their natural habitat is nothing short of remarkable, an experience often described as life-changing. These encounters with gorillas, as they navigate their daily routines, are meticulously managed. Expert trackers and guides lead intimate groups of travelers up the bamboo-clad slopes, granting them a precious and awe-inspiring hour within arm’s reach of these gentle giants.
Gorillas, the largest living primates, are scattered across vast stretches of the equatorial African rainforest. In a broader classification, gorilla species can be categorized into lowland gorillas and mountain gorillas. The volcanic expanse spanning Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the cherished home of the critically endangered mountain gorilla. Tracking these magnificent creatures in Rwanda is not only safe but also relatively accessible.
As of the latest count, approximately 1,000 mountain gorillas exist in the wild, with 604 of them residing in the Virunga Massif. This population is slowly but surely increasing, thanks to collaborative efforts involving governments, local communities, and NGOs.
Within the lush embrace of Volcanoes National Park, twelve gorilla families thrive, fully habituated to human presence, with a few others habituated exclusively for scientific research. Each of these families consists of at least one dominant silverback accompanied by several females and their offspring.
While the composition of these groups, or troops, may change over time, they generally prefer specific territories. Park rangers meticulously monitor and protect these gorilla troops, ensuring that they interact with tourists for a strict maximum duration of one hour per day.
To preserve the intimacy of these encounters, a mere eight tracking permits are issued per troop per day. With only 96 permits available each day in Rwanda, advance booking is highly recommended to secure your place.
The adventure begins at 7 a.m. as visitors gather at the Volcanoes National Park headquarters in Kinigi. On the day of tracking, tourists are assigned to family groups based on their fitness levels. Additionally, they receive a briefing on the protocols and regulations governing gorilla visits.
The Volcanoes National Park is home to the following gorilla families: Susa, Igisha, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Amahoro, Agashya, Kwitonda, Umubano, Hirwa, Bwenge, Ugyenda, and Muhoza.
Treks to their respective locations can range from 30 minutes to four hours or more, with altitudes reaching between 2,500 meters and 4,000 meters. Porters are available to assist in carrying backpacks and cameras, ensuring a smoother journey along the route.
Remarkably, 10% of the revenue generated from these permits is channeled into supporting local communities. These funds are directed toward building schools, healthcare facilities, roads, and a compensation fund for farmers in the event that gorillas damage their crops, fostering peaceful coexistence.
Moreover, gorilla tracking provides employment opportunities for countless locals, encompassing roles from rangers and trackers to porters, drivers, and staff at tourist lodges.
For those intrigued by the legacy of Dian Fossey, her final resting place is a 30-minute drive from the park headquarters, followed by a two- to three-hour hike through the forest to an elevation exceeding 3,000 meters.
The annual Kwita Izina gorilla-naming ceremony is a special occasion to visit Volcanoes National Park. Guided tours leading up to the main event offer an opportunity to engage with park personnel and conservationists. The celebration includes cultural evenings and festivities in Musanze. During the naming ceremony itself, revel in music, dance, and discussions about Rwanda’s remarkable strides in gorilla conservation, along with the formidable challenges that persist.
Contact Trek Africa Expeditions today to embark on an unforgettable Rwanda gorilla tracking safari and tour, extending to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.