Experience the thrill of tracking the endangered Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat during Rwanda’s Short Gorilla Tours. This expedition is designed for travelers with limited time but a strong desire for a wildlife adventure. In Rwanda, Mountain Gorillas are habituated in 10 different families, each open for visits every day, with a maximum of 8 visitors per family.
This brief Gorilla tracking trip is ideal for those who are short on time but still want to witness remarkable wildlife. Whether you’re a visitor in Rwanda for a brief stay or a resident, this tour allows you to explore the beauty of nature. The adventure kicks off at 4:30 am from Kigali, Rwanda, embarking on a scenic 2-hour drive to Volcanoes National Park in Musanze province, the home of the endangered Mountain Gorillas.
Upon arrival, savor a delicious breakfast before heading to the park headquarters at Kinigi for a briefing led by the park warden. At 8:30 am, you’ll make your way to the starting point of your Gorilla trek into the jungle.
Gorilla families are allocated to guests randomly at the park headquarters. However, our experienced guides have established strong relationships with the park wardens. They communicate in advance to express the clients’ preferences for a specific Gorilla family, often receiving positive responses. The duration of the trek can vary from 1 to 8 hours depending on the movements of these gentle giants. Afterward, your driver will take you back to Kigali for either a hotel drop-off or to catch your scheduled flight home.
Trek Africa Expeditions advises travelers to allocate at least 2 days for a gorilla tracking tour starting from Kigali, Rwanda. This recommendation helps avoid traveling in the dark and mitigates other road-related risks when en route to Volcanoes National Park. Staying closer to the national park minimizes inconveniences and unforeseen circumstances before embarking on your gorilla trek.
Volcanoes National Park is situated in Musanze, a small village formerly known as Ruhengeri. It’s conveniently accessible by public transport from Gisenyi, Kigali City, or the Kigali International Airport. The journey to Volcanoes National Park typically takes 2-3 hours, making it feasible to embark on Gorilla tracking and return to Kigali on the same day. However, keep in mind that you need to arrive at the National Park headquarters in Kinigi by 7:00 am if you plan to trek Gorillas in a single day. It’s worth noting that there is no public transport directly from Musanze to the National Park headquarters at Kinigi.
Rwanda is a year-round destination for Gorilla tracking. However, the best times to travel are during the drier seasons, which run from December to early March and from June to September. December to March constitutes a long dry season, with temperatures occasionally reaching up to 29 degrees Celsius. In contrast, March to mid-May and July to September are considered rainy seasons.
While Rwanda generally experiences favorable weather throughout the year, the dry season is preferable. During this period, wildlife viewing is more common due to the minimal chance of rain during the trek, and the rainforest terrain offers excellent hiking conditions. It’s recommended to bring waterproof clothing even during these drier months, as the Equatorial climate can be unpredictable. Additionally, the dry season is a peak season, potentially resulting in higher prices for accommodation and car rentals.
Alternatively, some budget-conscious travelers prefer visiting during the wet season. This period sees lower hotel occupancy, leading to discounted food and accommodation services. Furthermore, there is lower demand for Gorilla permits, ensuring that visitors have an opportunity to see these endangered species with fewer fellow trekkers.
Begin your journey with our Trek Africa Expeditions Driver Guide picking you up from Kigali International Airport or any hotel in Kigali City. The scenic drive will take you through the Rwandan countryside, often referred to as the “Land of a Thousand Hills.” Depending on your arrival time, you may visit the Genocide Memorial Center before heading to Volcanoes National Park for dinner and an overnight stay.
Drive Time: 2-3 hours
Start your day with breakfast and a packed lunch. You’ll then proceed to the National Park offices for a briefing on the dos and don’ts of Gorilla tracking. Afterward, you’ll be transferred to the starting point of your Gorilla trek. Please note that Gorilla family allocation depends on your preferences, fitness, and age, although there is no guarantee as Gorillas move within the forest.
Inform your guide of your interests, and they will try to request the Gorilla family of your choice before you begin the trek. Gorilla tracking can be physically demanding, so a certain level of fitness is required. The trek can take anywhere from 30 minutes to three-quarters of the day, so be prepared. Your guide will provide information about trees, bird species, and other wildlife in the forest until you reach a Gorilla family.
You’ll have just one hour to photograph and observe the Mountain Gorillas in their daily activities before trekking back to the National Park offices to collect your certificates. Afterward, you’ll drive back to Kigali for an overnight stay in Kigali or to catch your international departure flight. Ensure your flight departure from Kigali International Airport is late if you plan to fly back after your two-day Rwanda Gorilla safari in Volcanoes National Park.
Drive Time: 2-3 hours
Trek Africa Expeditions remains the premier tour operator in Uganda and Rwanda. We offer Rwanda short Gorilla tours to Volcanoes National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.