GORILLA TREKKING IN RWANDA
Rwanda the “land of hills” is one of the smallest country in Africa, bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and Congo. It lies in the African Great Lakes region, soaked in glamorous mountains in the west and savanna to the east and a number of lakes. Rwanda experiences temperate -sub tropical, with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons each year.
Rwanda is historically famous for the 1994 genocide which left 800,000 people dead and others displaced. It was a tribal war between the Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda. The remains and stories about this event can be seen/heard at the Nyamata genocide memorial site, kigali Genocide memorial.
Despite the earlier interruption during the genocide, Rwanda managed to develop its tourism sector as the best known top luxury tourism destination for the Mountain Gorilla safaris in Africa.
Rwanda’s Mountain Gorillas are found in the Volcanoes National park .
Other countries where gorilla trekking takes place are; Uganda in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. DRC in Virunga National Park.
Volcanoes National park.
The elusive Volcanoes National Park was the first national park to be created in Rwanda and Africa at large in 1916. Endowed with a diversity of flora and fauna. It was recognized as a United Nations, Educational,Scientific Cultural organisation site in 1987 because it is a home to the 2 endangered primates;the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. It covers an area of 550 s q km surrounded by two active volcanoes, MAUNA and KILAUEA .
Volcanoes National park is situated in the western park of Rwanda covering an area of 160 s q km under the management of The Rwanda development board
The park is also part of the great Virunga Conservation Area, which comprises of other 2 parks Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda and Virunga National Park in DRC.
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes is a fun filled and exciting experience, you will have a chance to see the gorillas in their natural habitat. Observe their ways of life, behaviors, characters and relationships. It is a guided activity by trained and professional ranger guides who are always at your disposal in case of any questions as they take you through the forest.
When planning a gorilla trekking safari in Volcanoes National Park you need to book a gorilla permit at least 2 months before the trekking date. This is because the permits are competitive. A permit was doubled from 750 to 1500 per person in 2018 in order to improve on service delivery in the tourism industry and construct roads which lead to the tourism destinations. It charges highly compared to Uganda whose permit costs $700 for non-foreign resident, $600 for foreign resident and UGX 250,000 for EAC as of 1st July,2020. Congo charges $400 per person offers the cheapest permit.
Person above 15 years are the only ones allowed to trek the gorillas. The activity starts early in the morning at 8:00 am with a briefing about the do’s and don’ts during the trek. Strictly 8 people are allocated to visit a particular gorilla family and spend not more than 1 hour with them.
Gorilla families in Volcanoes National park.
Volcanoes National park has 10 habituated gorilla families which are so interesting to see these include;
Susa family (33 members, 2 silverbacks), Sabyinyo family(13 members,2 silverbacks), Amahoro family(18 members,,2 silverbacks),
Agashya family (13 members), Umubano family(13 members), Kwitonda family(23 members,4 silverbacks)
Hirwe family(16 members ,1 silverback),Karisimbi(16members ,1 silverback),
Ugenda family ( 11 members,1 silverback).
Besides the gorillas, other primates primates like monkeys, chimpanzees, and other mammals plus a variety of bird species can be found in Rwanda’s national parks.
Its 2 hrs and 27 mins to travel to the volcanoes national park from Kigali International Airport.
Using road transport, it takes 6-7 hours to travel from Uganda to Rwanda.
By air, the flight is approximately 45 minutes from Entebbe International Airport to Kigali International Airport.
Some of the accommodations in volcanoes national
- Five Boutique hotel
- Mountain gorilla nest lodge
- Sabyinyo silverback lodge
- Da Vinci gorilla lodge
- Gorilla solution lodge.
Other tourists activities done in Rwanda include;
- Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe national park
- Canopy walk in Nyungwe National Park
- Hiking Rwanda’s volacoes; Bisoke, Karisimbi and sabyinyo
- Kayaking Lake Kivu Camping on Lake Burera.
- Game drives in Akagera National Park
- Cultural tours that include Visiting the memorial sites and the Kin Palace