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Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda-Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park is located on the North-western region of Rwanda in a small town called Musanze initially known as Ruhengeri. This park is evidently the oldest National park in the whole of African continent and shelters the endangered Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda that are always presented to tourists who would love to carry out gorilla trekking in Rwanda. Volcanoes National Park borders Virunga National Park in DRC and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in south-western Uganda. Apart from its vast population of Mountain Gorillas, this park also shelters the endangered Golden Monkeys, a primate species that evidently presents the finest distinct tourism action within the national park at the moment. Volcanoes National Park also covers five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains which include Mount Karisimbi, Mount Bisoke, Mount Muhabura, Mount Gahinga and Mount Sabyinyo, with an area coverage of over 160 km 2 of rain forest and bamboo. Many years ago, this same park acted as a ground for American zoologist Dian Fossey – A lady who turned out to be so passionate about Gorilla protection that her works still live on till today. The main lure of the park are the endangered mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), various mammals inclusive that also dwells in its plains and they include golden monkeys, buffaloes, black-fronted duiker, hyenas then bush bucks. A few reports also assert that a small total of elephants can be found at the park but on very unusual occasions. The bird life length at 178 species (12 of the main species and 15 of the subspecies) being pervasive/rampant to the Virunga conservation area and the great Rwenzori Mountains. Various activities are run by the Rwanda Development Board for travelers/trekkers with the key activity being gorilla trekking. Numerous activities however involve Golden Monkey tracking, twin lakes visit, mountaineering, visiting Dian Fossey’s tomb, touring Iby’Iwacu cultural village plus a few community trips.
Gorilla trekking Tours
Volcanoes National Park is a very famous Rwanda tour place because of Mountain gorilla trekking excursions. Mountain gorilla trekking is probably the finest wilderness venture motion on the African continent that gets trekkers more personal than ever to wildlife. Mountain gorilla trekking tours into Rwanda are daring, exhilarating, pleasurable and educative.
This park is a significant Birding destination in Rwanda with some exclusive bird species that are a lot harder to sight/view elsewhere. It is a famous Rwanda birding tour area with unusual Albertine rift widespread species. Teams of birding fanatics set out early morning, meander into the rain forest in hunt of priority forests birds hidden in the canopy or forest floors. Quite often, they get a chance to view their favourite bird species.
Golden Monkey Tracking
Golden monkey is another primate species residing in the larger Virunga volcano region and Volcanoes National Park for Rwanda specifically. Study and research into the lifestyle of Golden Monkey are not as noticeable as the gentle giants, but in reality, the two wildlife species are equally exposed. Golden monkey tracking ventures set out early morning at Kinigi tourism headquarters and navigate the valleys and wetland vegetation in seek of feeding places, thick bamboo forest. Bamboo shoot is Golden monkeys’ chief diet and unusually go beyond bamboo areas. The Golden monkeys are lovely, appealing, very lively and very amusing to track.
The entire Virunga volcano region is lovely with steep mountains reaching the skies. Lush, mist covered rain forests surround their berries. Trekkers on tour into Rwanda gets induced to drown in the greenery and venture what lies beneath.
Gorilla Tracking Permits in Rwanda
Rwanda Gorilla tours cost $1500 per person for Non- Nationals with effect from 1st June 2012.Since Rwanda Has been re-positioning its self as an upmarket tourist place, all Gorilla permits are $1500 each throughout the year regardless of whether you are an international tourist, expert or East African residents. Increase in rates doesn’t affect tourists at all who had already purchased their tickets at the time of the announcement. Note carefully Rwanda doesn’t offer any Gorilla permit discounts
Gorilla trekking Dos and Don’ts in the Volcanoes National Park
- A maximum of 8 tourists are allowed to visit a group of habituated mountain Gorillas in a just a day, this is to minimize the risk of these animals being exposed to human borne diseases and also avoid behavioral disturbances.
- Do always wash your hands before you head out to your tour to the Gorillas.
- Always keep your voices very low in order to be able to watch well the great bird life and the other wildlife in the forest.
- Carry back every sort of rubbish you have come with, it’s not advisable and allowed to throw rubbish in the park.
- You will be taken through to the place where the guides observed the Mountain Gorillas from, flow the same trail to find them and look out for the Gorilla ‘s nesting sites along the way.
- About to approach the Gorillas the guides will alert you to get or be ready.
- Keep a distance of 7m(21 feet) away from the Gorillas always, the further back you are the more the group will be relaxed.
- Always stay together in the group whenever you are near or close to the Gorillas.
- It’s okay to ask the guides questions but always keep your voices very low when near the Gorillas.
What to pack for a gorilla tour in Volcanoes
To guarantee a fruitful and pleasurable gorilla safari to Volcanoes National park, a bolt must have a fully prepared packing list. Among your list of items, you should pack hiking boots for easy movements, garden gloves for protecting your hands during your gorilla trekking venture, a rain jacket to deal with the uncertain forest rains and sun glasses/hut to protect you from direct sunshine. A long sleeved shirt or blouse together with a pair of jean trousers which prevent insects like the safari ants from entering you and disrupt your gorilla trekking encounter. Energy giving snacks and enough drinking water are also crucial as per your packing to boost you during the tiring gorilla trekking excursion. A pair of binoculars will also help you to spot some of the far species like birds, monkeys, chimps and other primates. Eventually you may need to pay a porter to give you a push or a pull during your gorilla trekking activity as the gorillas may be far.
How to access Volcanoes National Park?
Volcanoes National Park is situated northeast of Rwanda near the border with Uganda in the north and DRC in the west. The park is approximately 2 hrs drive on smooth road from Kigali that presents amazing encounters of Rwanda countryside. The closest big town, Musanze 20-minutes’ drive close for trekkers on safari of Rwanda who are comfortable urban life. Cyanika international border post with Uganda is 30-minutes’ drive by road and an easy way to extend tours between the two countries. Akagera Aviation presents faster helicopter hired/ charter flights to Kinigi.
Where to stay
Volcanoes National Park is Rwanda tour top travel place with a wide range of places where to stay. The various formations give deluxe/ luxury, upmarket, mid-range to basic basing on services, rates and trekkers budget. Most formations are a few minutes’ drive to the park, easily reachable and safe. Like Virunga lodge. Gorilla volcanoes lodge. Da vinci Gorilla Lodge. Mountain gorilla view lodge. Le palme hotel.