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Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda are found in Parc National des Volcans located in Virunga and joined with Mgahinga National Park & Virunga National park. They are world’s most endangered ape and found in small portions of protected Afro –Montane forests in Northwest Rwanda. Parc National des Volcans(PNV) consists of  125 sq km of mountain forest and a home to six Virunga Volcanoes & world famous mountain Gorillas. Due to the nature of the Vegetation and Terrain, the proximity to the Airport, Rwanda Gorilla trekking has become a common activity in this country. The volcanic slopes here are lush with Tropical forests and diverse mammals, birds, Reptile species. Gorillas or these troops are organized according to fascinating social structures, led by one dominant, older adult, male called Silverback Gorilla (it’s up to 3 times the size of an average man but very peaceful and tolerant of human visitors). It organises activities like eating, nesting in leaves and moving about groups 0.75-16 sq miles (2-40 sq km) home range. Parc National des Volcans is managed and protected by the Rwandan Office for Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN).

In the town of Musanze marks the base to the entrance of the park and here has been the base point for Gorilla visits, it also has a back drop of mountains like Karisimbi, Bisoke, Mikeno, Sabinyo, Mgahinga and Muhabura.From Kigali the capital city of Rwanda one can drive to Musanze town in just 90 mins by either a public minibus taxi or private vehicle. In case one is to make a Gorilla visit, organise your own transport from Musanze town to the boundaries of the park where you will trail on foot. And from Gisenyi and lake kivu is a 45 min drive from Musanze town.

How many mountain Gorillas leaving in Rwanda?

There is approximately 700 mountain Gorillas that do exist on Earth and the majority is said to be leaving in Virunga mountains that straddle Rwanda, DRC and the smallest number in Uganda (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park). In Virunga complex or National park there is approximately a number of 480 mountain Gorillas. They reside on the altitude range of 2,300-4,500 m in the southern area of this National park, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and as well as the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda of course even some in Uganda (Mgahinga National Park).

Gorilla Tracking Permit in Rwanda

Rwanda Gorilla visits 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 destination, all Gorilla permits are $1500 each throughout the year regardless of whether you are an international tourist, expert or East African residents. Increase in prices 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

When can you see Gorillas in Rwanda?

The best time to visit Rwanda for a gorilla trek is during the short dry season from mid-December to early February or over the long dry season months of June to September, much as its regarded as a year-round activity.

Rules and Regulations of Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda

Before departing on your Gorilla Tracking,

  • 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.

On your way to visit 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.

When with the Mountain Gorillas

  • 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.
  • Do not touch the Mountain Gorillas because they are wild animals.
  • Do not smoke or eat or drink anything when near the Gorillas, this is prohibited because when done it can increase the risk of transmission of diseases due to the droppings or droplets of these drinks or food
  • Do not look directly in the eyes of the Gorillas because they sometimes charge and that increases a lot of risk, leave the animals to pass, don’t also flash photographs it’s not allowed but instead move away slowly and carefully.
  • The maximum time or period to spend with these animals is strictly 1 hr, however if these animals become agitated and nervous the guide will definitely finish the visit early.
  • Still after the visit or tour please keep your voices very low until 200 m away from the Mountain Gorillas.

General Health Rules

  • Always respect the limits imposed on the number of tourists going in to see the Mountain Gorillas each day in order to minimize the risk of disease transmission and stress of the group.
  • If you are feeling ill, or carrying a contagious disease please volunteer to stay, another visit will be organized for you or if not your money will even be refunded back to you.
  • If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the gorillas, please turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order to minimize the spread of bacteria or viruses.
  • Do not leave any rubbish in the park because this can harbor diseases or other contamination. If you need to go to the toilet tell the guide, they /he will dig a hole of about 30 cm deep use that and fill it in when you are done using.
  • Stay 7m(21 feet) away from the Gorillas in order to protect them from catching human diseases.

What has got to be carried for your Gorilla Tour in Rwanda

  1. Do always wear comfortable hiking shoes (waterproof/rubber form like gum boots) suitable for steep muddy slopes.
  2. Put on ear plugs for those who feel uncomfortable/scared with the jungle different and continuous sounds.
  3. Carry a packed light lunch and a lot drinking water because you will need it as you tire on the Gorilla trek.
  4. Carry rain gear, sunscreen lotion for the sun just in case, a hat (as the weather is unpredictable), insect repellent, a Camera for taking photos (using flashlight is not acceptable that why you are told to use films of 400-800 ASA
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