Where to find Mountain gorillas
Gorillas are well known to be existent in only three African countries of the world and Rwanda takes pride in being one of the homes to these rare species of the wild. Rwanda gorilla trekking safari is a top tourist activity in the country and had a total of about 1.3 million tourists in 2017.
In Rwanda, the mountain gorillas reside within the Virunga massif within Volcanoes national park (Parc National des Volcans) adjacent to the Virunga national park in Congo and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda.
In Rwanda currently, there are ten (10) habituated gorilla families available for sighting by tourists on Rwanda gorilla safaris.
Rwanda gorilla trekking safari rules
There a number of rules set for tourists to follow during their gorilla trekking safari for the well-being of the gorillas and the tourists too, here is a detailed explanation to read before going for the actual safari;
Before the actual gorilla trekking safari, a permit is purchased/booked and this is done as early as 18 months in advance. Gorilla trekking permits in Rwanda as of now (July 2018) cost $1500 per person per day.
A maximum of eight tourists can visit each gorilla family per day for a maximum of one (1) hour. This is done to minimize behavioral disturbances among the gorillas and reduce on their habitat destruction. This means you can have a Rwanda gorilla trekking tour several times as long as you purchase the permit each time.
Children under the age of fifteen (15) are not allowed to go for gorilla trekking. Permits are sold to only those above the age of 15.
There’s need for physical fitness to hike since the gorillas live in high altitudes of up to 8000–13,000ft (1,500m-4000m above sea level), muddy and thick forested terrain. This height may cause difficulties for some visitors; however, you can pace yourself and drink plenty of water. Walking sticks are provided for each tourist. Tourists with heart and back problems are advised to see their doctors for recommendation of the activity.
Wear appropriate clothing which include long warm sleeves because of the low temperatures, hiking shoes, a hut and insect repellent.
Trekking times are not pre-determined since these are wild animals and they always move. It could be a day’s or an hour’s activity but the gorilla location trackers will use their knowledge of the gorillas’ habits and information from the previous day to locate the gorilla group’s whereabouts so that your guide is able to take you to where the gorillas are expected to be.
Trekking difficulty for each trek is impossible to state in advance, just be daring and fit. When being allocated a group to trek, try to choose a suitable trek.
Eating and drinking is prohibited in the jungle. This is done to reduce on the rate of droplets that could remain in the gorilla habitat and cause diseases, however, you may carry some snacks with you on the trek since the time spent on the trek is not predictable but keep in mind to be careful.
Mountain gorillas are so susceptible to human diseases and actually even just a common cold could kill a gorilla. This means that each client who heads for a gorilla safari Rwanda should be considerate of the gorillas and avoid getting to the gorillas when they have a cold. If you report your illness before the trek then the price of your permit will be refunded.
To reduce on the risk of disease spread, no litter should be left in the jungle. Carry with you each thing you come in with to the park, don’t drop anything external in to the park.
When trekking the gorillas always remember to keep your voice low throughout the trek even with the excitement.
Avoid beating your chest while your close to the gorillas, this is done by the gorillas when they charge to an enemy therefore doing that to them could cause them to charge.
In case the gorillas charge, remember to follow the guides rules by crouching down slowly and not running from the gorilla. Do not look the gorilla directly in to the eye.
Do not touch any gorilla. They are still wild animals and can’t be predictable.
Once the gorillas are located, your group will be allowed a maximum of one hour with them. Flash photography is not allowed and therefore make sure to use cameras like film cameras of 400-800 ASA to take your Rwanda gorilla tour memory photographs.
After the Rwanda gorilla tour, you will move back through the forest to the park headquarters and to your hotel.
Discover the treasures in the land of a thousand hills that you alone can explain after getting there. Trek the mountain gorillas and tell the world your beautiful story.