Gorilla trekking Safaris in Rwanda, Gorilla trekking tours and Safaris in Rwanda
Mountain Gorillas can only be seen and tracked in only three East African countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, among other countries in Africa. Rwanda’s Mountain gorillas are found in Volcanoes national Park , whereas those for Uganda, we have Bwindi impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National park, yet Congo’s Mountain gorillas are in Virunga National Park .
Rwanda’s Mountain gorillas are separated into 10 habituated gorilla families, totaling upto 80 gorilla permits released per day, with each group consisting of eight trekkers. Each trekker is entitled to one permit .per day per trek and the permit costs $1700:
Mountain gorilla trekking Experience in Rwanda
Mountain Gorilla trekking Rwanda is an Evocative and awe inspiring experience, which starts with an early morning briefing of the trekkers at the Volcanoes National Park headquarters, in Ruhengeri. All trekkers are required to register at 7:00am, after which they are taken through the guidelines about the do’s and don’ts of trekking gorillas.
The Group then sets off for the search for the gorillas by the help of both experienced English and French speaking gorilla trekking guide. The trek may seem tiring since it involves hiking, which is worth Mountain gorilla trekking Experience. The trekking may take at least 30 minute to a number of hours depending on the group’s physical strength and the Mountain gorilla family to be tracked by that particular group.
At most one hour is allowed for every tracker to be interact with the Mountain gorillas, after then the tracking group is led back to the starting point so as to catch up with their different adventure schedules
Rwanda Mountain gorilla Permits Cost;
A mountain gorilla permit is a must have among all other documents every gorilla trekker to Rwanda should carry. Each Gorilla permit costs $1500 per person per day, and are purchased from Rwanda Development Board Offices or from Ruhengeri which is just a few meters to the park.
Mountain Gorilla trekking Families in Volcanoes national Park Rwanda
Rwanda is a home to 380 mountain gorillas from 10 habituated gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park, which are available for gorilla trekking. The Virunga mountain ranges, from which volcanoes national park is part, inhabits about 500 gorilla individuals , whereas the other half of the world’s Mountain gorillas live in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Rwanda gorilla family groups are divided in two, including; those for research purposes and, that which is open for trekking. All Mountain gorilla family groups are led by the dominant gorilla-Silver back. Allocation of gorilla groups for daily trekking depends mainly on the groups physical strength, trekker’s preference and accommodation. This is because some gorilla groupstake shorter treks, while other gorilla family groups require long trekking hours. Normally the gorilla family group of Beetsme and shida are the considered the only research groups, and contain the largest number of gorillas.
However the other habituated gorilla groups for trekking in Volcanoes national Park-Rwanda are: Susa Gorilla Group (Susa A Family), Karisimbi Gorilla Group (Susa-B), Sabyinyo Gorilla Group, Amahoro Gorilla Group, Umubano Gorilla Group, Agashya Gorilla Group, Kwitonda Gorilla Group, Hirwa Gorilla Group, Bwenge Family Group, Ugenda Gorilla Family
Susa Gorilla Group
Susa Gorilla Group (Susa A Family):
Susa gorilla family group which now contains 28 gorilla individuals including 3 silverbacks, was once a group that had 42 gorilla members, but later split. The gorilla family name “Susa” is a kinyarwanda word that was borrowed from a nearby flowing river -River Susa. The Susa group split into two because of fraud, and itself remained high up in the mountains. However, this Susa gorilla track is considered to be the most difficult one, among other gorilla groups in Volcanoes National Park. Trekking the Susa gorilla group, may take a full day, and at times, they are not allocated for trekking, except when the groups physical strength is believed to manage. The prominent playful young twins Byishimo and Impano make Susa gorilla group active and exciting to watch, not forgetting Poppy one of the oldest habituated gorillas.
Karisimbi Gorilla Group (Susa-B):
Karisimbi gorilla group(also called Susa-B), consists of 15 members, and is a family, that split from Susa group(susa-A), and are usually found on the slopes of Karisimbi Volcano. Tracking the Susa B family group(Karisimbi group), just like Susa A is difficult, which forces rangers to always go ahead of their trackers to locate their position incase they wonder too far. The rangers instruct their colleagues who are leading the trekking group, guiding them towards the point of the group encounter. Those who are strong enough to hike Karisimbi in search of gorillas are rewarded with beautiful scenery that makes a worthwhile gorilla experience.
Sabyinyo Gorilla Group:
Sabyinyo Gorilla group is one among the small groups, with only 8 gorilla individuals, with Guhonda as the leader. With at most 220kgs of his weight, Guhonda turns out to be the strongest and powerfull leader because he is the largest Silverback among other gorilla members. Sabyinyo derives its name from Sabyinyo Volcano(also called the Old man’s teeth). Guhonda has always maintained unity among his gorilla family members by excluding his rival silverbacsk Ryango to a loner outside. The sabyinyo gorilla group are considered to be the easiest group to trek, and hang around because of the young juveniles who jumP around and are also are near the park’s edge
Amahoro Gorilla Group:
Led by Ubumbwe-a calm and peaceful silverback, Amahoro gorilla family group comprises of 17 gorilla individuals, after losing some of it’s members to Charles another silverback. It is believed that Charles took advantage of Ubumbwe’s calmness to take some of his females , so as form the day to day Umubano group. The Amahoro group now settle at the slopes of Mount Visoke, and visiting them means climbing steep slopes and most trekkers love the gorilla group because of their calmness and peaceful nature
Umubano Gorilla Group:
As Umubano means ”Living together” the Gorilla family contains 11 gorilla individuals including 6 youngsters and Charles the dominate Silverback who decided to break off with some female gorillas from Amahoro family. Charles before quitting the Amahoro Family severely confronted and attacked Ubumbwe as he was grew older. He undermined Ubumbwe Silverback taking advantage of his calmness. Although the family stays in the same region as the Amahor gorilla family, trekkers enjoy visiting this group because it requires less effort to reach them.
Agashya Gorilla Group:
Originally known as “Group 13” the A gashya gorilla family moved with the entore family up the vocano after adeadly fight with with Nyakarima- who was at first the dominant silverback. This is the first time in history of search an incidence about agashya gorlla family, according to the research made. The family number kept on increasing by agashya stealing some of the gorilla individuals from the neighbouring gorilla families, taking only loners . Agashya has always protected his family members by fleeing and taking refuge in his favorite spots whenever he senses danger. This group is quite tiring to track due to constant hiding of the members. Since the then, the group number increased from 13 to about 25 members although they leave near Sabyinyo gorilla group
Kwitonda Gorilla Group:
Led by Kwitonda, akinyarwanda word that means “humble one”. The kwitonda gorilla family consists of 18 gorilla individuals including two silverbacks. The group is considered to be a hard to track due to its cumbersome geographical area, but above all, for great hikers, trekking this group seems exciting and worth it.
Hirwa Gorilla Group:
This is relatively anew group resulting from a combination of two families of Group 13 and the Sabyinyo family. Some members from both families came up together to form their own group, now called the Hirwa gorilla group. The group is led by a dominant and protective silverback. The group is now lucky to have 16 members, since its formation in 2006, just like its name means “Hirwa-the lucky one” Locating this group may sometimes be difficult on other days, although they are found on the slopes of Mount sabyinyo, hence a great reason why it is not highly recommended for tracking.
Bwenge Family Group:
Right from the Kinyarwanda meaning of the word Bwenge- which means Wisdom. This is an awesome and amazing group to be tracked. Bwenge gorilla group featured in the drama “The gorilla Mist”. It is headed by the famous Bwenge, a dominant silverback who formed the group in 2007, after leaving his own group of birth, hence joining a female individuals from other families. The family is now blessed with 11 individual gorillas, and requires enough energy to reach them, because they live up the steep, and sometimes muddy hill along the slopes of Karisoke volcano.
Ugenda Gorilla Family:
The Ugenda gorilla group which comprises of 11 members including 2 silverbacks live around the Karisimbi. The “Ugenda word” means “being on the move” which referred to the roving nature of the gorilla group, that is to say, there wandering nature which makes tracking them difficult on some days.
When to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is considered an all year round activity, although the best time to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda is during the long and short dry months including; June, July, August, September, and December, January, February , early march respectively. These months provide easier hiking options and low malaria risks.
Nevertheless can you safari during off seasons due to the weather, because the rains are not frequent that is to say; rains may be experienced for few hours, and you can still catch up with your daily routine. The population during this season is low, creates ample time for amemorable trip, but bear in mind that the going gets tougher as tracks are steep, slippery and muddy
Gorilla trekking rules and regulations in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
Planning a gorilla trekking trip in Volcanoes national Park in Rwanda, then the rules and regulations is a must follow and should apply right from the time of briefing.
Before setting off, only a maximum number of 8 members will be allowed to visit an assigned group of gorillas per day
All trekkers are recommended to was their hands before trekking gorillas
Voices must be kept low while trekking gorillas.
No litter should be dumped during trekking and tracking gorillas in the wild
A 21 m should be observed between the gorilla groups and the trackers for more flexibility.
All gorilla trekkers are supposed to stick tightly to their groups hen near the gorillas.
Do not smoke, drink, or eat while in the presence of the gorillas
Flash photography is not accepted when taking photos
All group member are not allowed to touch, feed or play with gorillas on their encounter
A maximum hour of 1 hour is allocated for every trekker to stay in the presence of the gorillas
Voices are kept low, before leaving the spot of gorillas.
Whoever feels sick, or the urge to cough, sneeze or any kind of sickness, is urged to leave not to truck the gorillas.