Find everything you would like to know about Rwanda gorilla tours, trekking prices, gorilla permit, safari lodges, Volcanoes National Park, the best time to visit Rwanda for safaris, gorilla trekking companies in Rwanda and so much more.
What is a Gorilla Permit?
A gorilla permit is a card issued by Rwanda Development Board that gives you permission to trek the Rwanda gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Tourists can visit Rwanda to see the gorillas after obtaining a gorilla trekking permit. The tourists can spend an hour one-on-one with the apes if they are able to find them in their natural habitat.
Cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda
Rwanda offers the most expensive gorilla trekking permit which costs $1500 USD 1,500 (€1,232 or £1,062) per person per day. This is nearly three times as much as other countries charge for foreign visitors, such as Democratic Republic of Congo ($200) or Uganda ($600).
Discount Rwanda Gorilla Permits Option
Rwanda development boards gives a 30% (US $1,050) discount on gorilla permits if you are to visit other parks in Rwanda during November and May. The parks in question are Akagera and Nyungwe Forest National Park.
For a complete luxury and private gorilla trekking experience tailored to your group, you pay US $15,000
MICE events in Rwanda attract a 15% discount on the gorilla trekking permit. So if you are attending conferences, incentives and exhibitions, be sure to pay US$ 1,275 per person.
- The most expensive gorilla safari in Rwanda costs $ 30,000 where you spend 3 days with the gorillas (behind the scenes) in a party of only 3 people.
Why is Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda Expensive?
In 2017, Rwanda increased the cost of a gorilla trekking ticket from US$750 to US$1,500 in order to maintain long-term viability for conservation efforts as well as improve tourist experience. Although the cost of a gorilla trekking permit is hefty, it includes 2 armed rangers and a knowledgeable guide to lead you to your target group.
Age Restrictions for Gorilla Trek in Rwanda
A tourist below the age of 15yrs is not allowed to visit the gorillas. Tourists to Rwanda who are older than fifteen and want to visit gorilla trekking permits should go through the process of securing a Rwanda Development Board Gorilla Trekking permit.
How To Book A Gorilla Safari in Rwanda
Given that gorilla permits sell out fast, it is important to book at least 3-4 months in advance. The best time to visit gorillas is during the dry season from June through September and December through February.
One can get information about Rwanda gorilla trekking permits by contacting the Rwanda Development Board.
Travelers may also be interested in the available gorilla permits, which can be found by sending an email to any of the tour operators.
Hiring a local guide and booking your trekking permit through trusted tour operators is recommended for the best experience as they will guide you in how to make the most of your Rwanda gorilla safari.
Travelers are advised to pay for gorilla permits immediately if they are available at the time that is desired, as permits will not be available should more travelers desire them on dates already booked. Alternatively, travelers can purchase an alternate date should their preferred one go out of stock or become unavailable.
Once your gorilla permit is paid for, you will be sent a scanned receipt and can pick up the permit from your driver-guide once you arrive to start your gorilla trekking safari.
A Rwandan gorilla permit is property of the government. It belongs to Rwanda Development Board, which is a branch of government.On the day of gorilla trekking, permits are collected to be returned for recycling in Kigali.
How Many Gorillas Will You See?
Over 18 gorilla families inhabit Volcanoes National Park, and only 12 of them are open for trekking. The others are reserved for research. Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park always starts at Kinigi HQ with a briefing. It’s typically done by 8 people (in groups) and you’ll be assigned to a gorilla family for the day.
How Much Time Will You Spend With The Gorillas?
Your gorilla trekking permit will allow you one hour with an assigned gorilla group. Though it can take from 30 minutes to 9 hours for a gorilla trek, most tourists find them within 3 hours.
Things To Do Besides Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
There are many things you can do after gorilla trekking permits in Rwanda. You can visit Nyungwe Forest – home to chimpanzees and many other primates. Or go on Kibinga forest walk or Nyanza safari tour by boat. There are also several hiking trails that don’t require special permits : Ruhengeri Bridge trail , Mahoma trail or Kinigi Bigogwe trail.
Golden Monkeys & Other Primates of Rwanda
You’ll also want to see the golden monkeys when you’re in Rwanda. There are a lot of these strange-looking critters living near the volcanoes, and they live in the bamboo. Although they are naturally reserved, the habituated populations have become accustomed to the presence of strangers.
Because you won’t have to go as far, a golden monkey journey will be shorter than a gorilla excursion. Permits are required for both the golden monkey treks and the Rwanda gorilla safaris.
At only $100 per person, they’re a lot more accessible. To guarantee yourself a seat, you need reserve your permit at least three months in advance.
Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
Only about 1,000 mountain gorillas remain in the wild, but recent news indicates that their numbers are rising!
Anyone may make a difference by taking a gorilla safari in Volcanoes National Park and thereby supporting the conservation of these beautiful primates.
To trek among the endangered mountain gorillas of Rwanda, you’ll need a permit. There are just 80 day permits available for $1,500 apiece.
A portion of the park’s revenue is reinvested on conservation and sustainable tourism. In the morning, participants gather at the park headquarters for a briefing regarding mountain gorilla tours.
Afterwards, take a walk through Volcanoes National Park’s bamboo forests in search of mountain gorillas in their native environment.
Depending on the gorillas’ activity and movements, expect the trek to last between 1 and 6 hours. There is a one-hour limit on the time you can spend with the gorillas, and you can take photos and films.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe Forest National Park has 25% of Africa’s primates. The chimpanzee population is second only to Kibale National Park in Uganda.
While there are several pathways to stroll along to observe the chimpanzees, you may need to venture off the main road into the forest with a guide. Chimpanzee trekking requires a permit to be booked in advance.
After the hike, you may see acrobatic chimps swinging from tree branches, mothers embracing newborn chimps, and other sights that will not only astonish but also warm your heart.
Nyungwe Forest has around 310 bird species. From Albertine Rift endemics to Forest endemics, there are plenty to see. Nyungwe Forest National Park is ideal for walkers and hikers. The park includes 13 separate hiking routes where you can spend 1-8 hours observing various plant, tree, bird, primate, and butterfly species.
The Igishigishigi Trail is the shortest and features a canopy walk, another thrilling experience. The Bigugu Trail, in Nyungwe Forest National Park, is the park’s longest trail, taking up to 8 hours to climb.
Each path has its own unique wildlife experience, highlighting the trail’s most common species.
Visiting Nyungwe Forest National Park for a Hiking Safari is a good choice because all 13 trails take days to complete.
Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda
It is rare to find more than two mountain gorilla populations in east-central Africa, one of which is located in the Virunga Volcanoes region, which spans three forest reserves from Uganda to Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
There is one who lives in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda) and Sarambwe Nature Reserve (DRC).
It is only in the high-altitude montane and bamboo forests, between 1,400 and 3,800 meters, that these gentle giants can be found.
How To Track The Gorillas Of Rwanda
Gorillas are wild animals, despite the fact that they have been accustomed to humans. Both species can benefit from a few simple guidelines. Always follow your guide’s directions to the letter. Keep your distance.
In order to reduce the spread of disease, visitors are asked to keep a distance of seven meters or more from the gorillas.
Gorillas may see a direct stare as unfriendly or hostile; instead, look away to appear less obtrusive.
When watching gorillas, avoid pointing, speak gently (if at all), turn off your camera’s flash, and sit or kneel as much as possible. Not only will the people behind you appreciate it, but the gorillas, who can only stand on two legs, will perceive you as less scary.
However, despite being threatened species, the mountain gorilla is the only great ape whose population appears to be rising, thanks in large part to conservation efforts and the money generated by gorilla tourism.
There are just about 880 mountain gorillas left in the wild. In the Virunga Mountains, which straddle three countries – Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo – most of them lead solitary lives away from humans.
Several species, on the other hand, have become habituated to human visitation and may be viewed and tracked by small groups of tourists accompanied by experienced guides and rangers.
The Volcanoes Park in Rwanda and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda account for nearly all of these supernatural occurrences.
Rwanda Safari Tours Besides Gorilla Treks
There are many things you can do after gorilla tracking permits in Rwanda. You can visit Nyungwe Forest – home to chimpanzees and many other primates. Or go on Kibinga forest walk or Nyanza safari tour by boat. There are also several hiking trails that don’t require special permits : Ruhengeri Bridge trail , Mahoma trail or Kinigi Bigogwe trail.
Bird watching is done in Nyungwe and Gishwati Mukura National Park. You can also visit the local communities for the ultimate cultural experience.
Its also possible to attempt mountain climbing in the nearby Rwenzori Mountains National Park. There is also the Dian Fossey hike of the Virunga Mountains.
Gorilla Groups in Rwanda
Agashya Gorilla Trek
Tours at zoos are wonderful, but they might be tedious due to the fact that the animals there are usually imprisoned and well-acquainted.
The animals in the parks, on the other hand, are completely free to roam. This keeps you on your toes because you never know when you’ll see wildlife.
Volcanoes National Park is popular with this particular subset of tourists because of the presence of such a feature. They’re curious and always on the go, looking for new things to see in the park.
As a result, the experience of hiking to visit them is enhanced like a treasure hunt because it provides you with a wealth of new sights and sounds. Natural swimming ponds, critically endangered bird species, elephant footprints, and so on are all possibilities. In just eight years, the family has grown from 13 to 27 members.
Tracking Gorillas Of Sabyinyo Family
With this group, you can see gorillas in the wild without having to go through so much hardship. Mountain Sabinyo, the mountain from which they get their name, is a great place for them to graze. They don’t travel far at times when food is scarce in this area. The bamboo zone is where they prefer to hang out. Guhonda silverback is the leader of the group, which consists of 12 members.
Titus Gorilla Trek (Dian Fossey Favourite)
In Dian Fossey’s mind, no other gorilla troop was more important than the Titus. This is in part due to the fact that they had many similarities. This eight-member gorilla family, like hers, has had its share of ups and downs, and she has seen them all.
For example, she watched the birth of the group leader, who was born in agonizing anguish by his mother, in front of her. Titus was his given name.
Titus had been deposed by his son Kuryama, the reigning monarch of the Titus Monarchy, by the time of his death in September 2009 (at the age of 35).
Track Gorillas Of Amahoro Family
As part of its annual gorilla conservation event, Rwanda names its gorillas according to their personalities. Amahoro was the group’s name during the second iteration in 2005.
A phrase in the Kinyarwanda language that describes someone or something that inspires you is called “mwanda,” or “calm.”
The 18 people that make up this delegation are, in fact, actual peace ambassadors. Unless they feel threatened, they are extremely tolerant of tourists.
Among the members of the Amahoro gorilla family are two black backs, five infant gorillas and four juvenile gorilla species.
Susa Group A, Best Gorilla Trekking Safari Experience
The birth of twins in mountain gorillas isn’t a big deal to the mother because it’s the beginning of a demanding period of caring for the babies. A mountain gorilla frequently abandons one of its newborn twins after it gives birth to them.
One of the 33 people in this group, a mother, had the opposite opinion, ironically. Impano and Byishimo, her happy twins, were born beyond all chances.
Ten years ago, the group had 42 members, making it one of the largest in Volcanoes National Park. Susa A separated into two groups: Susa B, or Karisimbi, and Susa A.
A silverback, a blackback, six newborns, and three adult females make up this group’s total of 13 members. Charles, a powerful silverback who had become tired of the constant fighting in the Amahoro tribe, founded it. Invasion after invasion by other gorilla species led to this. After persuading a dozen gorillas to form a family that rejects violence as a means of solving issues, Charles founded the Family of Peace.
Umubano, a phrase in the Kinyarwanda language that translates to “living together in harmony,” is the name of the group
B-also known as Karisimbi Group-is Susa B.
From a population of 9 to 15 since their split from Susa A in 2008, this group has increased significantly. This is due to the fact that they have registered multiple births. Mountain Karisimbi, Rwanda’s tallest peak, is their home (4,507M).
Visiting these gorillas is more rewarding than most other gorilla groups because of this.There are thousands of gorgeous hills seen from the top of Rwanda’s highest peak.
This group is named after a Kinyarwanda word that meaning lucky for two reasons. To begin with, it is one of only seven Virunga ethnic groups to have twins. It’s a serious concern since gorillas rely on large groups for their safety.
In addition, it’s possible to see all 16 members of the group at any time of year, regardless of the season. As a result of their great sense of solidarity, they will never abandon one another, even in the midst of a fight.
Mountain Sabinyo has been their favored place since they broke away from the Sabyinyo group and the Agashya group several years ago.
Akarevuro, one of three dominant silverbacks (the other two are Magumu and Kigoma), leads the group of 23 members. The tribe lived in Africa’s oldest National Park, Virunga National Park, until migrating and establishing in the lower slopes of Mt. Sabyinyo and Mt. Gahinga in 2003.Kwitonda, a 40-year-old silverback, was still in charge of the group at the time.
He founded the Beetsme group a year later, after he was ousted from his position as head of the Titus group.
He reigned with an iron grip for nearly five years and fathered over twenty children, some of his own and others from outside his group.
The 27 gorillas in this group bear an uncanny likeness to each other, like identical twins. You’ll spend the next hour trying to identify them apart based on their key physical characteristics from head to toe.
Astounding precision in their design was the work of God. To the amazement of the park’s rangers, they are able to distinguish the two species apart based solely on their vocalizations and pulse rate.
Their relationship with them dates back to the time of their habituation several years ago. Before you meet with them, they’ll be able to tell you about each person’s life story, highlighting their greatest and worst experiences.
Gorilla Trek Africa, What is the Best Destination to Trek The Gorillas
Rwanda is the best country to trek the gorillas of Africa. However, despite the fact that both Rwanda and Uganda appear to offer similar items, the entire experience can differ greatly between the two countries.
Rwanda Gorilla Tracking
A view of the lake from Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali The BBC’s Life on Earth series and the work of Dian Fossey made Rwanda a household name, making it statistically more popular.
Also, it’s lot more manageable in terms of travel time than Uganda. Because of the close proximity of Kigali International Airport to Volcanoes Park, visitors can fly in, spend two or three nights in the park to view the gorillas, and then continue on to other parts of Africa.
The park’s landscape is also slightly more open than in Bwindi, making it easier to observe gorillas. Although long treks are not unusual, gorillas can sometimes be found after only a short walk from the park boundary.
Volcanoes National Park and the Nyungwe Forest, the best-preserved rainforest in the mountains of Central Africa, are about two hours away from Lake Kivu and the Nyungwe Forest, which is home to 13 primate species and a wide variety of rare birds, including forest hornbills and blue turacos.
The Kigali Memorial Centre, a touching memorial to the victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, lies within a five-hour drive of the capital, Kigali. In Rwanda and Uganda, you may see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
Uganda Gorilla Tracking
It will take more time to see gorillas in Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a long way from Entebbe International Airport, but the journey is worth it.
A day’s worth of travel is needed on either side of your walk to get there.
Impenetrable doesn’t mean easy; it means that monitoring gorillas in Uganda is more difficult than in Rwanda because of its topography and heavy foliage.
In addition to Bwindi, Uganda has a plethora of other activities to choose from. Chimpanzees may be seen in the wild in the Kibale Forest, which is one of the best places in Africa to do so.
These game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park are good opportunities to see big cats such as leopards and lions and a broad range of antelope and bird species.
Ziwa Rhino & Wildlife Ranch’s walking safaris may get you up up and personal with southern white rhinoceros. The Rwenzori Mountains offer fantastic hiking opportunities (Mountains of the Moon).
Rwanda Gorilla Trekking & Tanzania Safari
You cannot track the gorillas in Tanzania simply because they are not found there. You can however combine visits to Serengeti National Park with gorilla trek African safari in Rwanda’s volcanoes national park.
Rwanda Gorilla Tours & Kenya Safaris
Just like in Tanzania, there are no gorilla treks in Kenya. You will need to visit Masai Mara and then fly to Kigali before you embark on a gorilla safari experience in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda.
Akagera national park
Visiting Akagera National Park before or after gorilla tracking is such a rewarding experience. The major attractions here include the African lion, Giraffe, Zebra and so much more.
Cost of a Gorilla Trek in Rwanda
Many Rwanda safari companies arrange gorilla tracking safaris in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo. The pricing is not uniform and as such, its important to understand the cause for the difference in both budget and luxury safaris. The cost differs based on accommodation, car, season and company costs. Local companies are likely to charge less compared to the international travel agencies.
Popular Gorilla Safari & Hiking Tours
3 Day Rwanda Gorilla Tour
This safari takes you straight to Volcanoes Park in Rwanda for gorilla adventure. A permit costs $ 1500 per person.
Safari Price: From $ US 2300 per person
6 Day Rwanda Gorillas & Akagera national Park
See the lions, mountain gorillas, elephants, giraffe and so much more in the most visited National Parks of Rwanda.
Safari Price: From $ US 3600 per person
6 Day Rwanda Primates
Visit Volcanoes and Nyungwe for a rewarding experience of the primates of Africa. The mountain gorillas, chimpanzee, babboons, colobus monkeys and other monkey variants.
Safari Price: From $ US 3700 per person