Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is a truly unforgettable and life-changing experience. Here’s some information to help you plan your gorilla trekking adventure:
- Volcanoes National Park: Gorilla trekking in Rwanda takes place in Volcanoes National Park, located in the Virunga Mountains. This park is home to several habituated gorilla families that have become accustomed to human presence.
- Gorilla Trekking Permits: To participate in gorilla trekking, you need to obtain a gorilla trekking permit. Permits are limited and in high demand, so it’s advisable to book well in advance. Permits can be obtained through the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) or authorized tour operators.
- Preparing for the Trek: Gorilla trekking can be physically demanding, so it’s important to be in good health and reasonably fit. Wear comfortable and sturdy hiking boots, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts to protect against nettles, thorns, and insects. It’s also recommended to bring rain gear, sunscreen, a hat, and insect repellent.
- Trekking Experience: On the day of your trek, you’ll join a group led by experienced guides and trackers. The trek can vary in duration, ranging from 1 to 6 hours, depending on the gorilla family’s location. The terrain can be steep and challenging, but the reward of encountering gorillas in their natural habitat makes it all worthwhile.
- Gorilla Encounter: Once you locate the gorilla family, you’ll spend a precious hour in their presence. You’ll observe their behavior, interactions, and possibly witness feeding or playing. Keep a distance of at least 7 meters (21 feet) from the gorillas to ensure their safety and minimize the risk of disease transmission.
- Photography and Etiquette: Photography is allowed during gorilla trekking, but use of flash is prohibited. Carry a camera with extra batteries and memory cards. It’s important to remain calm, quiet, and follow the instructions of your guide to ensure a safe and respectful experience for both humans and gorillas.
- Conservation and Sustainability: Rwanda places great emphasis on gorilla conservation and sustainable tourism. The fees from gorilla permits contribute to conservation efforts and local community development. By participating in gorilla trekking, you are directly supporting conservation initiatives and the well-being of the gorillas.
- Other Considerations: Remember to bring some cash for tipping your guides and trackers, as it is customary to show appreciation for their efforts. It’s also recommended to obtain travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and trip cancellations.
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda offers a rare opportunity to witness these magnificent creatures up close and contribute to their conservation. It’s an awe-inspiring and emotional experience that creates lasting memories. Remember to respect the gorillas and their natural habitat, and embrace the privilege of sharing a brief moment in their world.