To see incredible wildlife of Gorillas and their natural life, there are three places in Central Africa – Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The total population of gorillas left in these countries is less than 900. The National Geographic and World Wildlife Fund have different figures of 700 and 880 respectively.
Explore the natural habitat of the gorillas in the beauties of rainforests with trekking safari. There are two densely forested mountain areas – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda and the Virunga Mountain region located in the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and DRC. There are also four national parks, where gorilla trekking safari can be done.
Out of total 900 gorillas, around 480 gorillas inhibit in the Virunga Mountain, which is almost half of their total population. The Volcanoes National Park located in Virunga Mountain region of Rwanda has 10 Gorilla groups especially for safaris – the highest among all the regions. Hence, you cannot ignore visit to see gorillas in Rwanda, which has incredibly scenic mountains and volcanoes covered with dense forest.
In order to experience the unforgettable and unbelievable trekking trip, you need to plan out the trip. The following shall help your gorilla trekking.
When to Visit:
The gorilla trekking can be done all round the year, but the best time is between June to September and December to February. During this period, the climate is dry and sunny. Since Rwanda is located above 2000mtrs of sea level, the climate is unpredictable and you can expect rains anytime. It is better to check Rwanda’s climate before trekking.
Buying the Permits:
The official permit is required in all the gorilla trekking safaris. The cost of permit is expensive and is different in all the national parks and trekking locations. Rates differ based on season. The peak season is considered from June to September and December to February. The peak season cost of permit in Rwanda is approx. $750 whereas in Uganda it is $600.
If you are visiting Rwanda, you can buy the permit from Rwandan Tourism Board Office (ORTPN) either through email or by calling in person. Booking permit through tour operator is convenient way and has to be done in advance – even before 3-4 months in peak season.
The entire gorilla trekking is divided into groups based on their family and the area they inhibit. There are groups like Sabyinyo, Agashya, Umubano, Susa, Karisimbi, Hirwa, Kwitonda etc. You can ask for particular group for trekking, but it is not guaranteed by the park headquarters. The groups change their location based on climatic conditions.
Rules for the Trekkers:
While trekking, each safari group should be very cautious and follow the rules set by the respective trekking authorities. The general rules that have to be followed are:
- Gorillas are prone to human diseases. If you have infectious disease, avoid going near the gorillas. Don’t cough or sneeze near the gorillas.
- Keep safe distance of at least 5-7 meters.
- Avoid throwing left over eatables or snacks packets in front of them.
- Wear proper trekking suits and shoes. Carry waterproof backpacks along with you, as the weather is wet and humid.
- Follow the basic rules regarding toilet etiquettes, littering and cleanliness.
- Don’t panic when the gorilla charges you. Instead, stay calm and crouch down slowly.
- Don’t use flash while taking photographs though the climate may be dark. Using of flash camera is not permitted.
Keep your trekking an awesome moment to remember. Preserve the gorilla groups in their natural environment for the future generation to enjoy.