The Volcanoes national park located in northwestern Rwanda is a home to the rare mountain gorillas, which are currently the leading wildlife attractions in the country. The national park is a home to about 300 mountain gorillas with about twelve (12) mountain gorilla groups that have been habituated for tourist visits. Of all the countries with mountain gorillas, Rwanda is the best destination for a gorilla safari mainly because its mountain gorilla national park (volcanoes national park) can be easily accessed and the forested mountains where the mountain gorillas live are not very thick, which makes it easy to clearly see the mountain gorillas and to also take very clear photographs.
Today, a number of adventurous tourists travel several kilometers to volcanoes national park for mountain gorilla expedition and therefore let’s look at a mountain gorilla-tracking guide that can help even the first time travelers to mountain gorilla safaris in volcanoes national park.
The Mountain Gorillas
As earlier mentioned, the Volcanoes National Park Rwanda has over 250 mountain gorillas with 10 habituated mountain gorilla groups that are open for tourist visitation. Important to note is that these 10 habituated groups are evenly distributed all over the national park and hiking to get to them varies for about 1 to 8 hours of hike through the forest meaning that some gorilla families can be got to after short hours of hike while others can be got to after long hours of hike. Tourists who feel cannot hike through the forested mountains because of age or other inabilities should inform their tour operator or the guide early enough to ensure that they are allocated gorilla groups that can be got to after short hours of hike.
Alternatively, there are some porters for hire who can help in carrying the luggage through out the entire trek. These porters can also carry someone on the stretcher or extend a hand while passing through the difficult parts of the trail. Porters can be hired at about $10 to $15.
What To Carry For The Safari
While going for a mountain gorilla safari in volcanoes national park, tourists are expected to pack appropriately. Tourists are expected to pack a raincoat, long trousers, long sleeved shirts, strong hiking shoes, gardening hand gloves, sun glasses, foot wear, a sweater, insect repellant and some few pain killers.
Best Time For The Safari
Tracking the mountain gorillas in volcanoes national park can be done at any time of the year though it might be a little challenging during the wet season. It’s therefore recommended for tourists to go for mountain gorilla safaris during the dry season in the months of December to February and from June to September.
The Mountain Gorilla Tracking Permits
For tourists to go mountain gorilla tracking, they must first acquire permits early enough. Each permit is sold at $750 and important to note is that only 80 mountain gorilla permits are available everyday. These can be bought directly from the Rwanda development offices in Kigali or through a trusted tour operator.
The Mountain Gorilla Tracking Process
Tourists on this day should report to the national park headquarters early in the morning for a briefing and allocation to the mountain gorilla groups. The briefing is usually done at around 7:00 am and as soon as its finished, tourists are guided to the forest amidst sightings of a number of wildlife species. The hike to the mountain gorillas as earlier mentioned takes about 1 to 8 hours of hike and once the tourists get to the mountain gorillas, they are given time duration of an hour to be in presence of the mountain gorillas. After the one hour elapses, tourists are led back to the national park headquarters where they are given certificates of participation.
Generally the mountain gorilla tracking process in Rwanda’s volcanoes national park is very rewarding and offers exclusive primate safaris that cannot be experienced in any other place on the entire continent.