Rwanda is a home to over 380 mountain gorillas in the world without including the half of the entire population which is found in Uganda at both Bwindi forest and Mgahinga national park a place where silver meets gold. Of Late the country’s gorilla park Volcanoes National Park has 10 habituated gorilla families and only eight people are allowed to track each gorilla family per day. This makes the demand for the gorilla safaris in Rwanda high year round though thousands travel from the globe to get chance to meet face to face with the large silverback Gorilla, mother gorillas and their young babies as they play and enjoy the wild in their locality. Among the few who manage to make their dream come always say the trek is very expensive but the effort and moments with the great apes is worthy it.
Gorilla tracking is magnificent any time of year so long as you ready to make your dream come true and hiking is not as hard as you may think. Some times it’s hectic for those who don’t hire locals to help them carry the trek luggage (bottled drinking water, packed lunch insect repellant, camera etc) I think its fare walk for everyone. Most gorilla tracking visitors storm Rwanda during the dry season of December to February, and from about June to mid-September which is regarded as the best period to track the Gorillas in volcanoes national park but if you planning your trek during this period its advisable to secure or book your gorilla tracking permit at least three months in advance in order not to miss out. Same applies if you want to track in April – May and November. Its good timing though it can rain any time of the day which makes hiking a little bit hard but still the gorilla trek experience is the same like for those who visit the Gorillas in the dry season.
Rwanda Gorilla Permits
Gorilla permits for Rwanda cost $750 while securing a permit at last minute during both seasons is not simple. People who plan earlier don’t face any problem in securing their Gorilla permits since all gorilla permit arrangements are done prior to their travel date. Always 80 gorilla tracking permits are available per day for trackers though some times the number of trackers go beyond the maximum permits available. If you luck you can get a permit at last minute that is if someone cancels or fails to show up for the trek which is not a common thing at the park headquarters. Just plan well and avoid being left at the park headquarters in a very sad mood as others enter the forest for the day’s gorilla trekking expedition. The park management has a plan of reducing Gorilla permit prices during the low season of April, May and November like that of Uganda so just inquire with your travel agent for updates.
Gorilla tracking experience
I wonder why holiday expectations don’t match with our holiday experience like some adventure seen too hard but become the easiest when you take them on and you even enjoy to the fullest something unusual to many. Someone will tell you Bung jumping & white water rafting in Uganda is a scary venture but when you experience them oh they are Magical. The same applies to the gorilla trek experience but it’s a rare magical experience in the bamboo forest which you just experience in either the easiest way or go through some hassle.
I visited Rwanda on a tailor made trip organized by a travel agency who arranged all my adventures both in Rwanda and Uganda. They booked my gorilla trekking permits together with all the other tour essentials transport accommodation in time. I was a sole traveler which somehow made me part with some good amount of dollars since I slept in Luxury Accommodation throughout my stay. It was my dream to encounter the mountain gorillas twice so that I can spend at least two hrs with them which came true early this year. I was at the park headquarter in Kinigi by 7.00am the best time at which tourists arrive at the headquarter for briefing, joined others later embarked on the way up the mountain to meet the giant apes.
After one hour, we met up with a ranger guide who led us to where the gorillas spent a night before our trek. I was already worried but when I meet gorillas all the worries vanished in joy and happiness. My local potter carried by bag as enjoyed my 1 hr of photography in full comfort. We found the Gorilla family in a cleared place but really organized from father, mother and babies as the youngsters where playing and fitting around the other. Besides your safari guide can help you to explain to the park rangers in case you have interest in a specific gorilla group since normally allocation of the gorilla family is done at random at the time of the briefing. We finished the gorilla trek by mid-day, spent over 2hour relaxing & eating lunch before heading to Lake Ruhondo and burera for a boat ride to the islands.
With fresh memories of my first trek, still had imaginations of how my next trek will be encountering with a new gorilla family. When morning came the process was same like for my first trek but the difference was that I tracked a different gorilla family and my encounter with the silver back was thrilling some thing I will never forget .After tracking, I returned back to my residential lodge for lunch while the other rest of the day with locals. The local people performance of the Kinyarwanda dance is too entertaining an activity which makes you feel the love which the people of Rwanda have for their guests. Wow wow Rwanda a land full of unique adventures for everyone.