Rwanda Attractions

Gorillas  - The Mountain Gorillas

There are only about 740 mountain gorillas remaining in their natural habitat. These gentle giants are found in the Virunga Mountains (a chain of volcanoes with altitudinal ranges of 3500m-4507m). The oldest Park in Africa.

Presently,Rwanda not only enjoys the best security in the region but also has the easiest access routes for visiting the mountain gorillas.

Volcanoes National Park (Parc Nacional Des Volcans) - Rwanda are currently has 8 habituated gorilla families that can be visited.

1.    Sabyinyo Group - 13 members, including the biggest silverback (Guhonda) known in the entire jungle.

2.    Amahoro Group - 18members including 02 silverbacks

3.    Group 13 (RenamedAgashya Group) -25 members including 01 silverback

4.    Susa Group - Now divided into 2 groups:

a)   Susa Groupwith 30 including 3 silverbacks.

b)   KalisimbiGroup 15 including 1 silverback.

5.    Umubano Group- 13 members including 01 silverback.

6.    Hirwa Group- 16 members including 01 silverback.

7.    Kwitonda Group - 21 members including 01 silverback.

In order to minimize behavioral disturbances to the gorillas, only 8 people are allowed to visit each of the families and for a period not exceeding 1hour. The limits serve to protect gorillas from the risk of exposure to human-borne diseases. Please note that only children of 15 years of age are allowed into the park for Gorillas trek and only until 12 years of age are allowed into the park for Golden monkeys. Under 12 years of age are allowed into the park for other activities such Nature walks, Diana Fossey Tomb, …. accompanied by one of their parent or by an adult.

The tracking then begins.

Once inside the forest, the following must be observed:-

Ø  No spitting in the park

Ø  No littering in the park

Ø  No coughing in the direction of the gorillas

Ø  Only speak in whispers

Ø  Do not point at the gorillas

Ø  Movements around the gorillas must be unthreatening

Ø  No venturing behind thick shrubs. You may surprise a gorilla.

Ø  If a nettle stings you, do not cry out, scream, shout-out loud or make any sudden moves.

Ø  If a gorilla charges or vocalizes, do not look directly at it. Stand perfectly still unless the guide asks you to crouch or move back.

Ø  Keep a minimum distance of 7 meters from the Gorillas.

    

ESSENTIALS FOR THE HIKE

Ø  Long pants (jeans/khakis) and a long sleeved shirt

Ø  Good well-worn hiking boots. (Sturdy walking shoes are essential)

Ø  Leather gloves (there are stinging nettles in the park)

Ø  Cap/Hat

Ø  Camera (no flash)/ personal camcorder

Ø  Plenty of drinking water

Ø  Basic first Aid Kit

Ø  Med Plaster

Ø  If it rains, which it frequently does, treks will take place, so waterproof clothing is useful / Light raincoat

NB:It is generally quite cold (in Ruhengeri), particularly in the evening, so warm clothing is advised.

 

Special Note:

Gorilla trekking is a very special experience and it is important to preserve these fantastic, endangered animals, so only a limited number of permits are available in each park. Every visitor must obtain a permit before they can embark on a trek, so it is essential to book well in advance. Permits need to be paid for at the initial booking stage and are non-refundable.

Anyone that embarks on a gorilla trek must be in good health, as reaching the gorillas in their natural habitat can be tough, arduous and wet. To reach the gorillas requires trekking through thick forest at heights of up to 3,000m over sometimes difficult terrain. If on the day of your trek you are sick with a cold, flu or other contagious illness, visiting the gorillas will not be permitted and you may not be refunded the cost of the trek.

Only one hour is allowed with the gorillas, at a distance of at least 7 metres. Throughout the trek you will be accompanied by a ranger who will explain the rules and take you to the gorillas.