Rwanda Gorillas and Rwenzori Hike
A visit to the two best African countries – Rwanda and Uganda is one of the amazing encounters in ones’ lifetime. The countries encompass the best African destinations including national parks where adventurous travelers go for memorable experience. One can visit both country for a safari and take part in different experiences including a combined Rwanda gorillas and Rwenzori hike. This combined package is one of the most adventurous trips one will dream for a lifetime, as you will have an incredible hiking experience as you trek the gorillas on the mountains of Volcanoes national park, and later, head for a great hiking experience in the Rwenzori mountains, to experience the beauty of the ice covered and glaciated peaks.
Where to go for a combined safari
Volcanoes national park
Located in the northern part of Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park is one of the destinations to go during the combined gorilla and mountaineering experience. The park is located in Musanze town formerly known as Ruhengeri which is known as the base for gorilla trekking activities in Rwanda. With a total area of 160 square kilometers of rainforests, the park comprises of beautiful landscapes which is composed of five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga mountains namely Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Sabyinyo and Gahinga and protects half of the world’s mountain gorillas that are divided into 10 gorilla groups. These majestic creatures can be seen and watched during mountain gorilla trekking safari after a purchase of a gorilla permit from RDB at USD 1500 per person per trek.
Gorilla trekking experience
This is one of the most booked activity on the African continent and it takes place in only four destinations with Volcanoes national park inclusive. Gorilla trekking starts from the park headquarters with a registration and briefing of the trekkers about the dos and don’ts during the activity. After, you are directed to the gorilla group which you are trek and then follow the appointed ranger guide to the park rain forests in search of the mountain gorillas and once found, you will be allowed to spend some time in their presence as you enjoy their daily lifestyles feeding, grooming, playing and others. After, you will head back to the starting point where you will pick your certificates of recognition.
Rwenzori mountains national park
Also known as the Mountains of the moon, Rwenzori mountains national park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site named after magical and ice glaciated Rwenzori mountains – the highest in Uganda and the third highest on the African continent. Located in the south western Uganda, Rwenzori ranges are among the best destinations for hiking experiences on the African continent aside Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro of Tanzania. It stretches over districts of Kasese, Bundibugyo and Kabarole and they stand at a height of 5,109 meters with Margherita on Mount Stanly as the highest summit.
There are different packages for the Rwenzori mountains from the 1 day to 9 days mountaineering hike. There are different routes used to hike to the summit of the mountains and among these include the Kilembe route, a privately-owned route and the central circuit route which is owned by the community or locals. All the routes offer amazing views of different features like lakes, rivers, beautiful plant life, waterfalls and glaciers.
Best time to visit the countries for a combined trip
Both Uganda and Rwanda can be visited all year round but the best season is in the months of January, February, June, July, August, September and December where there is less rainfall and sometimes no rain at all. During these months, the trails are always dry and unslippery thus making the movement and hiking experience a bit easier.
A sample itinerary of the combined Rwanda Gorilla Trek and Rwenzori Trek
Day 1: Arrival in Kigali
Day 2: Transfer to Volcanoes national park
Day 3: Gorilla trekking experience
Day 4: Golden monkey tracking and cross to Uganda
Day 5: day 5 to 11 (hike Rwenzori mountains)
Day 12: Drive back to Kigali for departure flight.
In conclusion, combining mountain gorillas and Rwenzori hiking require a moderate level of physical fitness, so it’s important to be adequately prepared. Make sure to obtain the necessary permits for gorilla trekking in advance, as they have limited availability and are often booked several months in advance.