Saving money on a safari is one of the most challenging things most travelers often encounter. The cost of your Rwanda safari starts right from the moment you think about departing your home country till you fly back home after appreciating what Rwanda has to offer the world when it comes to nature. Yes, there is plenty to explore in the spectacular Rwanda, the Land of a Thousand Hills but often, it comes at a cost to get there.
Rwanda positioned itself as a luxury safari destination with gorilla permits costing US$1500 per person. Despite this factor, there are several opportunities for travelers to save big on their Rwanda safaris. Here are some of the incredible tips on how to save big on your Rwanda safari.
Choose affordable destination to visit in Rwanda
When you talk about Rwanda safaris, the world has been to believe as if there is only one place to visit that is Volcanoes National Park which is visited for gorilla trekking tours. The fact is Rwanda has many other unique destinations to be visited and if you can’t do gorilla trek, you can combined it with visit to Uganda. Other than Volcanoes NP, the other available travel destination options in Rwanda include Nyungwe Forest National Park, Gishwati-Mukura National Park –the excellent destinations for you to get up close with chimpanzees and many other primates.
Akagera National Park is such an incredible savanna park that is also worth visiting on Rwanda safaris. This is the only place in Rwanda where you can see the big 5 game species in a single habitat. Away from wildlife parks, tourists can also go for Kigali city tour to explore different historical sites including genocide memorial centers like Kigali memorial site.
Consider visiting Rwanda during the low/off season
Rwanda is an open destination to travelers all year round. While the dry season also most referred to as the peak season is the most desired period of the year to enjoy Rwanda safaris, it is possible to also visit the country during the wet or off season. It is during the off season/months when most accommodation cut down on their rates thus giving you opportunity to stay in a classic lodge at a price within your wallet size. On your travel calendar, the wet or off months of the year to consider are March, April, May and October, till November.
The dry season is most desired due to its favorable weather conditions, especially if you plan to go gorilla trekking, mountain climbing/volcano hiking. The disadvantage though is that it is a peak season and the demand for accommodation plus even gorilla permits/chimpanzee permits is high.
Book budget-friendly accommodation
Yes, Rwanda is a luxury destination, but do you know that there are also plenty of budget or midrange accommodation options to choose from? On Rwanda safari, visitors don’t book only luxury safari lodges, but also other available options. Every park or destination in Rwanda has budget-friendly lodges for instance Volcanoes National Park consists of comfortable lodges like Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge, La Palme Hotel, Kinigi Guesthouse, Le Bambou Lodge, and others.
Contact the local tour operator
Planning a safari by yourself is possible but comes at a challenge, especially when it comes to finding affordable accommodation. This is why we recommend that you deal directly with the tour operator on the ground. The local tour operators have vast knowledge on the different tourism products and their rates.
Go for the activities that you can afford
On a Rwanda safari, there is more than gorilla trekking to be done. If you can’t afford a gorilla permit to track mountain gorillas in Volcanoes NP, there are also other options including volcano hiking, Dian Fossey tomb hike, cultural visits, chimpanzee trekking, golden monkey tracking, game drives, boat cruise, city tours, and many more.
Travel as a group
You can also save big on your Rwanda safari by traveling in a group. Group travel helps you share costs on a trip, especially on the car rental/transportation in Rwanda from your hotel to destinations. Sharing the trip cost is one of the best ways many travelers have managed to save much on their safaris not only to Rwanda but also in Uganda.Read More
Budgeting for your gorilla trek in Rwanda or Uganda and DR Congo appropriately guarantees you total satisfaction on gorilla safari. Gorilla trekking is one of the most sought-after adventures in Africa and prior considering taking part in this life changing experience, you must budget right for it. There is a long list of things anyone interested in participating in gorilla trekking should be put together.
In this article, we have come up with several things you should be put together when budgeting for your gorilla trek in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. We also offer variety of gorilla trekking safari packages that suit every visitors’ budget.
Budget for gorilla trekking permit in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC
When planning or budgeting for your gorilla trek, first, you must consider a gorilla trekking permit. It is an essential tool you must have if you are to engage in a gorilla trek in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. A Uganda gorilla trekking permit costs US Dollars 700 for foreign non-residents, US Dollars 600 foreign residents and shs. 250000 East African Community citizens. Visitors who may want to have more time with mountain gorillas, there is gorilla habituation experience offering you a sum of 4 hours face to face with these great apes. Permits for gorilla habituation are issued at US Dollars 1500 per person.
Rwanda, which is one of the 3 mountain gorilla trekking destinations in Africa issues out her gorilla permits at US Dollars 1500. The DR Congo which offers both mountain gorilla and Eastern lowland gorilla trek experiences, sells gorilla permits at US Dollars 450. You can have your gorilla trek tour and permits booked by our reservation team.
Budget for gorilla safari lodge/accommodation
Accommodation is essential to budget for if you are to have a complete gorilla trek in Uganda, Rwanda or DRC. All the 4 mountain gorilla trekking destinations (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Virunga National Park and Volcanoes National Park) have accommodation options ranging from budget, mid-range to luxury. You choose the best based on your wallet size. When booking for you accommodation facility for overnight stay, we make sure we find one that is near your gorilla trekking region.
Budget for transportation to and from the gorilla trekking destination
All gorilla safari parks are situated far away from city centres. This requires you to have appropriate means to connect to your preferred gorilla trekking park to enjoy your gorilla trek. The best way to reach the Volcanoes National Park for gorilla trekking is by hiring a 4×4 safari vehicle. The price for tour vehicles varies from company to company but our fleet of rental cars come at affordable rates whether you need a Safari Land Cruiser, Coaster for large groups, Safari Vans, Rav4 or Super Custom.
Alternatively, you may take flight services especially for travelers planning to visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. There are existing flight services for you to connect from Kajjansi airfield or Entebbe International Airport to Kihihi or Kisoro airstrip.
Budget for other activities in addition to gorilla trekking
Uganda, Rwanda and DRC have a lot more to offer the world besides trekking to see mountain gorillas. There are several other activities to explore within the same gorilla safari parks or other national parks. You can add chimpanzee trekking, game drives, boat cruise, bird watching, cultural safaris, nature walks, hiking adventures on your budget for gorilla trek.
Budget for your packing list for gorilla trekking
For any plans to go on a gorilla trek, there is a long list of essential items you must have to have a successful gorilla experience. They include a good camera with no flashlight, hiking boots-waterproof, snacks, rain coat/jacket/poncho, gardening gloves, long-sleeved shirt, hat, sunscreen, first aid kit, gorilla permit, toiletries, sweaters, binoculars, insect repellents, trousers, socks and many others.Read More
With only about 5 days in Rwanda, you are wondering whether there are exciting ways to explore the beauty of this small remarkable country. Make use of your limited time in this country to explore the Kigali Genocide Memorial site, see local handicrafts and try haggling at the busy Kimironko market during the legendary Kigali, indulge in a cultural experience by visiting Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village, embark on a tour of Volcanoes National Park with options of trekking endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, enjoy a chimp trek and Canopy walk in Nyungwe Forest National Park. For our most selling 5 days in Rwanda package, we recommend spending your time to;
On the first day, you arrive in Rwanda early, where a Company Driver guide will be waiting to pick you up and drop you at the Hotel for meals (depending on the time of arrival). Explore the best of Rwanda’s Capital City (Kigali) and the spectacular countryside that surrounds it. Depending on the amount of time at your exposure, you try haggling at the Kimironko local market, take a tour of the Kigali Genocide Memorial Site, and craft market but these places are visited while paying attention to the time. This is because on this day you will proceed to Volcanoes National Park within the Northern Province while relishing views of the countryside and you will be there late in the evening for check-in.
Begin the second day with breakfast and preparation for the adventure of the day. This is followed by a registration and briefing process at the Kinigi Park Headquarters in anticipation of unforgettable experiences. Keep your backpack and other trekking gear on hand while exploring the jungles for mountain gorillas and in the afternoon you can opt to relax at the Lodge, visit the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village or take a boat ride along the Twin Lakes of Bulera and Ruhondo.
On the third day, you will return back to the verdant and incredibly beautiful jungle, this time to track the endangered and frisky golden monkeys, and the pre-tracking process (briefing and registration) is similar to the one done the previous day. The morning begins as early as 6:00 am with breakfast then continues for a briefing by 7:00 am and so far two habituated troops occupy the foothills of Mount Sabyinyo. In the afternoon you are transferred to Lake Kivu shores for unwinding while enjoying views of the calm Lake as well as surrounding rolling hills.
The next day you continue to Nyungwe Forest National Park, where chimpanzees a trekked in addition to the canopy walk. This journey comes with a scenic drive while relishing views of the jaw-dropping countryside with terraced hills and views of the iconic Lake Kivu. In the afternoon you will already be in Nyungwe Forest National Park for a hot meal, cold shower and later have another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to exploring the breathtaking canopy walk where numerous species of primates, birds, and unique species of trees will be seen.
On the last day be up early for breakfast and another briefing/registration within Uwinka Reception Center then undertake the trek for Chimpanzees deep in their natural habitat. Once found, participants are provided one hour of observation and photography before continuing back to the Lodge. The thick Afro-montane forest makes chimp treks challenging but the playful and human-like traits of these creatures make treks worthwhile. Next, we drive back to Kigali City via the beautiful Royal Palace at Nyanza and Ethnographic Museum in Butare, if time allows. Note that this is just one of the ways how to spend 5 days safari in Rwanda.
Camouflaged among the heavily forested and misty mountains of Rwanda, are the World’s most endangered Great Apes, threatened by habitat loss and other human factors. Mountain gorillas are one of the World’s most successful conservation stories and are so far the only primate species in the world with growing numbers, and Rwanda’s blossoming tourism industry has been centered on gorillas.
Coming face to face with mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is an extraordinary opportunity and one of the most unforgettable wildlife encounters you will ever experience in a lifetime. It is undeniably beautiful but also not an easy feat with several hours of maneuvering your way through the dense, muddy, and slippery African jungles but the moment you are already there to watch baby gorillas breastfeeding or playing, juveniles hanging on trees, and silverbacks sizing up, your life will never be the same again.
Interesting and emotional are the two main words used to describe the rare encounter with mountain gorillas in their natural habitats.
Where to trek mountain gorillas in Rwanda
With more than half the World’s 1063 remaining mountain gorillas occupying the mountain slopes of Virunga Volcanoes of East and Central Africa-Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, about 35% of them are in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. This Conservation Area is situated within the north-western corner of the country and has about 12 habituated gorilla groups. The number of visitors in each gorilla group is strictly limited to 8 persons; hence only 96 gorilla permits are available each day.
The Gorilla Groups in Volcanoes National Park include Karisimbi (Susa B), Susa A, Sabyinyo, Hirwa, Kwitonda, Agashya (Group 13), Umubano, Ugenda, Amahoro, Bwenge, Titus, and Pablo.
What to expect during gorilla trekking in Rwanda
Typical gorilla trekking adventures in Rwanda begin early in the morning by assembling at Kinigi Headquarters in Volcanoes National Park by 7:00 am. This is done for registration and briefing from one of the Park rangers. Embark on the search for the allocated gorilla group, at about 8:30 am and take about 1-6 hours. Trekkers are required to return back to the Lodge by evening.
The duration and difficulty of trekking, personal interests as well as your level of physical fitness are some of the important factors in determining what gorilla group you will trek to. You don’t have to be a weight lifter or gym addict and super fit for gorilla trekking but instead, you need a reasonable level of fitness. The team of professional guides, armed rangers, and trackers will take you through the hiking trails in search of the allocated gorilla group. The forest trails can be muddy and slippery even during the drier months and sometimes humid under the forest canopy.
When you finally meet the mountain gorillas, you will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of spending up to one hour quietly observing and taking photographs in their natural habitat. Keep a few meters away from the gorillas as they go about their daily routine-interacting with one another, munching, resting, and grooming under the watchful gaze of huge silverbacks. Talk in low voices while watching the gorillas and sudden loud movements should be avoided.
Excitement is inevitable but try as much as possible to express it quietly. Maintain a 7-meter distance from the gorillas and avoid touching them under any circumstances. Much as they have been habituated to be accustomed to human presence, they are still wild animals. It is therefore important to keep in mind the guidelines issued by your guides during the briefing and while interacting with gorillas.
Rwanda Gorilla Permits
Trekking Rwanda Gorillas is strictly managed to protect the endangered Great Apes within their natural habitats as well as increasing their chances of blossoming. A permit is, therefore, a requirement for trekking gorillas within Volcanoes National Park. There are presently only 12 habituated gorilla groups open for trekking and only 8 visitors can visit each of them. This means permits are limited to only 96 each day.
These gorilla permits presently go for $1500 per person per trek (as of August 2021) and include Park entrance fees, expert trackers, armed rangers, and guides. This price doesn’t include hiring porters and tipping.
Age restrictions of Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
Trekkers of Rwanda gorillas have to be at least 15 years of age because of safety reasons. This also applies to gorilla safaris in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Important things to pack for Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
Enough preparation is an important factor to achieving an unforgettable gorilla trekking experience in Rwanda although overpacking is also disastrous. Our recommended packing list for gorilla trekking in Rwanda should include light and breathable safari pants, strong waterproof hiking boots, long-sleeved shirts, warm clothing (sweater) for cold mornings and nights, gardening gloves, toiletries (bite relief cream, toothbrush, sun cream, toothpaste, lip balm, deodorants, and many others), a small backpack for carrying extra clothes, jacket, camera, drinking water, binoculars, snacks, and lunch box), reusable water bottle, a wide-brimmed hat, snacks, good non-flash camera with extra batteries and lenses, Multi-purpose travel adaptor, pair of binoculars, first aid kit and insect repellant.
Best time to trek Gorillas in Rwanda
Mountain gorillas in Rwanda are trekked all year round yet the best time is usually during the dry season from June to September when the forest is less muddy and slippery much as it is also important to expect rains any time of the year.
The Months of April and May are always the wettest hence hiking trails tend to be muddy. Nonetheless, gorilla treks can still go on even during the rainy months, and treks are easier since gorillas usually climb higher up the mountains during the dry months and descend during the wet months. Wet months also offer the most beautiful backdrops and conditions for photography in Rwanda.
Places to stay when trekking Rwanda Gorillas
As far as trekking Rwanda Gorillas is concerned, we advise staying near Volcanoes National Park for easy connectivity to the Park Headquarters. Therefore, our selection for the best places to stay while trekking Rwanda Gorillas include Virunga Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Muhabura Hotel, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, One & Only Gorilla’s Nest, Kinigi Guesthouse, Bisate Lodge, Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge, and many others.
How to reach Volcanoes National Park
Flights are the main way to reach Rwanda via Kigali International Airport. On getting cleared with immigration at the Airport, you will be met by a representative of the Tour and Travel Company your gorilla safari was booked with. In this case, our professional safari driver will meet and drive to your place of stay. We advise that you spend a night/s within the City on the first day of your trip but if you arrive earlier, you can make your way straight to Volcanoes National Park. This amazing safari destination is only 65 miles from the Capital City and about 2-3 hours’ drive from the Airport.
Rental cars in Rwanda offer amazing opportunity for holidaymakers to indulge themselves into Rwanda’s magical wilderness area. Car hire services provide ultimate Rwanda experiences and visitors have variety to choose their best ride. Our fleet of rental cars in Rwanda range from budget Toyota Rav4, Mini Vans, Sedans, Super Customs, Land cruisers with and without rooftop tents to coaster buses for large group safaris.
We have the most affordable rental cars in Rwanda, full-serviced, comprehensively insured. They are also fitted with lots of amenities/facilities/features all aimed at making your Rwanda road trip memorable. Some of the features you will enjoy when you rent our cars range from air conditioners, CD player, FM radio to adequate space in the seats and at the boot for cargo.
Looking for a comfortable budget ride? 4×4 Toyota Rav4 is the best recreational active vehicle anyone on budget tour in Rwanda should consider a must to hire. Rav4 rentals come in compact sizes which makes them the simplest to manage unlike others. They are suitable for solo travel, self-drive, city expeditions, business trips or conference. Hire our Toyota Rav4 and enjoy incredible features ranging from FM radio, air conditioner, adequate cargo and leg room, MP3/CD player.
Land Cruiser Prado
Rent our comfortable Land cruiser Prados- full time 4×4 drive that come in medium size with a capacity of 6pax. Hiring our 4×4 Land cruiser Prado lets you enjoy amazing features that come with it and these range from CD/MP3 player, air conditioner, FM radio and many more. We have a range of rental Land cruiser Prado rentals suitable for family tours, self-drive, airport transfers, conference and others. They come in various models ranging from Land cruiser TX, Land cruiser V8, Land cruiser LX or rent Land cruiser GX.
Safari Land cruiser
We have the best Safari Land cruiser with capacity of 7pax. Our Land cruiser rentals for safaris in Rwanda are suitable for camping, airport transfers, family tours, driver guided tours and others. The amenities to expect to cross in this particular rental car model include 2 spare tyre, air conditioner, inbuilt fridge, rooftop tent and MP3 or CD player.
Safari Mini Van
Rent Safari Mini Vans for all your Rwanda holiday safaris and you be left in regrets. We have comfortable Safari Mini Van rentals in their medium sizes and they are suitable for sightseeing in Rwanda. They are available with a carrying capacity of up to 9pax with adequate space, clean seats, air conditioner, FM radio. Other than sightseeing, our Minivans are also suitable for game viewing, family tours, picnics, group trips or camping.
Find the best Toyota Super Custom rental for all your safari holidays in Rwanda. Our Super Custom rentals are available and carry up to 6pax, fitted with incredible features that your road trip unforgettable. These range from CD/MP3 player, Sun roof, adjustable seats, air conditioner and they are suitable for city tours, guided tours, airport transfers or business tours.
Nissan Patrol rental is comfortable and available with capacity of 4pax. It stands out of the many rental cars because of its ability to tackle all kinds of terrains, its adequate space and other features. We have the best Nissan Patrol for hire if you are interested in wildlife viewing, self-drive or driver guided tour.
Toyota Land cruiser TX
Enjoy a Rwanda holiday only using a full-time 4×4 Toyota Land cruiser TX. This is one of our classic Toyota Land cruiser rentals with capacity of 5pax. It is fitted with air conditioner and available in manual or automatic transmission.
Land cruiser V8 with rooftop tent
Land cruiser V8 with rooftop tent rental offers ultimate road trip in Rwanda. This is available with camping gear, 5 seats, unlimited mileage, diesel engine and manual transmission.
Land cruiser Hard Top Extended
A Rwanda road trip is enjoyable while in our full-time 4×4 Land cruiser Hard Top Extended rental. It is an ideal choice for game viewing in Akagera National Park Rwanda. It is fitted with amazing features such as mini-fridge, air conditioners.
Small or large group safaris, we have you covered with our comfortable Coaster bus rentals. These are available with capacity range of 12 to 28pax all fitted with air conditioners, mini-fridge, clean and comfortable seats for you to have ultimate Rwanda road trip.Read More
Rwanda is one of the most beautiful countries in Africa with unique attractions, thrilling adventurous things to do, rare sightings and interesting scenery. Rwanda safaris have been the favorite for many wild life lovers all over the world. They contain the outstanding wildlife viewing, fabulous food, luxury air-conditioned lodging, and a personal guide of exceptional quality and experience.
The Volcanoes National Park, in northern Rwanda is home to the world’s largest number of rare mountain gorillas offering travelers with the rare opportunity to see the mountain gorillas in the wild. The park is the prime spot for gorilla trekking in Africa, a thrilling adventure on which tourists hike into the wild looking for the ancient apes. Today Rwanda gorilla safaris are the among the top adventures to take on a holiday within Africa.
The Akagera National Park in eastern Rwanda is full of wildlife both large and small animals including herds of elephant and buffaloes, Giraffes and zebras. The Nyungwe Forest is another amazing spot, home to thirteen different species including chimpanzees. The park is most popular for chimpanzee tracking and the only canopy walk in Eastern Africa.
Rwanda is developing as one of the best destinations for those fascinated in cultural tourism. All the tourists who are looking forward to a most pleasant, daring and awesome vacations can opt for this option to enjoy their vacation. The payment packages to take these holidays are even cheap and their travel guides are given by the department with the help of safari websites. The people can forget all their worries and tension and spend some days with thrilling and superb moments.
Rwanda safaris are something that every person should experience at least once in their lifetime. While on safari, you get a great experience of getting back to nature. Most people only get a true sense of nature and wild life when they go on a safari. Zoos and nature specials do not do wild animals justice. Being up close and personal with animals such as lions, tigers, giraffes, wildebeests, and cougars can be an incredible thing to experience.
Rwanda is a beautiful African nation that struggled with genocide in the 1990s. The country has had its share of struggles and now has gone through a rebirth. Going on a safari is very safe and there are great travel packages to choose from. A vacation is often boring and dull because after a few days you have checked out mentally. A safari is a great vacation where you will be on your toes at all times because you will be staring at beautiful animals in their natural setting.
I wish you a memorable holiday into Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills.Read More
Mountain Gorilla tracking in Rwanda is one of the safari activities that is loved by many tourists who visit this country. There are several gorilla families that have been habituated for gorilla visits. Gorilla tracking has been one of the iconic activities since the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) introduced a ceremony of naming newly born gorillas called Kwita Iziina and it is carried out mainly in Volcanoes National Park which is located in the north west of the country bordering Rwanda, Congo and Uganda. This activity has been mostly enjoyed and done by foreign tourists because of its prices that are cheap compared to the dollar rates. When you try to compare gorilla trekking in Rwanda and in the other countries like Uganda were it is done in bwindi impenetrable national park and DRC, you may wonder why Rwanda receives more than ever before.
Although countries like Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) do this activity as also as their main safari activity that brings in more income compared to other activities, Rwanda leads all of them in terms of number of tourists yearning for this activity. More so when you look at the gorilla permits that are sold at US$1500 that are higher than the rest of the countries (Uganda and DRC) because they do offer reliable good accommodation compared to other countries when it comes to offering good services to tourists.
To enjoy this activity in particular, there are number factors that are needed or considered when doing this activity one of them is climate and weather of the given national park. Mountain Gorilla tracking is mostly done in dry conditions which are favorable to both the tourists and the primates themselves.
To perform this activity in a wide scale, the dry periods of June to September, then from December, January and February are the best periods receiving good temperatures that favor gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park. it is for this reason that during this period, roads leading to the park in most cases are not muddy which eases movements of cars driving tourists to the national park and also, with in the park most especially when there is a safari that is going on. Furthermore, in this period, prices for gorilla tracking tend to be high than other periods because tourists tend to be many because of the favorable climate that does not stop them from trekking. When you look at these primates in this period, their movements is limited in other words, they tend hide since in that time, there is limited food that is already for eating meaning taking gorilla tracking as an activity may take long to finish as the activity may even start from morning until in the evening hours trekking for a specific Gorilla family unlike in other periods which are wet.
When you look at another side of the coin, the wet periods of March, April and May tend to be wet making the movements of the tourists more difficult or limited causing a scare to the tourism industry in terms of revenue to the government. During this season, at the top most of highlands in volcanoes national park, temperatures tend to be cooler. And that is why gorilla tracking in this period takes a short period of time from 1 to 2 hours because these primates do not normally move alot when food is not in plenty. It is for this reason that tourists end up doing a double trek than what they asked to do.Read More
Whenever a name “mountain gorilla” is mentioned, many people’s minds drift to Africa which is the only continent that harbors them. However, these endangered species are found in a few selective countries (Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo) and a gorilla trekking safari to any of these destinations is a life time experience that you will live to tell. Trust me a face-to-face encounter with these human-like apes is a life changing experience which is associated with magnificent adventures.
Where to trek the gorillas from
A thrilling gorilla trekking tour is restricted to a few remote but easily accessed destinations in the three countries of Africa. Mainly known for their elegant lifestyle, Western lowland gorillas can be well trekked in Democratic Republic of Congo’s primeval forests. Uganda and Rwanda are blessed with the rare mountain gorillas and Uganda has the highest number of about 400 gorillas. In these two countries, the best points of having a glance at the gorillas are; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda and Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda.
Gorillas have a human-like way of living and they live in close-knit family groups, have many emotional gestures that we human beings have, like delight, get irritated and have affections. All these characteristics make them the second closest primate to human beings, second to the chimpanzees.
When should you tour and what to expect
Though a gorilla trekking safari can never be a regret at any time of year in Uganda and Rwanda, there are best times to enjoy this wonderful experience. Both countries share almost the same weather changes each with two dry seasons; mid-December- February and June-September. These are the best seasons to visit these East African countries specifically for gorilla trekking. However, the activity becomes more tiresome during a wet season because of the wet and muddy steep slopes plus tangled vegetation which you must penetrate through before encountering the gorillas. Never the less, the hustle is worth it once you get close to the primates in their natural habitats.
Once you have located and found a gorilla family, first relax for about an hour at the sometime viewing the gorillas at a close range as they feed and groom. Witness the playful lifestyle of young gorillas in the wild as they jump from one end to another tumbling about the undergrowth. They do this well assured of the security from the great male silverback.
However, you are required to meet some conditions before embarking on this adventurous activity like fitness, equipped for humid and muddy conditions of the rain forest hike. Your health is one of the key considerations because gorilla trekking is physical and gorillas are susceptible to many human diseases.
Since its Africa, the adventure that surrounds the great apes does not end with the gorillas. Chimpanzee trekking is one of the rapidly growing tourism activities in Africa. Viewing the chimps and other primate species on your gorilla trek is not enough but making an actual visit to some of the stand-alone chimpanzee trekking destinations is the best idea. There are several places in Africa designated for chimpanzee trekking and among them include; Mahale Mountains and Gombe Stream of Tanzania, Queen Elizabeth, Murchison and Kibale National Parks of Uganda.
Chimpanzee and Gorilla trekking are quite different each with its own unique adventure expossed to tourists. Chimps live in a more terrain environment and they are harder to find while trekking compared to the gorillas. In most cases, chimpanzee trekking is an additional activity to a big game safari but for a gorilla-like face-to-face encounter experience, it is the best alternative. Just like gorillas, chimp trekking takes an hour.
How to go Gorilla Trekking
Unlike chimpanzee trekking which is still in its initial stages, gorilla trekking, has tighter regulations which a visitor must adhere to. To be on a safer side, you are advised to use a credible tour company on your safari to Uganda and Rwanda .Your are required to obtain a gorilla trekking permit which gives you a go-ahead to enjoy the activity. These permits are limited most especially during the peak seasons and therefore a visitor should book in time before his/her gorilla trekking tour.
Why go for a gorilla trekking safari
The mere fact that gorillas are not habituated like other animals makes it clear that you can’t find them in a zoo .This is why you must make a gorilla trekking safari to Rwanda and Uganda if interested in the activity and view the gorillas in their natural habitats. The best places for trekking these elegant primates are; Bwindi Impenetrable forest and Volcanoes National Parks of Uganda and Rwanda consecutively.
You don’t need to worry about penetrating through dense forests because there are guides who will move along with you on your trek
Don’t forget to carry a camera along with you for taking clear photographs with these rare primates. However, you are advised to keep the flush of your camera off to avoid irritating the gorillas. Also keep a distance of about 6 meters away from the gorillas to avoid accidents.
About gorilla trekking
Gorilla trekking in simple terms means penetrating through dense forests and narrow paths for hours in searching for the mountain gorillas. For a successful trek, make sure you are fit, in normal conditions and well equipped for the tough environment. Some of the key things that you should carry for security purposes include; broken-in hiking boots, knee-high gaiters, double layered socks and more others. Please take note that unless you prove that you are not sick, you won’t be allowed to go trekking because gorillas are highly susceptible to human illnesses.
When to trek
The climatic conditions of these two countries (Uganda and Rwanda) are identical and it’s more weather friendly to come for gorilla trekking during the two dry seasons of the year. These dry seasons are mid-December to end of February and June to late September. However, even during these seasons, expect a humid and wet environment with plenty of mud.
You will need to travel quite a long distance to reach the rainforests where gorillas are found. This means that an enough rest before the trekking day is a must to avoid complications.
Sometimes, it becomes hard to see the gorillas while in the forest and this is why a guide might ask you to keep silent while trekking. Mountain gorillas are fond of hiding in the leaves busy feeding and enjoying the heat from the sun making it hard to see them.
A gorilla safari to Uganda and Rwanda avails more than 95% chances of encountering the rare primates.
Just after finding a gorilla family, your guide will ask you to drop everything somewhere except the cameras and he/she will take you closer to them for observing and taking photographs. At this point, you are advised to avoid any irritating behaviors which threaten the gorillas. It is a live experience in the wild since there are no fences between you and gorillas and what makes it a success is the mutual respect for the primates that is require from you.
Unlike other primates, gorillas are habituated to human beings and while observing, they will continue doing their own business of napping, foraging and grooming without any fear in them.
Don’t miss out on the most interesting point of the trek and always portion your time with the gorillas well. Make sure you spend more time viewing and the remaining time taking photographs.
Sit a few meters away from a gorilla family and witness the humanity reflections in their social rituals and warm brown eyes.
In conclusion, a gorilla trekking safari to Uganda and Rwanda cannot be compared to any other tourism activity because of the life-experience that a tourist is exposed to.Read More