A visit to Volcanoes National Park in Northwestern Rwanda rewards travel endeavors with magical encounters. If you are planning to trek mountain gorillas while on African safari then count this park a must to visit. Besides gorillas, it is also a host to five scenic volcanoes that make up eight Virunga Mountain ranges (Karisimbi, Gahinga volcano, Muhabura, Bisoke and Sabyinyo volcano). It covers an area of 160 square kilometers making it one of the smallest national parks in Africa.
Where to trek mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park
Gorilla treks in Volcanoes National Park are conducted in any of its 10 habituated gorilla families set for tourism. They include the Susa family which formerly comprised of 42 members and features as one of the most demanding and ideal for visitors who need challenging treks. The Susa B which is also known as Karisimbi group is another significant group to explore in this park; Sabyinyo, Amahoro gorilla group, Agashya family, Umubano group, Kwitonda, Hirwa group, Bwenge group and Ugenda. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is best conducted along the steep slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes-Volcanoes National Park and each habituated gorilla group requires different level of physical fitness.
Only 1 hour is given to visitors to have a face to face encounter with these large apes and opportunity for you to also explore more about their behavior, body gestures and take as many photos as possible. The length of the trek differs depending on your hiking speed, nature of habitat where these creatures live and their location.
When to go for gorilla trekking in Rwanda
Gorilla treks in Rwanda Volcanoes National Park can be done at any time of the year. However, it is important that you take note of the dry and wet season. The dry season starts from June-September and December – February-this is usually the peak season and most preferred by many visitors due to favorable conditions. But the wet season is equally good and it starts from March to May and from October to November.
The cost of gorilla permits in Rwanda
With a gorilla permit at hand, visitors get about 95% chances to track mountain gorillas. As well, it is what gets you only 1 hour to have a face to face with a group of mountain gorillas. In Rwanda, gorilla permits cost $1500 per person and you can obtain one through a ground tour operator or reservationist at Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
Dress code for gorilla treks in Rwanda
Not all clothes or dress code is needed for this adventure. For any plans to track mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, the following items should be a must to include in your packing list; long sleeved shirts or T-shirts, trousers, insect repellents, first aid kit, waterproof boots, light rain jacket or poncho, camera with no flashlight, bottled water and snacks a mention but a few.
Where to stay while on gorilla safari in Volcanoes National Park
When it comes to gorilla safaris in Volcanoes National Park, visitors are presented with wide range of accommodation options. They include among others Sabyinyo silverback-the best lodge in East Africa that offers luxurious services to its clients and value for money consider this lodge a must to spend a night. Virunga safari lodge, an eco friendly lodge that offers the perfect views on the Virunga volcanoes and scenic lakes in Africa. Others include Bisate lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Kinigi Guesthouse, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge and many others.
In conclusion, gorilla trekking in Rwanda is only conducted in Volcanoes National Park and while on safari in Africa, count it a must to include in your travel plan.