Rwanda Gorillas

Gorilla Trekking Rwanda

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Gorillas in Rwanda

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Spend time with some of the last mountain gorillas in the world, a true bucket list experience.

Mountain gorilla tracking in Rwanda is often described as a life-changing experience, and with just over 1,000 of these gentle giants remaining in the world - seeing them up close in their natural habitat is something you’ll not easily forget.

These critically endangered primates are fascinating to sit and watch, the chance to come face to face with a silverback and his family, is an experience that will stay with you forever. Typically, visitors spend a couple days in gorilla country, where they also enjoy encounters with other animals such as golden monkeys, colobus monkeys and other primates.

Gorilla trekking safaris happen throughout the year, although the most popular periods are during the drier months between December and February, and June to mid-September which offer the easiest hiking conditions.

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Silverback Gorilla Pnv Rwanda Development Board

Do I need a permit?

Permits are required for gorilla trekking and these should be obtained well in advance of travelling to Rwanda to avoid disappointment. These are usually arranged and booked by a local tour operator through the Rwandan Widlife Authorities, who can take care of all the formalities on your behalf. A permit costs USD $1,500 per person and allows the holder to spend up to one hour with a gorilla family. It is expensive, but the experience is worth every penny, and the funds help to strengthen conservation efforts and the development of local communities. There is an age restriction with gorilla trekking and participants must be older than 15 years of age.

A maximum of eight people can visit one gorilla group each day. For conservation reasons and to limit disturbance, gorilla trekking only takes place during the morning, and time spent with the family is strictly limited to one hour. Other reasons for the time limitations and distance kept from the gorillas is to minimise the chance of humans passing any illness to the gorillas – they share a 98% DNA similarity so are exceptionally susceptible to human diseases.

Rwanda  Gorilla  Trek

What happens on the day of gorilla tracking?

A typical day begins with an early morning safety and etiquette briefing at the Park HQ, during which visitors are allocated to different gorilla family groups. Rangers lead visitors through the forest, staying in constant radio communication with the trackers who stay with the gorilla family so that they can be easily located. Sightings are not guaranteed but the communication between the teams make them highly likely.

Gorillas trekking does require a moderate level of fitness as it can be over strenuous terrain. However, don’t be deterred. Generally, people are grouped together in similar levels of fitness, ability and will go at the pace of the slowest person in the group. Appropriate gorilla families will also be selected according to group ability – some treks can be a moderate stroll and others will be clambering through the dense vegetation of the rainforest. All are fantastic and rewarding experiences, so you’ll not be disappointed.

Gorilla In  Rwanda

How close will I get to the gorillas?

To protect the health of the gorillas, it is mandatory to keep a distance of seven meters from the gentle giants, however, gorillas don’t always take heed of this notice and it’s not uncommon for one of these black-fuzzed titans to walk right past you. Guests are also asked to keep voices down as low as possible from when within about 200 meters of the Gorillas.

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