A journey to see the mountain gorilla
Gorilla trekking brings you face to face with the mountain gorillas in the most exciting experience in Africa
The world's remaining mountain gorillas live in three countries
spanning four national parks - Bwindi Impenetrable National Park,
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Virunga
In Rwanda, you may only track gorilla within Volcanoes
National Park, a section of the bigger Virunga mountains.
Approximately 480 mountain gorillas live in the Virunga complex and reside on the altitude range of 2,300 to 4,500 meters in the southern area of Virunga National Park (in the DRC), as well as the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and some in Uganda' s Mgahinga National Park. Gorilla Permit Availability and Cost Gorilla tracking permits are limited to 8 permits per gorilla family per day.
In Rwanda, 56 permits are available per day and in Uganda, 32. Mgahinga has 8 per day. Gorilla permits currently cost $600 per permit in Uganda, and $1500 per permit in Rwanda. Permits cannot be reserved and as such, have to be bought and paid in full on date of booking. As such, there may be 24 permits available for a specific date when you make an enquiry and the next day, all permits may be sold.
Once you have decided on your date of tracking, if permits are available we will request full payment for the permit. If by the time the funds are cleared the permits have been sold out, we will give a full refund. Once the permit is bought and secured, there is a 100% cancellation penalty.
Day One: Kigali
Arrival at Kigali airport, meet and greet . Time allowing, we will visit the Gisozi Genocide Memorial, and crafts village. After lunch we will drive to Ruhengeri and Kinigi, the HQ of Volcanoes NP, home of the endangered mountain gorilla, about 2.5hr hour drive, until we reach the base of Sabinyo mountain, home to the Mountain Gorilla. Dinner and overnight at Hotel
Day Two: Gorilla Safari Tour
After an early breakfast, we will be head to the national park headquarters to be briefed by the park rangers before departing for the trek in search for the Great Mountain Gorillas. The excursion in a thick rainforest and the interaction with the mountain gorilla/ape, is a lifetime experience. We will have lunch after returning from the hike to the hotel. In the afternoon we return to Kigali . Dinner.
Day Three: Depart
Breakfast before being transferred to the airport for your departure flight at the end of your Rwanda Gorilla Tracking Tour.
End of services
Gorilla are tracked from the Parc National des Volcans which currently has 7 groups and thus 56 permits available per day. The gorilla families here are those of Group 13, Sabinyo (which also has the largest of al the silver backs, Kahunga), Amahoro, Umubano, Susa, Kwitonda which has crossed from Djomba in the DRC and Hirwa which has recently formed from different habituated families. The Susa group is the largest and thus the best for photographic purposes.
The Gorillas in Uganda, live in the areas of Bwindi which has four habituated families with 32 permits now available per day. Three of the families are in Buhoma, namely Mubare, Habinyanja, and Rushegura and one in Nkuringo, called the Nkuringo group. This particular group, is difficult to track.
The Bwindi forest is a very thick lush tropical forest on steep sides slopes and so tracking the gorilla can be a lot harder going than in Rwanda. It is far more challenging because of the hills and can take anywhere between 3 and 10 hours in total, from start to finish. On the odd occasion, one is lucky enough to find the gorilla quickly, particularly if they are on the lower slopes. Access to the Nkuringo group is on a very steep trail.
There is also a group in Mgahinga, but the family tend to migrate between there and the Congo and as such, one cannot purchase a permit in advance. The only way to arrive to the park on the day with cash, and purchase the permits if the Gorillas are available to be seen.
Light cotton clothing.
A fleece for the evening hours
Waterproof hiking shoes
Rain gear (light)
A day pack to carry water and food for the hike
A bathing suit
Light weight gloves
These depend on the time of year you travel. Evenings are generally quite crisp and so a light weight jacket is important. Days can get very hot and humid. Rain fall comes in two seasons, October to November, and March to May, when conditions can become quite muddy.
Once a habituated gorilla family has been located by your guide, you will have one hour with the family unless circumstances dictate that you leave earlier.
You must be fit enough to be able to hike anything from 1-6 hours in rough terrain and through dense forest in places. You also need to be prepared for all kinds of weather. If you are reasonable fit there should not be a problem.
In theory you need to maintain a 7m or 27 foot distance between you and the gorilla. However, you will find they sometimes will come close to you. You are not allowed to touch the gorillas.