Gorilla Trekking Safaris in Rwanda | Best Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Safaris (Packages)
The unique opportunity to see gorillas on a Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris trip in their natural habitat is unforgettable, some even say life-changing. Encounters with gorillas as they go about their daily lives are carefully managed, with expert trackers and guides leading small groups of tourists up bamboo-covered slopes to spend a precious and awe-inspiring hour just a few feet away from the gentle creatures. The largest living primate, gorillas are spread across much of the equatorial African rainforest. Broadly speaking, the species is split into lowland gorillas and mountain gorillas. The volcanic range which spans Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to the endangered mountain gorilla. Trekking gorilla safaris in Rwanda is safe and relatively accessible.
How Many Mountain Gorillas Are Left in the Virunga Massif?
At the latest count, there are approximately 1,000 mountain gorillas in the wild, with 604 in the Virunga Massif. The population is slowly increasing, thanks to concerted efforts between our governments, communities, and NGOs. Twelve gorilla families are living in the Volcanoes National Park, which is fully habituated, with a few others habituated solely for scientific research.
How Many Mountain Gorilla Families in Rwanda? Volcanoes National Park
The groups, or troops, consisted of at least one silverback along with several females and youngsters. Six tracking permits are issued per Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris tour troop per day, meaning the encounter is as intimate and as unobtrusive as possible. With only 96 permits available each day in Rwanda, it is highly recommended to book in advance, either online or via a reputable tour operator like us Confidence Africa Tours.
Visitors gather at the Volcanoes National Park headquarters in Kinigi at 7 am, and are allocated a family group on the day according to fitness levels, as well as being briefed on protocols and rules for visiting the gorillas. The families are known as Susa, Igisha, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Amahoro, Agashya, Kwitonda, Umubano, Hirwa, Bwenge, Ugyenda, and Muhoza.
How Long are Gorilla Trekking Safaris in Rwanda?
Hikes up to their various locations can last anything from 30 minutes to four or more hours, reaching an altitude of between 2,500m and 4,000m. Porters are available to carry backpacks and cameras, as well as to offer a helping hand along the route. 10% of the revenue from the permits is channeled towards local communities, to build schools and health centers, as well as roads. There is a compensation fund for local farmers should any gorillas damage their crops, which helps to ensure peaceful co-existence.
How does the Community Benefit from Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda?
Gorilla tracking safaris in Rwanda also employ many locals, from rangers and trackers to porters, drivers, and staff at tourist lodges. For those interested in tracing the footsteps of Dian Fossey, her tomb is a 30-minute drive from the park headquarters and then a two or three hours hike through the forest, to above 3,000m altitude. The annual Kwita Izina gorilla-naming ceremony is a special time to visit the Volcanoes National Park, with guided tours leading up to the main event providing an opportunity to meet park staff and conservationists, and attend cultural evenings and a celebration in Musanze. At the naming ceremony itself, there’s music, dancing, and discussion about Rwanda’s great strides in gorilla conservation, and the great challenges that remain.