Choosing the best time for gorilla trekking in Rwanda will get you the best experience.
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda can be done at Volcanoes National Park, located in the northwestern part of the country.
The park is the most visited destination in the country, attracting tourists throughout the year who come to trek the endangered mountain gorilla species, a subspecies of eastern gorillas.
Volcanoes National Park not only houses mountain gorillas but also offers visitors the opportunity for mountain climbing, with five of the Virunga volcanoes found within the park.
These volcanoes include Mount Sabyinyo at 3,669 meters above sea level, Mount Gahinga at 3,474 meters above sea level, Mount Karisimbi at 5,507 meters above sea level, and Mount Muhabura at 4,127 meters above sea level.
The park is home to ten habituated gorilla families, and eight permits are allocated to each group for trekking per day.
The gorilla families in Rwanda include Susa A group, Titus group, Bwenge group, Karisimbi gorilla group, Ugenda gorilla group, Kwitonda gorilla group, Hirwa gorilla group, Umubano group, Agashya group, Sabyinyo group, and Amahoro gorilla family.
Each group offers a unique gorilla trekking experience.
The best time for gorilla trekking in Rwanda is during the short dry season from December to early February and the long dry months of June to September.
Attempting gorilla trekking during the wet season can be challenging due to impassable roads and muddy, slippery trekking trails.
Rwanda experiences average temperatures of around 22°C, dropping to 12°C at night, with an annual rainfall ranging from 1000-2000 mm.
During the peak season, it’s essential to acquire gorilla permits three months in advance, as they are in high demand.
Rwanda offers a more luxurious gorilla trekking experience compared to Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Gorilla permits in Rwanda cost $1500 per person, and children under the age of 15 years are not allowed to trek mountain gorillas.
Visitors need to be prepared for unpredictable weather conditions, so waterproof hiking boots, rain jackets, drinking water, garden gloves, energy snacks, long-sleeved clothes, and insect repellents are essential.
Volcanoes National Park provides various accommodation options, including budget, mid-range, and luxurious lodges such as Gorilla Volcanoes Hotel, Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge, La Palme Hotel, Five Volcanoes Hotel, Mountain Gorilla Nest Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Hotel, and Garden Place Hotel, among others.
The park can be reached within a 3-hour drive from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.
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