Gorilla trekking in Rwanda can be done at Volcanoes national park found in the north western part of the country, the park is the country’s most visited destination by tourists all year round to trek the endangered mountain gorilla species. Mountain gorillas are a sub species of eastern gorillas.
Volcanoes national park is not only home to mountain gorillas but also offers visitors a mountain climbing experience with five the Virunga volcanoes found within the park this are; Mount Sabinyo at 3,669 meters above sea level, Mount Gahinga at 3,474 meters above sea level, Mount Karasimbi at 5,507 meters above sea level and Mount Muhabura at 4,127 meters above sea level.
Volcanoes national 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, Karasimbi gorilla group, Ugenda gorilla group, Kwitonda gorilla gropu, Hirwa gorilla group, Umubano group, Agashya group, Sabinyo group and Amahoro gorilla family. Each group offers its own unique gorilla trekking experience.
Best time to trek Rwanda gorillas
Gorilla trekking can be done all year round in Rwanda but some months are better than the rest. The best time to visit Rwanda is the short dry season of December to early February and the long dry months of June to September. Visiting mountain gorillas during the wet season will be difficult as the roads to the park become impassable and the trekking trails are muddy and slippery.
Temperatures average to 22C° in Rwanda and can drop to 12C° at night and the level of rainfall received ranges from 1000-2000 mm per annum. Visiting Rwanda for gorilla trekking in the peak season means you will need to acquire your gorilla permits in advance of 3 months before the actual trekking date because during this time gorilla permits are on high demand.
Rwanda offers the most luxurious gorilla trekking compared to Uganda and Democratic republic of Congo. Gorilla permits in Rwanda cost $1500 per person. Children under the age of 15 years will not be allowed to trek mountain gorillas as well as tourists not feeling well will not be allowed to trek mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas live in high elevations of Volcanoes national park and weather can sometimes become unpredictable therefore you will need to carry water proof hiking boots, rain jackets, plenty of drinking water, garden gloves, energy snacks, long sleeved, clothes and insect repellents.
Volcanoes national park offers a variety of accommodation options ranging from budget, midrange and luxurious some of the lodges to sleep in include; Gorilla volcanoes hotel, Davinci gorilla lodge, La Palme hotel, Five volcanoes hotel, Mountain gorilla nest lodge, Sabinyo silverback hotel and garden place hotel among the rest. Volcanoes national park can be reached within 3 hours from Kigali the capital of Rwanda by road.