Mountain gorilla trekking is the most famous activity in Volcanoes National Park; the park harbors mountain gorillas. Volcanoes National park gorilla trekking is said to be the best gorilla trekking experience in the world.
Located in the northern part of Rwanda, Volcanoes national park is part of the Virunga ranges that are shared between Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. To have a smooth Volcanoes National Park gorilla trekking experience, we have answered these common questions asked by most safari lovers who wish to visit Rwanda;
Gorilla families in Volcanoes National park
1004 mountain gorillas stay in the Virunga area, but about 400 inhabit the forests at the gentle slopes of volcanic mountains in volcanoes national park. Volcano National Park – Rwanda has 10 habituated gorilla groups trekked on a daily basis.
Thus on each day 80 visitors are expected to go gorilla trekking, 8 visitors per group meaning only 80 gorilla permits are available on a daily basis. The visitors to these groups spend a maximum of one hour for a group visit. Some of these groups in the Volcanoes national park include;
Susa Gorilla Group
This group is found on the slopes of mount Karisimbi and it was first studied by Dian Fossey.The group comprises of 40 individuals with 3 silverbacks (Initially with the highest mountain gorilla population, the Susa family was reduced to 28 individuals including 3 silverbacks 3 male mountain gorillas).
It was named Susa after river Susa that flows within the proximity of this mountain gorilla family. The Susa gorilla family harbors some of the oldest habituated mountain gorillas and it’s also very famous for her twin mountain gorillas (Impano and Byishimo).
The Susa family gorilla group is hard to trek, it can only be best trekked by the physically fit and adventurous tourists capable of hiking for a long time. For easy trekking of the mountain gorillas in the Susa family, trackers first go ahead of the tourists to trace where the family is and then directs the tourists accordingly.
Whats the best time for booking my Gorilla trekking Permit
To begin with we advise that you book your gorilla trekking at least 3-5 months in advance. Volcanoes National park gorilla trekking is one of the much sought after activity and sometimes Rwanda gorilla permits tend to sell out quickly.
This usually happens in the high season i.e. in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February when rains are relatively low. Nobody would like to trek Rwanda gorillas in the rainy season if there is a chance to avoid it one should definitely.
What is the minimum age for trekking Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park?
The minimum age for trekking gorillas is 15 years. Anyone who is below 15 years will not be allowed to trek gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park that’s why an Identification document is required unless if it is agreed upon with park officials (Terms and conditions apply). Rwanda Tourism Board(RTB) reserves the right to permit or deny anyone to trek gorillas.
What other activity can I do in Volcanoes National Park besides gorilla trekking
Volcanoes National park – Rwanda, is blessed with a thousand hills that have several optional tourist attractions that can be done alongside with Volcanoes National Park gorilla trekking.
Not forgetting other attractions in Rwanda i.e. Genocide Memorial center usually known as the Genocide Museum. Located in Kigali City, this genocide Museum will give you an insight on the 1994 genocide in Rwanda where many a multitude were killed.
You may also pay visit to other museums i.e. the National Museum in Butale plus the Kings palace that are located in the same area, these will give you an idea about the history of Rwanda.
Other fun sites to visit are the Nyungwe Forest home known for the habituated chimpanzees, birds, nature and canopy walks.
You could also visit lake Kivu for relaxation and a boat cruise after your gorilla trekking activity in Volcanoes National Park.
For Wildlife fanatics, visiting Akagera national Park for game drives will also boost your safari experience while in Rwanda.