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+256 772 409 404 info@shoebill-uganda.com

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Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National park is home to the endangered Mountain gorilla. It is located in the north of Rwanda, among the soaring peaks of the Virunga Mountain range on the border of the democratic republic of Congo and Rwanda. This 160 sq km region is home to 340 of 1000 gorillas left in the world.

It is a 3hour drive from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park. One could opt for a chopper which takes about 20-30 minutes to the park. Gorilla Trekking starts at the Kinigi headquarters where de-briefing of the group is done before driving to the starting point of the trail. Treks can be done in groups or exclusively where the trekkers are accompanied by porters and a guide. Incase one is unable to hike, 200$ is paid for a stretcher up the hike.

Gorilla trekking is for all ages. A number of 10 gorilla groups are accessible to visitors. The Gorillas are assigned in groups for example some of the groups include Kwitonda group, Amahoro family group, Hirwa family group that has the rare twin brothers, Isango Gakuru and Isango Gato. Gorilla ages start from 0-3 years referred to as babies, 3-6 years known as juveniles, 6-8 years become adults.

These Mountain Gorillas are guarded 24/7 by trackers. Visitors are given 45 mins- 1 hour to observe the magnificent primates. Other animals that may wander in this dense vegetation include Buffaloes and elephants. The Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park have over 200 species of plants to eat.

DE BRIEFING BEFORE TREKKING

During the gorilla encounter, trackers use a unique vocalization to communicate to the gorillas as a form of greeting or reassurance that they mean no harm.

When approaching the Gorillas, it is advised to stay a 7m distance from the Gorillas to avoid transmission of diseases since we have a close genetic relation to them.

How to behave when in close contact with a Gorilla?

  • Stay calm
  • Avoid staring at the gorilla
  • Remain down, no movement
  • Avoid taking flashy pictures
  • Don’t imitate the gorillas by beating your chest
  • Walk back if a baby gorilla comes towards you as the mother would not appreciate it

WHAT TO BRING WHEN GORILLA TRACKING

  1. Gaitors to protect you from thorns. In case you didn’t buy one, check with your lodge as they usually provide.
  2. Long sleeve top and trouser to protect you from stinging nettles as you pave through dense bushes.
  3. Hiking boots to ease walking through the thick mud.
  4. Raincoat as it is likely to rain especially in the forest.
  5. Water proof bag for your camera
  6. Gardening gloves

BEST TIME TO VISIT GORILLAS IN RWANDA

Gorilla tracking in Rwanda can be done through out the year but the dry season starting from mid-May to October. This because these periods offer perfect weather for hiking.

BUDGET GORILLA TRACKING

The safari is divided into three categories;

Budget Safari

Midrange (moderate) safari

Luxury Safari

BUDGET SAFARI

Transportation under the budget safari package includes a luxury safari van i.e., drone, roof top van.

Accommodation under Budget ranges from 50$-100$

MIDRANGE SAFARI

Transportation under Midrange safari includes a 4*4 safari Landcruiser vehicle.

Midrange accommodation facility ranges from 120$-250$

LUXURY SAFARI

Transportation under a Luxury safari includes a 4*4 safari Landcruiser vehicle.

Luxury accommodation ranges from 250$ above

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT MOUNTAIN GORILLAS IN RWANDA?

Tourism is a source of employment to porters, guides, helps the locals improve on their standards of living.

Money from visits is also used to build infrastructure like schools and clinics that help the masses.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking supports conservation especially of these rare endangered Mountain gorillas.

 

EXTRA TIPS

  • Hiking sticks are given at the beginning of the hike so no need to bring
  • Tuck trouser into socks to avoid red ants crawling into your trouser
  • Carry as little as possible
  • Carry an extra battery and memory card

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT MOUNTAIN GORILLAS

8-year-old female Gorillas are called matures because they are of age to give birth while 8-year-old male gorillas are known as black backs. The males become mature at the age of 12 years where they are now become Silver backs.

Gorillas eat 15% of their body weight every day.

Mountain Gorillas are strictly herbivorous, bamboo being their favorite meal.