The Republic of Rwanda is an exceedingly lovely country found in the heart of East Africa. This tiny country holds guards one of the few earth's rare treasures which place great responsibility of it protecting this jewel. This unique gem is the amazing mountain gorillas. The mountain gorilla is one of the world's last surviving great apes making it a center of attraction all over the world.
The country of Rwanda has steadily recovered from the unbelievable tragedy of the 1994 genocide. The country's efforts to restore peace in addition to its incredible natural beauty have helped Rwanda to regain its tourism glory and be recognized as one of the best tourist destinations on the African continent. The country through one of the tiniest offers some of the best activities for both recreation and vacation in the East African region.
Rwanda is also known as the land of a thousand hills due to its numerous and amazing hills and valleys, green savannas, tropical rainforests, impressive lakes (Lake Kivu is one of Africa's most gorgeous lakes), then emerging into the outstanding dormant volcanoes the prestigious home to the critically endangered mountain gorillas and Rwanda's three national parks of Volcanoes, Nyungwe and Akagera national parks.
The primary reason for most guests who visit the Republic of Rwanda is to encounter its impressive mountain gorillas residing in its tropical rain forests of the Volcanoes national park. Defying its uneasy past, Rwanda’s hospitality and peace have boosted its tourism including a rise in the greatly admired luxury gorilla trekking.
Mountain gorillas are found on the foothills of volcanoes that make up the Virunga Massif. The Virunga mastiff is composed of 8 volcanoes that stretch from Lake Edward in Uganda to Lake Kivu in Rwanda with 3 of the volcanoes being active and the rest dormant. The ranges are the only places on earth known to support mountain gorilla life making it a special stretch of land in the world.
Rwanda with Uganda and D.R. Congo are the only places where interested guests can meet the mountains gorillas. Among the 3 nations, Rwanda through its terrific customer service, better auxiliary services like transport, lodging and shorter distance to the mountain gorillas (only 2 hours from Kigali) has been able to create an irresistible luxury gorilla trekking package and many visitors would rather enjoy this than the cheaper options of its neighbors.
Earlier in 2017, the government of Rwanda doubled the rates for gorilla trekking permits to $1,500 from $750. This move was viewed as unfair and questionable by some experts within the tourism industry. However, the decision was part of an endeavor to provide more benefits to Rwanda's economy, while restricting the number of tourists flocking into the country.
Rwanda is a haven to almost 40 percent of the world’s last existing mountain gorillas and it has managed to steadily increase its numbers over the past decades. This has not been an easy feat as evidenced by well-known difficulties such as poaching of gorillas. Therefore the implementation of luxury gorilla trekking is to help fight some of these issues for example facilitating awareness programs and also paying rangers who work tirelessly to protect gorillas in the wild.
The public of Rwanda has roughly ten habituated gorilla families where guests can enjoy luxury gorilla trekking at any time of the year. These families include the Sabyinyo family, Karisimbi family, Umubano group, Bwenge family, Amahoro gorilla group, Agashya family, Hirwa family, the Kwitonda group, Uganda gorilla family, and the Titus gorilla group.
A maximum of eight trekkers per group is the number of members allowed to trek and meet a particular mountain gorilla family. A gorilla family only treks once per day to keep them as wild as possible and also to limit contact with humans as it can have disadvantages for example poachers can use their familiarity with people to take them off-guard and either kill or kidnap babies for illegal zoo collections.
A total of only eighty gorilla permits are attainable per day for any gorilla group in the Volcanoes national park. Guests for luxury gorilla trekking can purchase their gorilla permits for up to two years when they plan to travel through a registered and trusted tour company or Rwanda Development Board itself.
Your mountain gorilla trekking expedition always begins with waking up early to prepare for the anticipated day. This starts with a heavy delicious breakfast to help you with the energy you will need throughout the day as you track gorillas. This is followed by heading to park headquarters where you will be briefed about the trek and everything you need to know about gorillas. The briefing will also entail the rules and regulations when trekking.
These run from averting from littering the park, always staying with the group and ranger guide, making minimal noise while trekking, and once you meet the gorilla's trekkers must keep a safe distance of 7meters away from the gentle giants. Guests must not also try making contact with the gorillas, avoid using flash photography among others.
The luxury gorilla trek in Rwanda may last for one hour or extend to eight hours depending on several factors. The major one is how far the mountain gorillas have moved since they were last spotted by trackers. Mountain gorillas are wild animals and their movement can be hard to determine. However, trekkers should never be worried that they won't encounter gorillas on their luxury gorilla trekking experience since there's a 99.9 % of meeting them.
The trek is usually a strenuous hike and maneuvering around thick thorny jungle and heat. This requires trekkers to at least have some level of fitness before going for your gorilla adventure. However, this is all forgotten when you finally meet the magnificent gentle gorillas. You will have a whole hour of admiring these enormous beasts as they go on their day-to-day activities like grooming, breastfeeding, playing, and superiority display by the silverbacks.
After this one hour of taking photos as souvenirs of your memorable time in the presence of the endangered mountain gorillas, you will head back to your luxury lodge to refresh and relive the exhilarating time you had while trekking the gorillas. Lunch is usually packed lunch and some energy-giving drinks and snacks to recharge you as you undertake your luxury gorilla trekking adventure.
Luxury gorilla trekking can be enjoyed the whole year round in the Republic of Rwanda. This is because Rwanda lies a little distance south of the equator giving wonderful weather all year long. Rwanda is blessed with balanced rainy and dry seasons that are moderate and allow tourism activities each month of the year. The dry season runs from June to September and then December to late Feb while the rain season stretches from March to May.
However, the best time to have luxury gorilla trekking is during the dry season from June through September and the December to February. This is mainly because Rwanda receives fewer rains making the park drier, and hiking easier by less slippery trails and a more comfortable trek to the gorillas.
The rainy season offers luxury gorilla trekking guests with more private luxury gorilla experiences as their fewer crowds to meet unlike in the peak season when most guests choose to do gorilla trekking in Rwanda. The rainy season features also the best season for birding fans since on top of the resident species, numerous migratory birds are also abundant in the Volcanoes national park.
Notable bird species you might encounter include Archer's robin-chat, Doherty's bush-shrike, Dusky Crimsonwing, Dusky turtle dove, Grauer's swamp warbler, Ruwenzori nightjar, Handsome francolin, Ruwenzori turaco, Red-faced woodland warbler, Ruwenzori Apalis, Ruwenzori batis, Ruwenzori double-collared sunbird, Scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird, Strange weaver. This is an additional benefit you can relish while doing your luxury gorilla trekking.
January to February: Low season with fewer guest crowds. Limited or no rain.
March to May: Rwanda receives a lot of rains over these 3 months. Gorilla trekking is more challenging in this season with trails being more muddy and slippery, more chances of getting wet when trekking on top of more pesky insects.
June through to August: This is Rwanda's gorilla peak season and it is the best time to book your luxury Rwanda gorilla trekking adventure. It is crucial to remember to book your gorilla trekking permits in advance like 3 to 4 months to the date you plan to travel. This is because gorilla trekking permits are in great demand which makes them scarce and difficult to secure.
Therefore proper planning will help you plan better and secure your permits earlier to avoid any inconveniences of late booking like finding when all permits are taken in this peak season.
Book a Rwanda luxury gorilla trekking and experience a mountain gorilla adventure like no other in the region. Get ready to be awed by the magnificent giants of the Republic of Rwanda in their misty habitats.