Archive for May 2010

Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Tracking Safari-When To Book Or Buy Permit

May 24, 2010

“Gorilla permits are always in short supply.  Do not waste time. Decide on tracking dates and pay a deposit for your permits”.

Gorilla tracking in Rwanda takes place every day, 365 days in a year.  Tracking, trekking and hiking takes place in Volcanoes National Park (Parc Nationale des Volcans) from Kinigi Park headquarters.  Trekking takes from 4-8 hrs.  Any person of average fitness can track gorillas.   Each day, there are a minimum of 64 gorilla permits available.  Permits available daily depend on the groups available for tracking. By statistics, six (8) families are permanently settled in Rwanda.  Sometimes these are joined by a migratory group from Uganda thus making more permits available.

Many people ask the question,“When do I book my gorilla tracking permit?”  Alternatively what is the earliest date to buy a gorilla permit?

These questions are best answered by another question, “When do you intend to track? Which month?” – January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November or December?

By statistics, the months of June, July, August, September are high season.  To get a permits in these months is difficult and sometimes impossible hence for those intending to track these months book as early as possible.  Early as possible means even a year in advance.  You can try your luck latest 6 months in advance.   For the other months, book earliest 6 months in advance and latest 4 months in advance.

This does not mean you cannot get a permit a day in advance.  You can always try your luck any time.

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Gorilla Trekking Rwanda Safari- 4 days Hiking And Tracking

May 20, 2010

Gorilla Trekking 4 Days 3 Nights Gorillas In The Mist Safari.

NB: This gorilla tracking, hiking and trekking safari is organized at Rwanda Volcanoes National Park. The safari is private, full inclusive. Security wise no bad incidents have been reported in Volcanoes for the last 12 years.  This is a good record considering that tracking takes place everyday.

 

Day1/  Kigali – Ruhengeri-Kinigi

Upon arrival at Kanombe Airport, you are met and driven to your hotel. This 2Hrs drive takes you through the beautifully terraced hilly countryside of Rwanda to Ruhengeri the base of trekking and gorilla tracking.  Brief stopovers are provided on the way for photography.  Overnight Gorilla Nest Hotel/Kinigi Guest House/Sabyinyo Lodge (D)

Day2/  Gorillas in the mist day 1

An early morning breakfast is followed by a drive to Kinigi park headquarters for group, guide allocation and briefing. This is followed by a drive to the trailheads where hiking and trekking up the hills to the bamboo zone begins.  Hiking, trekking and tracking gorillas may take 2-3 hours.  Sight and stay with the Gorillas for one hour. Descend to your hotel for lunch.  In the afternoon visit Lakes Burela and Ruhondo Community.  Overnight Gorilla Nest Hotel/Kinigi Guest House/Sabtinyo Lodge (B/L/D)

Day3/  Gorilla Tracking 2

After breakfast, trek up the mountain for another memorable experience with gorillas. Return to the base hotel for lunch. In the afternoon drive to Gisenyi on the shores of lake Kivu. Overnight Kivu Serena/Malahide Paradise Hotel B/L/D

Day4/Gisenyi-Kigali

After breakfast drive to Kigali and transfer to the airport to catch your home flight.
Tour price based on two persons sharing

Budget USD,  1960.00 Total for 2 USD 3920.00

Mid Range USD,  2337.00 Total for 2 USD 4674.00

Luxury USD 3533.00, Total for 2 USD 6706.00

Explanations of Luxury, Budget, Mid Range

Prices are based on accommodation facilities during tracking days.  Luxury means 2 nights at Sabyinyo Lodge and 1 night at Kivu Serena.  Mid range means 2 nights at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge and 1 night at Kivu Serena Hotel.

The tour price.

INCLUSIONS AND EXCLUSIONS:

This safari is strictly private; fully inclusive thus you have peace of mind and free to enjoy your safari. The 4WD car is private hence you are guaranteed of limitless discovery in maximum comfort, privacy and a high degree of safety.  After tracking Gorillas guests are free to visit local people, drive to lakes Kivu, Burela and Ruhondo or even drive all the way to Uganda border at no extra cost. The car also comes with a local multi-lingual driver guide with wide knowledge of Rwanda’s history, local people, and attractions within reach. The driver guide is flexible so please do not hesitate to address any of your concerns to him.   The Gorilla Nest Hotel is a home away from home. Guest rooms are comfortable, spotlessly clean with en-suite bathrooms, writing desk and a TV.  The staff are friendly and radiates with warmth.  The restaurant serves delicious buffet featuring local and international cuisine.

In summary the tour price include the following:

  • Accommodation cost pp sharing
  • Meals indicated as B-Breakfast; L-lunch; D-Dinner.
  • Transportation in a private 4WD car fully fuelled and with a driver guide.
  • Driver’s Allowance’s allowances
  • 2 Gorilla permits per person
  • Park Entrance fee
  • Use of Government rangers and guides while tracking.  Guests are accompanied by guides and armed rangers.
  • Complementary tour of Lake Kivu on day 3
  • All government taxes
  • Complimentary tour of Genocide memorial of Gisozi
  • Mineral water during your tour.

The price does not include the following

  • Tips& Gratuities to guides, drivers and hotel staff
  • Beverages
  • Extra meals
  • Optional tours
  • Air fares- We can book the flight NBO-KGL; KGL JRO at
  • Visa fees
  • Travel Insurance-guests are advised to take comprehensive travel insurance prior to arrival. AAR cover is for evacuation and it should not be mistaken for travel insurance

Further reading

To book this safari Email us rnxploresafaris@gmail.com

Another  4 days 3 nights Gorilla safari Rwanda From R&N Xplorer Africa Safaris

Gorilla Tracking Rwanda Rules And Regulations

May 18, 2010

Gorilla tracking in Rwanda takes place in Volcanoes National Park (Parc des Volcans). Gorilla tracking is a million dollar practice with immense economic benefits to the local community, without which the mountain gorilla conservation would be a liability.  This daily adventure has made the mountain gorilla one of the most expensive animals though not in league of the teddy bears.

Gorilla tracking is a clean practice(eco friendly) which ensures minimal impact to the local community, the environment and the gorillas. Rules and regulations have been put in place for the safety of the trackers, the gorillas and to check adverse environmental impacts. Besides these rules and regulations guarantees the continued existence of the gorilla as species, that is to avoid the extinction of the gorillas.

Encounter with the Gorillas has been described as thrilling, evocative and even emotional.   The gigantic silver-backs are gentle and will rarely attach unless provoked.  Young gorillas are a bit adventurous even playful and will come to touching distance of individual trackers.  They are particularly attracted to bright colours like yellow.  In that case avoid them. The following are the rules and regulations of tracking gorillas.

1.  Gorilla tracking in Rwanda – Submissiveness

When you encounter gorillas, you are required to portray total submissiveness.   Do not look at them straight in the eyes and avoid standing over them.    If the male gorilla charge at you, crouch down.  Gorillas have freedom of way. Do not drum your chest.  Do not shout, talk in whispers.  The guides will advice on how to behave on encounter.  Always follow the instructions from the guides.

2. Rwanda Gorilla Tracking/ Gorilla  Photography/Photographic Safaris.

Flash photography is prohibited.  Tourists are allowed normal photography and filming for domestic use.   Special Photographic and filming safaris may be organized for particular groups. These will include those who want to film specifically for commercial use and documentaries.  These will require accreditation cards unlike normal tourists.

3.  Health of the Gorillas

There are currently approximately 700 mountain gorillas in the wild.  Thus these animals are classified as endangered species.  Gorilla tracking if unchecked can endanger the life of gorillas.  Gorilla tracking in Rwanda is restricted to 8 persons per day per group.   That makes a total of 56 permits per day.

  • Avoid tracking gorillas if you suffer from contagious disease.  In case you develop a severe case of flu, your money will be fully refunded if you make this known in advance. However if you attempt to track and fail for whatever reason, or if the guides discover that you cannot    track due to disease, you are disqualified for any refunds and may even be fined.
  • Do not sneeze towards them
  • Do not spit in the forest or defecate carelessly.  If you need to the guides will help you with a machete to dig a hole to bury your waste.

4.  Environmental consciousness

Gorilla tracking is a clean activity.  Leave  only your footprints in the national park.

  • Do not litter and if you spot any litter, collect it and take it down with you.
  • Do not collect any souvenirs from the park.

5.  Eating while tracking gorillas

You can carry your picnic but do not eat in the vicinity of the gorillas. You eating might encourage the gorillas to come and share your delicacy with you.

6. Chest beating

Please do not imitate the male gorilla chest beating. The  silver back will take that as a challenge and charge after you which can result in severe injuries.  Please note that you are not liable for any compensation for any animal related injuries in the parks.   Though charging has not been reported for a long time, please avoid any provocation as you will come out second best.

7. Age Limit: Only people of 15 years and above are allowed track gorillas. However young children can engage in other activities in volcanoes like tracking golden monkeys.

Tracking gorilla Rwanda Tips, Gorilla Hiking and Trekking facts, Tips

How hard should one prepare for gorilla tracking in Rwanda?  The facts below will help you to answer this question.

  • Rwanda Gorilla  trekking takes place at altitudes of 3000 metres-this means that moderate/ average physical fitness is what is necessary and not athletic fitness.
  • Trekking, hiking and Tracking gorillas is conducted by patient, qualified and knowledgeable ranger guides with wide knowledge in natural history with particular attention to gorilla behaviour
  • Gorilla tracking is conducted at a moderate pace with plenty of stops for resting, fielding questions further briefs etc.  Competitive hiking is discouraged as the aim of the guides, porters  and rangers is for all the group members to make it to the gorillas  and back to the base.  Believe it or not, the slowest hiker/ trekker will determine the pace of the trek.
  • Clothing-long sleeves both shorts and shirts are ideal for tracking.  They protect you from stinging nettles and insect bites.  For those who like hats, try a baseball cap as it is gorilla friendly. Ankle level hiking boots are ideal for tracking. The down pours of Volcanoes National Park are heavy, extremely cold and sporadic. Bring a raincoat to avoid getting drenched  and a warm cardigans.
  • Carry at least 2 litres of water as hiking is tiring and dehydrating.
  • Bring water proof containers for your cameras.  This is applies even to water proof cameras.
  • If you have heavy equipments hire a porter.
  • In case of being charged by silver backs crouch. This is a sign of submissiveness and the silver-back will terminate the charge

Book your 4 days 3 nights Rwanda gorilla tracking safari Contact  Gorilla Safaris Rwanda Tel: +254 723 684 974

Gorilla Tracking Rwanda Trekking Accommodation Lodges And hotels

May 3, 2010

Getting from Kigali to Ruhengeri and Kinigi

Gorilla tracking, hiking and tracking safaris in Rwanda starts from Kinigi in Musanze (former Ruhengeri) province.  Tracking takes in Volcanoes National Park(Parc des volcans).  Every morning at 07:00Hrs, all trekking participants are briefed on dos, don’ts and other hiking regulations at Kinigi Park headquarters.

The drive from Kigali to Ruhengeri will take about 1 hour.  From Ruhengeri (Musanze) town to Kinigi, the base of gorilla tracking is about 30-45 minutes.   The drive from Kigali to Ruhengeri takes you through beautifully terraced hilly country side with lots of photography opportunities.  Inclusive of photo stops, it might take you even 2 hours to drive from Kigali to Kinigi. Every

An alternative to driving from Kigali is using an helicopter/ charter flight to Ruhengeri Airstrip and driving to Kinigi by car.  You will need advance  arrangements with the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority.

Accommodation While on  Gorilla Tracking And Trekking Safaris

Accommodation is available at Kinigi or at Ruhengeri(Musanze). Accommodation can be categorized into three depending on the price you pay and the level of comfort-Luxury, Budget and Mid range.

Three luxury properties for your stay while tracking are, Sabyinyo Silverback Community Lodge, Virunga Luxury Lodge and Jack Hanna’s House.  The best in terms of proximity to gorilla tracking is Silverback.  Virunga Luxury Lodge enjoys an enviable location on top of a hill with undisturbed vistas of Virungas and the surrounding areas.

Kinigi Guest House

Kinigi Guest house is the oldest property at Volcanes.  The rooms though basic are clean.  They provide accommodation and meals.  Do not expect comfort in this property.

Gorilla Nest Lodge/ Hotel

Gorilla Nest Lodge is medium property located inside a eucalyptus forest.  The tall trees though beautiful have blocked the beautiful views and they tend to make the place more cold. Hotel facilities include parking, restaurant, bar and laundry.  They also have a mini golf course.  They have permanent electricity.  Due to cold weather, they have several fire places outside, though fire is rarely lit in these areas.  However fire is always available in the restaurant and bar area at night. To keep the cold away, the property provides extra blankets in the rooms.  More are available on request.  Food is local served in buffet style.

Basic rooms are clean with tiled floors and private showers with an electric.  The facility also has family or superior rooms with sitting area and two bedrooms.

In some of the nights, Gorilla Nest organizes Intore, the local Barret to entertain guests.  If you feel you cannot stick to your seat, you are free to join the dancers.

Jack Hanna’s House

This is a private house booked through Gorilla Nest when the owner is not around.  The house has two bedrooms and a kitchen with panoramic views of Virungas and the min golf course.  Booking the house include staff.

Sabyinyo Community/ Silver Back Lodge

Sabyinyo Lodge comprises of the main building with reception, sitting room with snug area, dining room, library, and a responsible tourism / community awareness room, shop and bathrooms. Three large fireplaces provide warmth.

Accommodation at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge comprises five double cottages, two suites and one family suite. All are stone buildings with Rwandese terracotta tile roofs, and feature large sitting areas, fireplaces, stylish en-suite bathrooms finished with Venetian plaster a dressing room and a sheltered veranda. Heat exchangers in the fireplaces provide a plentiful supply of hot water.  The family suite has a second bedroom with en-suite bathroom.

Virunga Volcanoes Luxury Lodge

Located on hilltop between Lakes Burela and Ruhondo, the Virunga Luxury Lodge is the unrivaled destination for landscape lovers.  From the lodge, one enjoys specular views of Virunga Mountains, and the surrounding.  The lodge has a total of  8 bandas constructed of local material. Being on a hilltop, water has to be brought in.  The rooms have bush showers and lighting is by lantern lamps.

The main building has a fire place and a bar.

From the lodge, its is 45 minutes drive to the park headquarters.

Besides these facilities, one can get accommodation at the hotels in Ruhengeri/ Musanze.

To book any of the facility contact R&N Xplorer Africa Safaris , Email: rnxploresafaris@gmail.com

Learn more about gorilla tracking tours and book 4 days 3 nights Rwanda gorilla tracking tour

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Gorilla Tracking Rwanda What to bring | Gorilla Tracking Requirements

May 1, 2010

IMG_20170901_111914Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda takes place in Volcanoes National Park in altitudes of about 2000 Meters above sea level.   Volcanoes experiences a modified equatorial climate.  Volcanoes National Park(Par des Volcans) is both hilly anwd cold.  The groundswell are usually wet and the paths are full of stinging plants-nettles.  Besides, the rains are random.  In this regard all prospective trackers are asked to bring the following

  • Long trousers/ pants- to avoid stinging nettles please do not wear short parks when tracking gorillas.  The trousers must be strong enough to withstand occasional pulls from thorns.
  • Long sleeved shirts/ t-shirts.  To avoid stinging nettles
  • Gloves- These are required to avoid injury to your hands.  Remember the grounds are wet and slippery.  To avoid injury from thorny bushes and objects on ground
  • Hiking boots- Please bring average waterproof sturdy walking boots reaching ankle level not mountain climbing boots. Something light and hardy will do.
  • Warm cardigan- Volcanoes can get extremely cold.  A warm cardigan is required to keep off cold.
  • Long sleeved Rain Coat or anorak -it can rain anytime in Volcanoes National Park even on hot days.  The downpours are heavy and extremely cold.
  • Water proof container for your cameras.  Yes I know there are waterproof cameras but even them to be sure just put them in a waterproof container.  When you are slipping and falling in muddy grounds you do not want your precious photos damaged or do you?
  • If you desire headgear (hats), a baseball cap is recommended as gorillas are familiar to them.
  • Enough water- minimum of 2 litres of drinking water to avoid dehydration.  Carry four just in case the hike proofs longer than expected.  Sometimes it can be 8 hours.
  • Film Camera- A film camera for domestic use is recommended.
  • A camera
  • If you are interested in birds, you can bring Field guide to birds of East Africa by Fanshawe and a pair of binoculars.

When to book Your Gorilla Tracking Safari.  It is important to book your gorilla tracking safari as early as possible.  For June/ Jul/ August and early September, book your safari latest January.  Any other months you try your luck any time, But to be sure give it three months in advance.

FAQS, GORILLA TRACKING TIPS.  How long is the trek?  How long will you stay with gorillas?  Can one fail to see them?  Security? At what altitude is the hike?  What level of fitness do you requires?  Are you likely to meet other animals besides gorillas?  OH Yes, we will answer all those right now

  • Treks to the gorilla can take as short as 2 hours or as long as 8 hours.  Remember gorillas roam the whole of Volcanoes National Park without any restrictions.  Thus they can be near or far.  Some gorilla families like the Susa are usually far while other like Umubano are near.
  • You stay with the gorillas for only one hour. Strictly one hour no more.  Longer stays tend to make gorillas aggressive.  Yo do not want to be charged,  Do you?
  • Level of fitness- any average person can do gorilla tracking. Since 2007 only one of our guest failed to see gorillas
  • By statistics, gorilla sighting in Rwanda  is 100%.  However remember gorillas are wild so one cannot guarantee a sighting.
  • Tracking commences at 07:00 Hrs daily from Kinigi Park Headquarters.
  • Roads in Volcanoes are extremely rough.  You need a 4×4 car in Rwanda .  You can use public means from Kigali to Ruhengeri.  However having your own car gives you a high degree of flexibility.  You can stop whenever you want.
  • Porters are available to help you with luggage.  Porters will cost you USD 10.00.  It is advisable to have one
  • Other animals in the park-elephants, buffaloes, golden monkeys, duickers.
  • Since 1994, Rwanda has proofed to be one of the most secure countries in the world.  However in towns take due care as you would in your own country.

Book your 4 days 3 nights gorilla tracking safari.  For June, July, August and September book and deposit for permits by January.

To Book Email: rnxploresafaris@gmail.com