Posts Tagged ‘gorilla nest’

Volcanoes National Park Rwanda | Gorilla Tracking Trekking | Lodges-Sabyinyo, Gorilla Nest

May 16, 2012

Volcanoes National Park Rwanda | Gorilla Tracking Trekking | Lodges-Sabyinyo, Gorilla Nest.

Volcanoes National Park is part of the bigger Virunga (Birunga) Conservation area which includes Mgahinga and Virunga National Parks in Uganda and DR Congo respectively. These three parks are the home of Mountain gorillas. The history of Volcanoes National Park (Parc des Volcans) dates back to 1925 when a small triangle between Karisimbi, Bisoke and Mikeno was set aside to protect the Mountain Gorillas.  Boundaries were later extended into Rwanda and DR. Congo (Zaire) to form the bigger Albert National Park.

Volcanoes was the first National Park in Africa.  The park is famous for Mountain Gorilla tracking and its golden Monkeys. A good gorilla trekking safari experience takes minimum four days ( See Gorilla Tracking Volcanoes National Park 4 days Safari ) with two gorilla treks. The safari can be combined with visits to the nearby Lakes Burera, Ruhondo, Kivu and the local villagers. The gorilla safari can also be combined with chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe Forest National Park. ( See 8 Days Great Primates Expedition). 

Gorilla Tracking Uganda | Trekking Bwindi National Park, Hiking Safaris 4 days

April 24, 2012

Mother gorilla with twins

Gorilla Tracking Uganda | Trekking Bwindi National Park, Hiking Safaris 4 days.

From USD 1960PP sharing Budget to USD 3452 PP sharing luxury

The 4 days gorilla tracking adventures in Uganda takes place Bwindi Forest national Park and Mgahinga National Park. The tour also includes visits to the Batwa communities who have contributed much to the conservation of Gorillas.

Trek gorillas twice in Bwindi Forest

Detailed Itinerary

DAY 1:Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable forest National Park.
You will be picked form your hotel by our representative and driven to the western part of Uganda. Lunch en-route and proceed viewing a remarkable scenic view of the well terraced vegetations and long-horned cattle. Dinner and overnight stay at Gorilla Safari Lodge (Luxury), Gorilla Mist Lodge (Mid-Range) or Wagtail Eco-Lodge (Budget).

DAY 2: First Gorilla tracking Adventure.
Have early morning breakfast and head to the park headquarters to be briefed about the “dos and don’ts” while with the gorillas. You will then penetrate through the impenetrable Bwindi forest in search of the gentle giants. This may take about 2-8 hours depending on the movement of the gorillas. Have a maximum of one hour with the gorillas taking observations, photographs, and watching them feed or playing around. Dinner and overnight stay at Gorilla Safari Lodge (Luxury), Gorilla Mist Lodge (Mid-Range) or Wagtail Eco-Lodge (Budget).

DAY 3: Second Gorilla Tracking.
After breakfast, head to the park headquarters for briefing with your packed lunch. Here you are going back into the impenetrable this time to search for another gorilla group with absolutely different characters and ways of living. Later in the evening, you will then go for a cultural walk in the Batwa (Pygmies) community to see the local brewers, traditional healers, and cultural performances. Dinner and overnight stay at Gorilla Safari Lodge (Luxury), Gorilla Mist Lodge (Mid-Range) or Wagtail Eco-Lodge (Budget).

DAY 4: Departure.
Take your breakfast and drive back to Kampala. You will have lunch en-route in Mbarara town. Make a stopover at the equator for photography and proceed for your flight back home.

Enquiry Email rnxploresafaris@gmail.com

R&N Xplorer Africa Safaris

Gorilla safaris Rwanda | Tracking, Hiking, Trekking Tour

October 31, 2011

Approximately 800 mountain gorillas are left in the world. A majority of these are found in the Virunga massif. The Virunga massif extends over international boundaries. This makes conservation of this fragile ecosystem even more challenging. The surrounding hills are highly populated recording some of the highest population densities in the world. Besides the high population density, the civil strife in DR Congo has not abetted despite the continued presence of the international forces. To make mountain gorilla conservation worthwhile, the three governments of Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo introduced gorilla tracking.

Note, unlike in the zoos, gorillas in Virungas are wild. Before any tracking can be done, these have to undergo a long process of habituation. During this time the researchers well versed in gorilla behaviour identify a viable family for habituation. For habituation, the family must have at least 5 individuals. Habituation involves making the family to get used to human presence. With hostile silverbacks, this is not easy. Some of the researchers have even been charged and sustained injuries. However once the family members are used to humans, there is minimal chance of injuries. However habituation does not prevent the silverbacks from exercising mock charges. That is why all tourists are advised not to imitate chest beating as silverbacks will interpret that as a challenge to its authority. Once habituated, mountain gorillas will approach you to touching distance. However visitors are discouraged from getting into contact with gorillas. Likewise all persons less than 15 years of age are not allowed to track gorillas. These two precautions ensures that communicable diseases are not transferred from humans to gorillas. Remember humans share 98% of their genes with gorillas. Likewise any person suffering from communicable diseases is discouraged.

To avoid confrontations with the silverbacks, visitors are advised to keep their distance( flight distance is the distance that an animal will keep away from another for fear of getting injured. The more dangerous the other animal, the further the flight distance.) To be on the safe side, just follow the instructions of the guide.

To keep the environment clean, visitors are advised not to litter the park in anyway. The policy is to leave only your footprints. Visitors must carry back all the litter they bring into the forest. Bury all the faeces.

Gorilla Tracking Safaris in Rwanda takes place in the morning. Visitors report at the park headquarters for briefing and guide allocation. There after they leave for the hiking trails. Depending on the location of gorillas, hiking takes 2-6 hours. Any person of average physical fitness can track gorillas comfortably as the pace of tracking is set by the slowest member of the group. Gorilla tracking safaris can easily be combined with the Great Wildebeest Migration Safari featuring wildebeest migration in Maasai Mara and Serengeti 11 days and the Kenya highlight tour 9 days.

Altitude: Tracking takes place in altitudes of about 3000 meters above sea level. Thus trackers are advised to take their time. Do not run up the mountains. Take your time to enjoy the scenery.

Gorilla tracking is a whole day affair with clients reporting at the park headquarters at 07:00 hrs. However depending on the location of the gorillas, some guest do finish tracking as early as 12:00 Hrs. If one completes this early, the afternoon can be spend visiting the local communities of Lake Burela and Ruhondo or even at Gisenyi on the shores of Lake Kivu.

What to bring:
In addition to safari accessories-note books, cameras, video cameras, pens, dressing is very important when tracking gorillas. Short sleeves and are completely discouraged as thorny nestles will ruin your skin. Likewise you need hiking boots for firm grip as sometimes the ground is muddy. Gloves are important as sometimes you will grasp into thorny bushes to avoid a fall on slippery tracks. Bring a raincoat as it rains without warning. To protect your camera, have a water proof container. Bring a long a warm cardigan as sometimes it gets extremely cold.

Accommodation while tracking gorillas: There are several options available for those tracking gorillas in Rwanda. Accommodation hotels vary from luxury to mid-range to budget. Luxury options exists at Virunga Volcanoes Lodge and Sabyinyo Community Silverback Lodge. Mid range accommodation is offered by Gorilla Nest Hotel and Gorilla Mountain View Lodge. Budget accommodation is available at Kinigi Guest House. Some guests prefer accommodation at Ruhengeri (Musanze).

Gorilla Tracking permits

Gorilla permits can be bought as early as a year in advance or even on the tracking day.  Our advice is always avoid the last minute purchase as in most cases you will be disappointed . SEE  Gorilla Tracking permits-When to Buy/ Book your permit

For more details and gorilla tracking safaris contact  R&N Xplorer Africa Safaris

Rwanda Gorilla Families / Groups -Susa, Amahoro, Umubano, kwitonda, Group 13, Hirwa, Sabyinyo

October 31, 2011

Gorilla Tracking Safaris in Rwanda takes place in Volcanoes National Park.  Gorilla families or groups are divided into two.  The study groups/ families which are accessible to scientists and the tourist groups/families which are open for tourist tracking.  The Study groups have the largest number of individuals.   Study groups include Beetsme, Pablo’s Shida’s and Bwenge.  Besides these, there are seven(7) tourist groups-Susa, Sabyinyo, Amahoro, Kwitonda, Group 13(Agashya), Umubano and Hirwa.  Sometimes, these are joined by a migrant  group from Uganda.  Most of the potential gorilla trackers have diverse questions ranging from the best time to track, the existing gorilla families, accommodation facilities, when to buy permits, tracking rules and regulations and what to bring.  We will answer most of these questions and many more on request.

There are seven gorilla families open for tourists .  Only 8 tourists allowed per group per day.

  • Susa Group/ Family—the largest group with 41 gorillas. The group is very impressive with three silver-backs and several-black backs, females and several youngsters.  Part of the fame of this group are playful 5 year old twins named Byishimo and Impano.  The group roams the slopes of Karisimbi Volcano(4507M).  Though the group is a bit difficult to track sometimes it is very near.  Always find out their location from guides a day earlier.
  • Sabyinyo Group/ Family—One o the easily accessible groups.  The group has 8 members led by the biggest silverback known in the entire jungle called Guhonda.
  • Amahoro Group/ Family—Amahoro meaning peaceful has 17 members led by the peaceful Ubumwe. Amahoro is a more strenuous group to access compared to Group 13 or Sabyinyo.
  • Group 13/ Family(Also Called Agashya)—when first habituated this group had only 13 members hence its name. Now the group has approximately 25 members.
  • Kwitonda Group/ Family—this migrant group from DR Congo has  18-members led by Kwitonda which means “humble one” .  It has two silverbacks and one blackback.  Though the group tends to wander far, it is now permanently in the Rwanda Section of Virungas.  Together with Susa this is one of the difficult groups to track.
  • Umubano Group/ Family—a family of 11, Umubano were originally Amahoro members but broke off after the dominant silverback was challenged by Charles, now the leader of Umubano. When a young silverback challenges the dominant silverback he must steal some females from the existing group in order to form his own family; thus Umubano was formed.
  • Hirwa Group/ Family—Hirwa is the most diverse group comprising  from differently families mainly group 13 and Sabyinyo.

Booking Gorilla Tracking Permits When to Book or Buy

Gorilla tracking permits must be booked in advance.  How far in advance depends on your desired time of tracking.  Note that high season means anytime from 1st June to 30th September.  During this time it is extremely difficult to get permits.  During these months some dates are fully booked 6 months in advance and to be on the safe side book even a year or 9 months in advance.

Rules and Regulations of Gorilla Tracking

Gorilla tracking rules and regulations focus on three main areas-conservations of environment, health of gorillas and safety of the trackers.  Littering, coughing, shouting, pointing at gorillas are prohibited.  Gorillas have freedom of way and should not be obstructed in any way.  Read more on gorilla tracking rules and regulations or dos and dont’s .

When gorilla tracking accommodation is available is either basic, mid range or luxury.  Luxury accommodation is available Sabiyinyo Silver Back Lodge (Also called Sabyinyo Community Lodge), Virunga Luxury Lodge (Also called (Virunga Volcanoes Lodge) and the private Jack Hana’s House.  Mid range properties include Gorilla Nest Lodge and Mountain Gorilla View Lodge.  Budget accommodation is provided by Kinigi Guest House and properties in Ruhengeri (Musanze) town.

For gorilla tracking you need 4×4 cars.  See Car Hire Kigali for rates.

Besides gorilla tracking in Rwanda one can also track chimpanzees at Nyungwe Forest National Park and overnight at Nyungwe forest Lodge

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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