Posts Tagged ‘gorilla tracking rwanda lodges’

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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