Posts Tagged ‘hiking’

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

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Gorilla Tracking Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

October 31, 2011
Early morning hike to see gorillas in Volcanoes National Park

Rwanda 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 4 days Rwanda gorilla tracking 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).

Location: Volcanoes National Park is located Ruhengeri 1 hour 30 minutes drive from Kigali to the Northwest of Rwanda. The park occupy an are of about 130 Km2.

Special Features:

  • The Virungas with five peaks-Karisimbi (4507M), Bisoke (3711M), Sabyinyo (3634M), Gahinga (3474M) and Muhabura (4127M).
  • The last families of mountain Gorillas on earth.
  • Other animals including– the rare golden monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis kandti), Cape buffalo, black fronted duiker; a profusion of bird life including the Ruwenzori turaco, and beautiful francolins.
  • In the vicinity the beautiful lakes Burera and Ruhundo.
  • The Virunga ecosystem is composed of 4 major vegetation zones: Bamboo (base altitude), Hagenia and Hypericum forest (2600-3300m), Sub-alpine (3300-4000m), and Afro-alpine (4000m+).
  • Between Bisoke and Sabyinyo volcanoes lies lakes Ngezi, Nyirambubu, Gasindikira and Muraro.  Crater lake is at the peak of Bisoke.  Visit to the lakes can be organized.

High altitude makes it generally cold, especially during the evenings. Gorilla viewing is possible all the year round.

Rwanda Gorilla Tracking, Hiking and Trekking Safaris,

Gorilla 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 and cold.  The grounds are usually wet and the paths are full of stinging plants-nettles.  Besides, the rains are random. Thus proper preparation is important in terms of dressing and equipments. Please bring the following items with you,

  • Long trousers/ pants- to avoid stinging nettles 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.
  • 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
  • f you are interested in birds, you can bring Field guide to birds of East Africa by Fanshawe and a pair of binoculars.

Gorilla Groups or Families in Rwanda

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.

Gorilla Tracking Rules/ Gorilla Tracking Regulations / Dos/ Donts

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.

When to buy permits,

Permits should be bought in advance even 9 months before the dates of tracking.  When to buy permits depends on when you want to track.  If you wish to track during summer-June, Jul, August and September book even 7 months before the tracking date. It is not advisable to walk into ORTPN office in summer to buy permits as most of the dates are fully booked.

Apart from Gorilla tracking other activities in the vicinity of Ruhengeri and Volcanoes include:

  • Visit to the grave of Dian Forsey and her gorilla Digit.
  • Climbing Karisimbi 2 days.
  • Climbing Bisoke 1 day.
  • Tour of the lakes Burera and Ruhondo.
  • Cave exploration – visit Musanze cave and the natural bridge.
  • Tracking the Golden Monkey.

Away from Ruhengeri and volcanoes one can organize the following excursions if you finish trekking in time and return comfortably for overnight.

  • ½ day excursions to lake Karago.
  • ½ Excursion to lake Kivu.

Accommodation:

  • Luxury Accommodation Sabyinyo Community Lodge, Jack Hanna’s House, Volcanoes Lodge

Photo-Suite in Sabyinyo Eco Lodge

  • Mid Range Accommodation-Gorilla Nest Lodge, Gorila Mountain Gorilla Lodge
  • Budget Accommodation– Kinigi Guest House, Muhabura Hotel, and Hotels in Gisenyi.

NB:

The golden monkey tracking is undertaken in the morning from ORTPN Kinigi/ Ruhengeri office.  Two families of the golden monkeys are open for tracking ; Kabatwa at the base of Sabyinyo and Musanga at the base of Karisimbi.

Those wishing to track specific gorilla families are advised to book in advance.

Tracking begins at 07 :00 Hrs at ORTPN Kinigi office.

Park Entrance Fee and Other Charges
  • Park entrance fee USD 25.00
  • Tracking gorillas USD 500.00
  • Tracking golden monkeys USD 100.00
  • Climbing Bisoke USD 75.00
  • Climbing Karisimbi USD 175.00

Volcanoes National Park Rwanda | Rwanda Gorilla Tracking | Lodges-Sabyinyo, Gorilla Nest, Gorilla Mountain View Lodges  http://ow.ly/3okzx

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Hire 4×4 Car in Kigali Rwanda to trek gorillas

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda requires a 4×4 Toyota Land cruiser or similar car.  Currently the roads are extremely rough thus a Toyota Rav4   is not recommended.  Cars are available on self drive or with driver.

Hire 4x4wd Car Kigali RwandaHire 4x4wd Car Kigali Rwanda

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

Gorilla Tracking Rwanda | Trekking Encounter With Gorillas | Dos And Don’ts

October 27, 2011

Gorilla Tracking Rwanda:  Encounter Dos and Don’ts

Encounter with the Gorillas has been described as thrilling, evocative and even emotional.   The only advice we can offer you is to try it yourself.  The silverbacks are enormous.  Young gorillas are a bit adventurous and may come to touching distance of individual trackers.  They are particularly attracted to bright colours like yellow.  In that case avoid them.

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/Photograhic 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 endager 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 sever 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 do not qualify for any refund.
  • 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 matchet to dig a hole to bury your waste.

4.  Environmental consciousness

Gorilla tracking is a clean activity.  Leave  only your steps in the national park.  Do not litter and if you spot any litter, collect it and take it down with you.

5. Tracking gorilla in Rwanda and Uganda- Gorilla Hiking and Trekking facts

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

  • Rwanda Gorilla  trekking Safaris 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 safaris are conducted by patient, qualified and knowledgeable ranger guides with wide experience in natural history with particular attention to gorilla behaviour
  • Gorilla tracking safaris 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.

6.  Eating while tracking gorillas

You can carry your picnic but do not eat in the vicinity of the gorillas.

7. Chest beating

Please do not imitate the male ( Silver-backs) gorilla chest beating. The silver-back may take that as a challenge and charge after you which can result in severe injuries.  Though charging has not been reported for a long,  long time please avoid any provocation as you will come out second best.

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

Book your 4 days 3 nights Rwanda gorilla tracking safari Contact  R&N Xplorer Africa Safaris Tel: +254 723 684 974 email: rnxploresafaris@gmail.com Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Valuable links

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