Posts Tagged ‘rwanda gorilla tracking’

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). 

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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 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