Volcanoes National Park is undoubtedly Rwanda’s cornerstone experience. Adventurous travelers from around the world flock to its verdant forests for the rare chance to interact with the region’s famous inhabitants: the Mountain Gorillas. Volcanoes National Park is home to 340 of the earth’s 780 Mountain Gorillas remaining in the wild. It is also the location where researcher Dian Fossey dedicated 20 years of her life, studying and observing these giants and their primate neighbors in the their natural habitat.
There are 10 habituated families of Mountain Gorillas located in the Rwandan sector of the Virunga Volcanoes specifically tracked for visitor interaction: the Susa Group, Sabyinyo Group, Amahoro Group, Group Thirteen (Agasha Group), Kwitonda, Umubano, Bwengye, Hirwa, Karinsimbi, and Ugenda. Some families have babies and teenagers, while others may not have many children or may be comprised of more females. Just like a typical human family unit, each gorilla family offers something unique and completely different, making no two gorilla treks the same.
Gorilla safaris through Volcanoes National Park vary depending upon the gorillas’ movements. Most days, several groups are found within a two-hour trek, while the wet season moves gorillas to lower elevation for feeding, thus reducing trekking times to as little as 20 minutes. Once found, travelers have an hour to spend with the gorillas, a small yet significant amount of time that is sure to leave an impression on those lucky enough to experience it. Many have tried to put the interaction into words, and but to capture it completely is to witness it for yourself. The experience of seeing the gorillas up close and personal in Volcanoes National Park is surreal, unexpected, and exhilarating all at the same time. It truly is one of the most magical experiences you will ever have in your lifetime.
Also within Volcanoes National Park are the recently habituated golden monkeys, which can similarly be visited in the region with special trekking permits. The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund only started permitting interactions in 2003, allowing guests to trek deep into golden monkey territory with a private guide for an up close and personal view of the monkeys in their natural habitat.
Contact Ker & Downey to begin planning your Rwanda gorilla safari through Volcanoes National Park and its magnificent crater lakes.