It’s Rwanda Week here at Ker & Downey. We’re taking an in-depth look at the ins and outs of traveling to Rwanda. Today, it’s all about Rwanda gorilla trekking – the country’s biggest tourism draw.
Each year Rwanda draws thousands of visitors to Volcanoes National Park to see the gorillas at home in the mountains. The park is home to half of the world’s wild gorilla population and where legendary zoologist Dian Fossey spent 20 years studying the primates. For the lucky few who are fortunate enough to snag one of the few tracking permits dispersed by the Rwandan government each a day, the experience will leave an impression.
There are 10 habituated families of mountain gorillas located in the Rwandan sector of the Virunga Volcanoes specifically tracked for visitor interaction. Just like a typical human family unit, each gorilla family offers something unique and completely different, making no two gorilla treks the same.
Treks 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. You’ll be grouped together with trekkers of the same fitness level. However, only eight visitors are allowed per group, so the trek is intimate. Once found, travelers spend an hour with the gorillas. 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 memorable experiences you will ever have in your lifetime.
Recommended Packing List for Rwanda Gorilla Trekking
- Recommended clothing is long trousers and shirts when in the forest to avoid nettle stings
- Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots are essential in the wet forest
- Rain gear
- Water bottle and a small snack, but please note that eating, drinking, and smoking near the gorillas is forbidden
Porters are available to help carry your daypack for a small fee. We strongly encourage you to make use of this service, not only because it will make your trek more enjoyable, but because hiring a porter directly supports the local community.