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Rwanda Gorilla Safari Journeys

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity destination to observe mountain gorillas up close. Spend long and short days from 1 – 7 taking gorilla trekking tours in Volcanoes National Park with expert guides, as well as rare golden monkeys, and witnessing first-hand their fascinating behaviour and social interactions. Hike to the tomb and research site of Dian Fossey, and learn about the lasting impact of her 18 years of gorilla research.

Gorilla trekking at the Volcanoes National Park involves hiking through dense bamboo forests and steep mountain slopes in search of one of the gorilla families in Rwanda. The final encounter with the primates is considered one of the most exciting and memorable wildlife encounters in Africa.

Gorilla tourism in Rwanda attracts many travelers to the Volcanoes National Park and the chances of seeing mountain gorillas are very high. Gorilla permits can be very difficult to secure during peak seasons like June to September and December to March. Gorilla permits in Rwanda currently go for $1500 – but that is only a fraction of the overall price of gorilla trekking.

There are 10 gorilla families available for trekking and only 8 people can visit a particular group in a day. This implies that there are only 80 gorilla permits available per day for the various habituated gorilla groups.

Therefore, gorilla trekking safaris in the Volcanoes National Park starts with a briefing from the park authorities and Rangers at around 7:30am. During the briefing, participants are divided into groups and assigned to a particular gorilla family. The less fit hikers are assigned groups which are closer to the park offices. At 8:00am, the park Rangers lead the group to search for the gorillas.

You could spend hours just watching the little ones roll around and play. Mountain gorillas are always playful and quite curious. Some may walk right up to you but with no harm intended. While with the gorillas, it’s important to listen to instructions from your Guides and to always stay calm. Never make sudden movements. Gorilla tracking in the volcanoes national park can take between one to six hours depending on the gorilla group you are assigned.

Porters are available at the starting point if you have an extra luggage. Many of these porters were once poachers but have now embraced gorilla conservation programs. The income earned from offering their services keeps them from going back to their former vice.

You must be 15 years and above to go near the primates. The reason why children aren’t allowed near the gorillas is because they tend to carry transmittable diseases like flue and cough which can be transmitted to the primates. It is one of the reasons why tourists are required to share their passport details before booking a gorilla trek in Rwanda mist.

Other activities that one can take part in while at the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and in other parts of the country. Throughout your travel, you will notice that the country has beautiful landscape consisting of hills and mountains.

Golden Monkey trekking: The Volcanoes National Park is home to the endangered golden monkey. These beautiful primates live in the same areas as the mountain gorillas. They survive on bamboo shoots, insects and will occasionally raid farms for potatoes. Golden Monkeys are very playful primates with their only real enemies being man and the African eagle.

Tracking mountain gorillas starts at the same time as golden monkey trekking and permits cost $100. Golden monkey tracking in Rwanda is not as strenuous as gorilla trekking because the monkeys live in the lower slopes of the volcanoes.

Hiking to the grave of Dian Fossey is one way of paying homage and learning about the work of this great primatologist.  Gorilla conservation initiatives were pioneered by Dian Fossey to save the critically endangered mountain gorillas.

She let the world know about the mountain gorillas and fought hard to end poaching. She introduced new approaches to habituating mountain gorillas by learning their mannerism, staying in their midst and gaining the acceptance of the dominant Silver back.

This is quite remarkable because the mountain gorillas she worked with had grown to see all humans as a threat. Their numbers had reduced because of poachers and pet traders/traffickers.

Volcanoes National Park is one of the important birding areas in Rwanda with about 200 recorded species of birds. Of these 13 are endemic to the area. The most sought-after bird is the Rwenzori turaco and the handsome francolin. They are some of the most beautiful birds you will ever encounter.

Visit Iby’Iwacu cultural village the largest and most visited cultural Centre in Rwanda. It is located close to the Volcanoes national park. The Centre was opened to showcase Rwanda’s diverse culture and allow the community living close to the park benefit from gorilla trekking. Many of the performers were poachers and it’s why the centre is also referred to as the Gorilla Guardians Village.

While at the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Centre, tourists can take part in cultural performances like dance, drama and storytelling. You will learn how a traditional Rwandan home was organized and be given a chance to taste some of the local food and alcoholic drinks.

Visit Lake Kivu: In between your Rwanda safari, you want to relax and enjoy the beautiful African sun in an amazing atmosphere. Lake Kivu provides the answer. It is one of Africa’s great lakes and shared between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Lake Kivu is excellent for fishing, island hopping and swimming. There are stories of methane gas that could explode underneath the waters but that shouldn’t worry you considering how beautiful the lake is.

Going back to Kigali, wind up with a Visit to the Genocide Memorial centre in Rwanda: Rwanda has several genocide memorial sites spread across the country but the one in Kigali is the most visited.

The Museum will enable you get a complete understanding of the events that happened in Rwanda before and immediately after the 1994 genocide were about one million people were killed.

If you are not satisfied with this museum, you can also visit the former Kings palace and the National Museum in Butale to get more facts about the tragic event.

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