Gorilla and chimpanzee trekking tours in rwanda
Gorilla and chimpanzee trekking tours in rwanda: Gorilla and Chimpanzee trekking tours in Rwanda are the best primate experiences that you could ever have. Rwanda is one of the three countries in the world that shelter the endangered species of mountain gorillas, with the others being Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Gorilla trekking tours in Rwanda take place in Volcanoes National Park, also known as Parc National Des Volcans in French. A gorilla trekking tour in Rwanda can be combined with a chimpanzee trekking tour in Nyungwe Forest National Park. Most tour operators in the country, and East African region in general, love to combine both activities to make the best primate safari in Rwanda.
Gorilla trekking and Chimpanzee trekking tours in Rwanda begin from Kigali International Airport. Visitors are picked up by a guide from a trusted tour operator company of their choice, which in this case is Explore Rwanda Tours. After a brief meet and greet session between you the visitor and safari guide, you then proceed with your drive to Volcanoes National Park, with a brief stopover in Kigali city for a short city tour. A tour of Kigali City involves visiting historical and cultural sites such as; the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, Camp Kigali, Caplaki Craft Village, Nyamirambo Women’s Center, Kimironko market to mention but a few. Depending on your travel schedule, you can opt to do the Kigali City tour before or after your gorilla and chimpanzee trekking safari. The journey from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda takes about 2 and a half hours, covering a total distance of about 106 kilometers.
Once you get to Volcanoes National Park, you can spend the night in any of the following lodges; Bisate Lodge, Virunga Lodge, Sabyinyo silverback Lodge, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Kinigi guesthouse, Mountain Gorilla View and Gorilla Volcanoes Lodge.
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda commence in Kinigi, which happens to be the park’s headquarter. Volcanoes National Park is located in Ruhengeri district in the northwestern part of Rwanda. The national park was first established in 1925 and lies on Rwanda’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park neighbors Virunga National Park in Congo and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, which all make up the Virunga Conservation Area. Volcanoes national park covers a total surface area of about 160 square kilometers.
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park takes place in groups of a maximum of 8 members per gorilla group. There are 12 habituated gorilla groups in the park that visitors can track. The national park issues only 96 gorilla trekking permits on a daily basis, thus meaning that visitors should always book their gorilla permits at least 6 months in advance. Gorilla trekking permits in Rwanda cost USD 1500 dollars per person and the activity is only limited to visitors aged 15 and above years.
Gorilla trekking activities in Volcanoes national park begin at 7am in the morning. Visitors are allocated a gorilla family/group on the day of tracking basing on their age/physical and health fitness levels. This is because gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park involves lots of hiking and tracking activities while locating a given gorilla group. Visitors are then briefed by the head ranger at the park, with actual trekking starting at 8am.
Gorilla trekking tours in volcanoes national park in Rwanda can take between 30 minutes up to four or more hours depending on how far into the forest the gorillas have moved as they search for food. Visitors may have to hike between 2,500m to 4,000m in your search for the gorillas, and once they have been located, you will be given only an hour to spend with the gorillas. This hour marks the highlight of your gorilla trekking tour in Rwanda, so make sure that your camera is ready to capture these precious moments of your gorilla trekking experience. Also, porters are always available at the park’s head quarter in case you feel that you may need to hire the services of one or more porters to carry your luggage during your trekking activity.
It is also important for visitors to carry packed lunch on the day of your gorilla trekking activity because there is no telling how long you may take trekking gorillas in the montane forests of Volcanoes National Park. Some of the essential items that you should pack for your gorilla trekking activity in Volcanoes national park include; sunscreen, Insect repellent, Hut or cap, a long pair of trousers and long sleeved shirts, a poncho or raincoat in case it rains while you are trekking gorillas, and a good pair of hiking boots.
A gorilla trekking tour in Volcanoes national park is usually combined with a cultural visit to Iby’ Iwacu community village. Most members of this village were once poachers who have now reformed and are taking part in the conservation projects in the national park.
Other activities offered by Volcanoes National Park to its visitors include; golden monkey trekking, hike to Dian Fossey tomb, a visit to Karisoke Research Centre, Hiking Mount Bisoke and Karisimbi, and a visit to Musanze caves among others.
After trekking gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, visitors are presented with a certificate of gorilla trekking. Visitors can then proceed with a transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park for Chimpanzee trekking.
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest National Park is best done in Cyamudongo forest. Chimpanzee trekking activities in Nyungwe national park are conducted in three major sectors and these include Uwinka, Kitabi and Gisakura.
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe takes places in a group of 8 members only. Visitors are advised to arrive at the park by 5am for registration and a briefing from the head guide at the park. A chimpanzee trekking permit in Rwanda costs USD 90 dollars per person.
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe national park takes between 2-6 hours depending on how far into the forest the chimpanzees have moved as they search for food. Once the group of chimpanzees has been located, visitors are only given an hour to spend with the chimps.
After your chimpanzee trekking activity in Nyungwe national park, visitors can pay a visit to Gisakura tea estate for a brief tour of the tea plantations. The tour involves visiting tea farms and learning how tea is grown, harvested, processed and packaged for sell on the local and international markets.
Visitors can also include other activities that are offered by Nyungwe national park, and these include; the Canopy walk, guided nature walks, hike to Isumo waterfalls, and bird watching among others.
This will mark the end of your gorilla & chimpanzee trekking tour in Rwanda. Visitors are then driven back to Kigali city where you can check into a hotel of your choice or be dropped off at Kigali Airport where you will board your next flight back home.