Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda is offered in the Volcanoes National Park, which straddles the borders of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In volcanoes Rwanda national park, you will find a quarter of the worlds Mountain gorilla population and the reminder can be traced in Bwindi impenetrable forest national parks in uganda and virunga national park in in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Gorilla tracking tours gives the amazing wildlife opportunity staring gorillas in the eyes of the silver backs making it the most thrilling moment and learning about them face to face. gorilla tracking takes all over the year but hiking during April May and November is hectic because those months are always wet and rainy rendering it quit difficult due to the presence of the mud . how ever the most favorable months for carrying out gorilla tracking is normally between the month of December and February.
Permits are necessary to track the gorillas, and they run at $750 US per person per day. Most of the money is used to conserve the environment for the Gorillas in Rwanda and for the 24 hour security that is necessary to reduce the possibility of poaching, which has been an issue for many years. There is some talk about reducing the permit fee in the rainy season, but as yet there has been no such decision made.
The gorillas roam around the forest and and as soon as you receive the gorilla tracking permit,you will be a signed a gorilla family to track; it is uncertain as to how long you will be tracking before you encounter the family. It can take time from 30 minutes to 8 hours to encounter your family of Gorillas so one has exercise patience in case they don’t encounter them as early as they expected. General fitness is appropriate, as the climbing can be somewhat strenuous, moving up the steep slopes for many hours. // tracking in volcanoes national park is assured to exciting Tracking specifically in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is assured to be a most pleasant and organized experience as the Park Rangers are well experienced and familiar with all the Gorilla Families, having done this tracking for many years.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE TRACKING
On the morning of your Tracking, you will be taken from your accommodation to the Volcanoes National Park headquarters, where you will receive a short briefing. You will be organized into small groups of no more than 8 persons. The Gorilla Tracking etiquette will be outlined and all the do’s and don’ts will be explained in detail. Coffee is served at the meeting place, as well as an opportunity to watch a local dance troupe entertaining the trackers with local drumming and dance moves. After the orientation is done, you will drive off to the general area where your particular Gorilla Family was last spotted. Local trackers from the community are sent out early in the morning to follow the track that the Gorillas have taken that morning in their search for food. You will then alight from your vehicle and begin the tracking; your Ranger guide that is escorting you will be in constant radio communication with the local trackers, to enable as quick an encounter as possible.
When you do finally encounter the Gorilla Family, your initial apprehension of facing a 200 Kilogram Silverback, will disappear with the sighting of the whole group feeding and playing, completely oblivious of your watching eyes. Mountain Gorillas share 98% of human DNA and as such are very susceptible to catching human infections, particularly respiratory ones. As the Gorillas do not have immunities to these infections, it is dangerous for the Gorillas to catch the flu; people with colds are requested to not go tracking for this reason. The ones that do go, must keep a distance of at least 7 meters from the Gorillas; many times the Gorillas will come closer, in which case you should slowly move away so as not to become too close with them. Sudden movements are not appropriate, and keeping one’s voices low is appropriate; bearing in mind all the time that these are wild animals and their reactions can sometimes be unexpected. Taking instructions from you Guide and the Trackers is most important. Eating and drinking is not allowed when with the Gorilla Family. Cellphones should be turned off, so as not to startle the Gorillas when you are nearby.
Dressing appropriately is important; because of the brambles and nettles on the path, one should wear long trousers and long sleeve shirts. Proper footwear to handle the muddy conditions is highly recommended, as well as a waterproof jacket, in case it starts raining when you are in the forest. Water and a snack is a good idea, as you may be tracking for a few hours. The guides will lend you a walking stick to assist with the climbing. For a small fee, porters are available at the set off point, should you wish to be hands free and as light as possible for the climb.
Cameras and binoculars are suggested in order to maximize your encounter. In the forest, the light can be a challenge, and use of a flash is not allowed, so preparing yourself for this eventuality is a good idea. Also, you should consider some protective covering for your camera equipment as rain is quite normal in the forest, even in the dry season.
THE MOUNTAIN GORILLA FAMILIES IN VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
The various groups or families of Mountain Gorillas tend to climb much higher in the dry season, and are found much lower on the slopes during the rainy seasons.Currently the number of the gorilla families amounts to 10 in volcanoes Rwanda national park,a brief description is as follows: (These statistics were provided by the Volcanoes National Park Rangers and are current as of June 2016)
Sabinyo Group: 16 individuals, including 2 Silverbacks and 5 infants
Agashya Group: Formerly called Group Thirteen. 20 individuals, including 1 Silverback and 8 infants.
Amahoro Group: 17 individuals, including 4 Silverbacks and 6 infants.
Umubano Group: 12 individuals. Including 2 Silverbacks and 4 infants.
Susa Group: 17 individuals, including 2 Silverbacks. 6 Infants including 2 sets of twins.
Igisha Group: 26 individuals, including 2 Silverbacks and 10 infants.
Karisimbi Group: 12 individuals, including 4 Silverbacks and 3 infants.
Hirwa Group: 19 individuals, including 1 Silverback and 11 infants including a pair of twins.
Kwitonda Group: 28 members, including 2 Silverbacks and 12 infants. Originally habituated in the DRC
Bwenge Group: 11 members
Ugende Group: 11 members
Isinbi Group: 14 individuals, including 1 Silverback and 8 infants.