Gorillas in Rwanda at Volcanoes National Park
Gorillas in Rwanda make the biggest portion of the country’s tourism and constitute the biggest earner from foreign visitors. While visiting Rwanda, the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’, one should not miss out on an outstanding chance to visit Rwanda’s Parc National des Volcans (Volcanoes National Park Rwanda) the habitat for the world’s celebrated mountain gorillas. Volcanoes Parks covers an area of 125 Km2 of mountain forest and a home to plus the six Virunga Volcanoes. Protected within the the park, the forested slopes of the mountains form properly stunning natural landscape for what is by no doubt the most moving and outstanding wildlife experience in the world; Gorilla Tracking. Encountering a nonviolent and composed mature silver back gorilla is exciting. The inspiring climb to the gorilla’s natural home of shady bamboo forest offers unbelievable views in all directions, before the trackers are absorbed in the bewildering familiarity of the rain forest, alive with the calls of colorful birds and the babbling of unusual golden monkey.
Gorillas in Rwanda Tours
- 1 day Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda: For this, you depart from Kigali early in the morning, do gorilla tracking and return in the afternoon.
Rwanda Gorillas are managed and protected by the Rwandan Office for Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN) and one accesses their habitat from Ruhengeri town, located near the base of the park entrance. Ruhengeri has long been a standing spot for gorilla visits and gives eye-catching scenery of Karisimbi, Visoke, Mikeno, Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura volcanoes. Ruhengeri is a 45-minute drive away from Gisenyi and the spectacular Lake Kivu.
A gorilla tour visit can take something from a 1 to 4-hour trek through the forest, led by knowledgeable trackers who have spent their complete lives living in or close to the forest. A walk through the forest will be fascinating as one weaves through hanging vines, moss covered Hagenia trees and gigantic Lobelias that flourish in the tropical environment of the forest. You will spot golden monkeys swinging from the bamboo, or see wild buffalo, bush duiker and a wide selection of bird life.
The Virunga ecological unit is composed of 4 major vegetation zones: bamboo (base altitude), Sub-alpine (3300 – 4000 m), Hagenia and Hypericum forest (2600-3300 m) and Afro-alpine (4000 m+). A one hour opportunity is available for you to watch the gorillas as they do their daily routine, feeding, playing and relaxing, as you question your ancient existence and remember the wonder that kept Dian Fossey living in the forest for almost 18 years. Everyone should visit Rwanda before he dies. Volcanoes National Park is excellently known for Mountain Gorilla trekking as a major activity. Every year, Kwita Izina, a gorilla naming ceremony in Rwanda is held at the park to give names to newborn gorillas from various families. This event is aimed at bring local and global awareness to the plight of of the endangered primates. Gorilla families in Rwanda are 10 in number and include:-
- Amahoro group – 15 individuals located on the Visoke volcano.
- Hirwa group – 12 individuals located on the Sabinyo volcano.
- Umubano group – 7 individuals located on the Visoke volcano.
- Sabinyo group – 10 individuals located between the Sabinyo and Visoke volcanoes.
- Susa group – 35 individuals located high on the Karisimbi volcano (long and strenuous hike).
- Group 13 – 21 individuals located on the Sabinyo volcano.
- Kwitonda group – 10 individuals located on the Sabinyo volcano, sometimes in Democratic Republic of Congo and thus off-limits. Please note that only the Park Authorities will allocate you which gorilla group to visit.
Other tourist activities in Rwanda. These include Golden monkey tracking, Karisimbi Volcano climbing, Climbing of Bisoke volcano, Tour of Lake Burera and Ruhondo, exploration of Musanze cave and the natural bridge and visiting the tomb of Dian Fossey, a distinguished primatologist.