To track mountain gorillas in Rwanda, one needs to have a gorilla tracking permit and below we have highlighted the current cost of these permits
USD $750 per person for non-nationals
USD $375 for foreign residents
30,000 Frw for Rwandan citizens
What to expect on a Rwanda Gorilla Safari
On your Rwanda Gorilla Safari, the gorilla tracking adventure begins early in the morning and so it will be better if your accommodation is close to the entrance of the gorilla park. At 7:00am, you will converge at the park headquarters where you will be briefed about the guidelines and etiquette of gorillas tracking, and then you will be divided into groups of 8 people before heading out into the forest.
Because mountain gorillas generally prefer higher altitudes, be prepared to hike the steep forest slopes for a couple of hours (this ranges from half an hour to a couple of more hours) depending on which gorilla family you are tracking. The highly experienced English-speaking guides will skillfully lead you to the mountain gorilla family that you will be assigned to.
The gorillas families that you will visit on your Rwanda gorillas safari have been habituated and are familiar to human presence so be calm and simply follow the guide’s lead while in their presence.
Each gorilla family is led by a dominant silverback male mature gorilla weighing approximately 200kg which is roughly thrice that of an average man. In most cases when you reach the gorilla family vicinity, you will find them scattered in the thick vegetation over a small area. The first time you will set eyes on these peaceful hairy giants you will feel a rush of too much joy flowing over you.
Amazingly these great apes will carry on feeding, playing and interacting with each other without paying any attention to the human visitors around. On a very rare occasion, one of the playful youngsters may boldly towards you with curiosity or even get very close to you such that you may be required to step aside so that you make way for them. Trackers are always advised to maintain a 7 meter distance between them and the gorillas to protect the gorillas against any human contagious diseases
Where to See the Rwanda Gorillas
Within Rwanda, mountain gorilla tracking can only be done inside Volcanoes National Park (also known as Parc National des Volcans), which is part of the large Virunga mountains. It is assumed that the Virunga Mountains shelter a total of 480 mountain gorillas that live in elevated altitude ranges of 2,300 – 4,500 meters. This mountain complex is shared by Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park), Uganda (Mgahinga National Park) and then Congo with of Virunga National Park (in the DRC),
Habituated Gorillas Families in Rwanda
Today the Volcanoes National Park has a number of completely habituated gorilla families that are open to be visited, and then a couple of other families that have been habituated specifically for research purposes.
Below is a highlight of the available gorilla families available for habituation
The Susa Family, this is the largest family comprising of 38 gorillas. However it is the most challenging to trek since it resides in the higher mountain regions. There are 5 year-old twins in this family called Byishimo and Impano.
The Sabinyo Family, this comprises of 17 members led by Guhonda a very powerful silverback and it can easily be tracked group.
The Amahoro Family, this has 19 members, led by Ubumwe a peaceful silverback. Tracking this family requires trekking up the steep slopes.
The Agashya Family, this was previous referred to as Group 13, and currently comprises of 22 healthy members
The Kwitonda Family, this comprises of 23 members, and is led by silverback Akarevuro. Originally this family was habituated in DRC so they normally move between Rwanda and Congo thus making it a fairly challenging group to track.
The Umubano Family, comprises of 13, that separated from the Amahoro family
The Hirwa Family, this family comprises of 18 members and is led by Munyinya silverback. Its members broke off from Sabyinyo family and the former Group 13
Gorilla Safari Rwanda | AA Safari & Tours Ltd