Global Destinations:
Other Options:
Home  -  Africa Travel Guide  -  Travel Blog

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda – a wildlife adventure

Mountain gorilla trekking in Rwanda
Photo by Philip Kromer / CC BY-SA 2.0 

To experience a wildlife adventure of a lifetime, consider going on a gorilla trek in Rwanda, exploring their natural home in the Volcanoes National Park (Parc National des Volcans).

Mountain gorillas (Gorilla Berengei Berengei) can only be found in three countries in the world – the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. As of this year, there are seven groups of the endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda to visit, with a limited number of gorilla permits available for visitors each day.  Primate Safaris Rwanda offers a service to book both your gorilla trekking experience and to also organize the correct permits for your trip.

What can I see on a mountain gorilla trek in Rwanda?

One day to week long safaris are available, depending on your schedule, and while hiking through the densely forested hills, you will come across the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. You might come across a mother gorilla, nursing her babies, or a family group going about their business on the green and lush slopes.
Mountain gorilla family in Rwanda
Photo by Philip Kromer / CC BY-SA 2.0

When planning your trek, it is best to find accommodation as close as possible to the entrance of the park, as you will have to wake up pretty early. At around 7 a.m. your gorilla guide will brief you on the necessary safety precautions and etiquette used while trekking among the local inhabitants. Once your briefing is over, the hike begins and you will head off with other members of the group.

It must be borne in mind that gorilla trekking takes a certain amount of stamina. These primates are named mountain gorillas for a reason and the trek can be strenuous. Depending on the tour you are taking, the hike to the primates can take anything from 30 minutes to several hours. However, your guide is fully trained and will lead you direct to a specific “habituated” gorilla group, already used to the presence of humans.

Watching the interaction of gorillas in the wild

Mountain gorilla in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Photo by Philip Kromer / CC BY-SA 2.0

The group of gorillas will normally scatter over a relatively small area in the thick vegetation and you will find they carry on as normal, despite their audience. You will be able to watch them interact and even feed, all the while keeping an interested eye on your hiking group. On some rare occasions, playful youngsters have been known to boldly approach humans, however you must ensure that you are always at least seven metres away. Should an inquisitive youngster head towards you, you will need to slowly back away. The reason for keeping your distance is to safeguard the gorillas from catching any contagious human diseases the tour group might be carrying.

What to bear in mind prior to your gorilla trek

The area where the mountain gorillas reside is fairly high up (around 1,700m above sea level) so it can get pretty cold. Ensure you have warm, comfortable clothing with you at all times and some suitable walking shoes.


Home  - Africa Travel Guide  - Travel Blog