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A trip to Rwanda the land of a thousand hills and beautiful smiles,cannot be complete without visiting the mountain gorillas of Rwanda's Volcanoes National park, fondly referred to as PNV. Meeting the mountain gorillas of Rwanda in their natural habitat is many a primates lovers' dream. Spending 1 hour in the vicinity of a chest thumping silverback gorilla, as it goes about it's responsibility of looking after and fending for a group of gorillas in the mist is a lifetime memorable experience.

Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park is home to the rare endangered mountain gorillas, and only shares this privilege with Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda and Virunga National Park of The Democratic Republic of Congo. PNV is also a habitat to the golden monkeys, rich flora and fauna plus a wide variety of birds. Mountain gorilla trekking in a way offers the gorilla trekker to track golden monkeys and bird at the same time. Talk about hitting a number of birds with one stone.

The Rwanda mountain gorillas have been habituated to the presence of man. When you trek the gorillas in Rwanda one gets to appreciate why Dian Fossey spent so many years in the Volcanoes National Park and why the conservation efforts of the Dian Fossey Gorilla fund are so crucial to the continued existence of the endangered mountain gorillas. The local Rwandans and the government of Rwanda spearheaded by RDB are also doing their bit to ascertain that the gorillas stay in existence. We recommend that you visit Ibyi-wacu cultural village while in Kinigi to witness these local conservation efforts and listen to firsthand stories of former poachers turned gorilla conservationists.

Book your Rwanda gorilla permit 

Gorilla permits can be booked directly through Rwanda Development Board's offices in Kigali or hassle free through us at a small admin and service fee( discounts offered for more than 1 gorilla permit purchase) in person at our Kigali OR Kampala offices or by telephones +256.782.014.207+256.782.014.207, +44.790.863.9450+44.790.863.9450 or via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Costs for gorilla permits: +$50 admin fee to cover our overheads.

  • RWANDA GORILLA PERMITS PRICE INCREASE- MAY 6th, 2017.

    Effective May 6th, 2017, RWANDA gorilla permit fees have been increased to US$1500. The new Rwanda gorilla permit price of US$1500 applies across the board to foreign nationals, East African residents, East African citizens and Rwandans alike. The old reduced gorilla permit prices have ceased.

    However the price for a gorilla permit in Uganda remain the same at US$600 on peak season and US$450 during the low gorilla trekking months of April, May and November. The price of a gorilla permit for trekking the mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park DRC also remains at US$400 per gorilla permit.

The service and admin fee  of US$50 per gorilla permit covers telephone costs, scanning expenses, staff costs who make payments to the bank and arranging for collection of gorilla permits from RDB's offices. Inclusive of the gorilla permits admin fees, we also deliver the permit to you on arrival to Kigali airport or at your Kigali hotel 24/7. In rare cases we will also deliver your permits to your Kinigi/Ruhengeri hotel reception for those visitors who for one reason or another would not be transiting through Kigali. We  offer us first class convenient service so that you do not have to get all stressed up about planning your Rwanda gorilla safari tour.

The Rwanda gorilla permit fee is inclusive of PNV park entry fees and services of gorilla trekking ranger guides.

There is English and French speaking trained guides  available as well as a team of well over 100  trained gorilla trackers most of whom speak either  French or English or both.

Visit our  website page here for what is expected of you on the day of gorilla trekking. We provide self drive and with driver 4x4 car hire out of Kigali or from Kinigi for clients who are able to make their way to Kinigi by public transportation. Our 4x4 vehicles hire start from as low as US$60 per day out of Kigali, exclusive of fuel, self drive, inclusive of insurance on un-limited mileage basis. If you require a driver, we request for an additional US$40 to cover driver fees, driver accommodation and driver meals. For rentals out of Kinigi the car hire price is much less, please ask us for details This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Gorilla trekking guidelines.

  • When you find the gorillas, trekkers are asked to keep a distance of 7m away from the gorillas. This is in order to minimise possible contact with the gorillas as well as the potential transmission of human flu, colds and other diseases, as the gorillas could so easily catch the same.
  • When you locate the gorillas in the forest, gorilla habituation research limiting viewing of the gorillas to 1 hr, after which the gorillas prefer to be left in peace to go about their business until perhaps the following day when another group of gorilla trekkers would be paying them a visit. Some visitors are so fascinated by the gorillas and depending on availability of funds choose to track the gorillas twice.
  • Informed by gorilla habituation research, a maximum of 8 gorilla trekkers are allowed in each group visiting a gorilla family. Each gorilla permit allows the visitor to only visit one gorilla family per day.
  • Parking authorities request that spitting is refrained from to minimise potential spread of diseases and virus to the delicate mountain gorillas. If you should wish to cough in the presence of the gorillas, it's imperative that you cough away from the gorillas with your mouth covered.
  • To avoid scaring the gorillas and to keep them comfortable with visitors' presence in their domain, especially the male silverbacks, it's recommended that voices and conversations as well as excitement be kept low. We appreciate that you have waited a lifetime to meet the gorillas, but it would not be a pleasant experience for the gorillas to charge at you. It is for the same reason that movements are kept at a minimum to refrain from frightening and scaring the gorillas.
  • If for some reason(pretty un-likely) that the gorillas charge at you or make voices that you think are aimed at the visitors, stand still, do not move or run. Do not panic, simply look away from the direction of the gorillas to avoid coming across as confrontational to the gorillas. The gorilla tracking guides will give you direction in such a situation. Simply follow them to the letter T and you will be just fine. These guys have spent so many years interacting with the gorillas, they know exactly what to safely do in every situation during the presence of the mountain gorillas.
  • Littering in the forest is prohibited. Please carry your litter with you back to your car or to your lodge. This is to avoid the gorillas getting in contact with un-savoury food that may not be pleasant to their diet.
  • Last but not least, have fun while visiting the gorillas, take plenty of photos to remind you of what to many is once a lifetime experience. Let's face it, a return trip to Rwanda specifically to visit the gorillas where a gorilla permit costs US$750 is not exactly on the cards of most ordinary folks who sometimes save for so many months to make the trip to Rwanda in the first place.

 

On gorilla trekking day.

  • There is no need to worry about security while visiting the gorillas in Rwanda. The Rwanda government takes gorilla tourism rather seriously, and will do everything possible to keep gorilla tracking a safe visitor activity. There will be instances where you may come across armed soldiers, these are meant purely for your protection during the visit. They maintain like most Rwandans a friendly face. The soldiers' presence is meant to guarantee security at all times, in what is sometimes a fairly volatile great lakes region.
  • The security of gorilla trekkers is Rwanda's highest priority. RDB will not schedule gorillas treks in PNV if they don't believe it is safe to do so. We additionally recommend that you check the travel advisories of the US state department and the UK foreign office travel advisories as these tend to give updated regional security updates.
  • We give a detailed suggested packing list on these pages here, but we must emphasize that the climate in PNV is very fluid and changes drastically. You should however generally expect both sunshine and rainfall anytime during the day. We thus recommend that you pack some raingear and umbrellas for the un-expected rain shower even during the dry season.
  • Volcanoes National Park where gorilla trekking takes place is at a very high altitude of over 1700 metres above sea level. Kinigi, Ruhengeri and Musanze thus get quite cold in the evening. Light jumpers and warm clothing are recommended. Some lodges provide water bottles but these may not be enough to keep you warm overnight. 
  • During gorilla treks because of the sharp stinging nettles, it is advisable that you wear long trousers, long sleeved shorts and long socks, which may be used to tuck in your trousers. Because of the slippery surfaces and steep climbs/descents, it is advisable to wear sturdy shoes. Trainers are equally as useful for those unable to carry hiking boots due to flights luggage limitations. However hiking boots can be purchased from most Kigali supermarkets. Please note that there isn't any place in Kinigi as of yet that hires out gorilla trekking gear.
  • Some gorilla groups like the Susa group can take all day to trek. Most safari lodges provide lunch boxes for the day. For those clients without the convenient lunch box provision, you may carry a snack with you and drinking water although we must advise that drinking and eating is not permitted close to the gorillas.
  • You may take as many photos and record as long videos as you can Unfortunately to minimise disruption to the gorillas you may not use your camera flash.
  • Nobody should be deterred from making the gorilla trekking trip. A certain level of fitness is required to trek the gorillas. Some gorilla families can be only 2 hrs or even less from the gorilla trekking trailheads. For the less fit visitors, you will be assigned to these groups. For the disabled visitors, and those unable to walk for long periods, porters are available to carry you on stretchers through the forest at a very small fee. Porters are also available to assist gorilla trekkers with carrying their trekking gear.

Rwanda Gorilla Families

  • Amahoro gorilla group—The Amahoro gorilla family boasts 17 members in the group. The gorilla group is led by the calm, relaxed, gentle and cool Ubumwe gorilla. Amahoro in Kinyarwanda means "peaceful" Ubumwe is appropriately named after the peaceful Amahoro gorilla group. The trek to find the group is fairly steep and demands fairly challenging fitness levels, but well worth it when one makes it.
  • Sabyinyo gorilla group— The Sabyinyo gorilla family is easily tracked and not far from the gorilla trekking trailheads. You should request to track this group if  you are not in the class of fitness gurus. The Sabyinyo group is commanded by the powerful  Silverback called Guhonda. The only snag for gorilla trekkers is that there is only a few members in this group compared to other gorilla group families. 
  • Rwanda has 7 gorilla families or gorilla groups available for trekking visitation . Each group of visitors cannot exceed 8pax. Susa gorilla group— This is the largest gorilla group with a whopping 41 gorillas in the Susa gorilla family. It is well worth tracking almost all day to locate this group. The Susa group is the most challenging to track as it tends to be well deep into the mountain. The ranger guides will however have a pretty rough idea of the susa group's daily location, and you are pretty certain to locate it well before dark. This gorilla family is well known and famous for hosting rare twins named Impano & Byishimo.
  • Group 13 gorilla group—The group 13 gorilla family was named thus as when it was first habituated for human interaction, it only consisted of 13 gorilla members. The group has since multiplied and has since grown to 25 gorillas, a very clear sign of the successful conservation efforts of the men and women who dedicate their lives to conservation of the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Your gorilla visit immensely compliments their efforts-Thank you! 
  • Kwitonda gorilla group—The Kwitonda gorilla family has  18 gorillas in the group. It is commandeered  by Kwitonda which means “humble one” and has 2 silverbacks gorillas and one blackback gorillas. Having migrated from DRC, the Kwitonda gorilla group tends to be very mobile, making it quite difficult to trek on some days.
  • Umubano gorilla group—Umubano gorilla group is a family of 11 gorillas. Umubano gorilla group broke away from Amahoro gorilla group after the dominant silverback in Amahoro gorilla group was challenged by Charles, now the leader of the Umubano group. In gorilla world  when a young silverback (in this case Charles) challenged the dominant silverback he snatched some female gorillas from the existing group in order to form his own family. This is how Charles formed the Umubano gorilla family group.

Hirwa gorilla group

The Hirwa gorilla family is the latest to  form. It emerged from breakaways from Group 13 and Sabyinyo gorilla groups. Later more gorillas joined from other families.

To book your Rwanda gorilla permit contact us for gorilla availability first on;

+256.782.014.207+256.782.014.207, +44.790.863.9450+44.790.863.9450 or via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Rwanda Enquiries Contact

Gorillas Vacations
Tel: +256-392.897.704
Mob: +256-782-014-207
Email: info@gorillapermitsrwanda.com
Uganda Office: Suite 3, Pioneer House
Plot 28 Jinja Road
Kampala, East Africa

Uganda Enquiries Contact

Gorillas Vacations
Tel: +256-392.897.704
Mob: +256-782-014-207
Email: info@gorillapermitsrwanda.com
Uganda Office: Suite 3, Pioneer House
Plot 28 Jinja Road
Kampala, East Africa

UK Enquiries Contact

Ms Sophie Williams
87 Caernarvon Close, Mitcham, Surrey
CR4 1XE, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 208 765 1058
Mobile: +44 790 863 9450
Email: info@gorillapermitsrwanda.com