Start place: Volcanoes National Park
Approximately 800 mountain gorillas exist globally in the wild today. They are found in Rwanda, DRC, and Uganda. In DRC and Rwanda, gorillas live in similar ecosystems/areas. The gorilla species found in these three areas are called highland gorillas.
In Rwanda there are ten habituated gorilla families that are open to visits – the visit to a gorilla family is done once per day, with a maximum 8 trekkers per group and the duration of a visit is limited to one (1) hour with the gorilla family. The time spent with them is limited due to conservation considerations and to minimize impact on the day-to-day life of the gorilla family you are visiting. It is important to be well prepared for the trek — you never know if your total trek will be short or long. The total duration of a trek can vary and be anything between 4 and 9 hrs in length depending on the location of the gorillas, which are constantly moving. You will mainly walk where there are no paths apart from the occasional buffalo or elephant trail.
Touching the gorillas is not allowed (although in some cases they may touch you). Making loud noises or sudden movements is also not allowed. You should attempt to keep a distance of 7m from the gorillas, however the gorillas themselves are unaware of this and will often get very close, in which case you should try to slowly move away. At all times you must abide by the instructions of the trackers and rangers.
Please note that porters are available at approx. $10USD per person. The porters are all hired from local villages and not only can carry your day pack, but assist you with a welcome hand over difficult spots. Regardless of your fitness level, we highly recommend hiring a porter as some tracks can be very muddy and elevation can affect even the most fit person. It also provides employment and supports the local community.
Depart early and transfer to the national park to meet the park ranger/guide for orientation. Embark on a gorilla trek, which can vary in length and difficulty, depending on the location of the gorilla family that's being visited. Spend an hour observing these beautiful and endangered creatures. After, return to the lodge for lunch then visit a local village to catch a glimpse of daily rural life.
Mountain gorillas share 98% of our DNA and are prone to catching human illnesses. Please note that if you are unwell with anything contagious, even a common cold, you may be denied any of the treks to ensure the safety of the gorillas. This is a national park regulation, and trekking permits will not be refunded if you are denied entrance due to illness.
Proper hiking attire must be worn – you will be trekking in a rainforest with lots of vegetation, undergrowth, nettles and normally a rather muddy terrain. Minimum age for gorilla trekking is 15 years old.
Please note that depending on the size of our group and when permits are confirmed, we may be split into 2 trekking groups and you may be trekking with non-G travellers.
End place: Volcanoes National Park
Meals: B, L, D