Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park

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Gorilla Trekking

Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park

Gorilla trekking is one of the greatest wildlife encounters you will expect to encounter while in Rwanda on a safari, Rwanda’s volcanoes national park is located North west of the main capital Kigali and the park sits on the famous five volcanoes of Muhavura, Gahinga, sabyinyo, Karisimbi and Bisoke making it one of the greatest rainforests in East Africa.

How to book Volcanoes national park gorilla permits?

Gorilla permits in Volcanoes national park are only issued to registered safari operators by Rwanda development board which is the main conservation arm of conservation in Rwanda, RDB is a government organ that reserves full rights to sell gorilla permits in Rwanda for more information contact Wildlife Expeditions for more information on how to book the gorilla permits on your behalf however if you book a tailored safari with us gorilla permits will be included on your invoice from our Rwanda travel specialists.

How much is the cost of volcanoes national park gorilla permit?

Though the prices change time and again, currently Volcanoes national park gorilla permits cost USD 1500 per person per trek this includes park entrance, 20% community development fund and ranger guides during your trek however there are limited gorilla permits sold daily if you’re planning a safari to Rwanda you may need to book the permits in advance.

Age limit for gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park

The hike requires significant level of fitness and also coming face to face with the wild mountain gorillas some courage is required and according to Rwanda development board the gorilla permits are only sold to persons over the age of 15 and above.

Gorilla families in Volcanoes national park

Volcanoes national park is a home several gorilla families, the gorilla families change time and again so here are some of the visited gorilla families in Volcanoes national park.

Titus Gorilla family

Titus Gorilla family originated after the Silver back Titus which was born during the days of Dian Fossey’ research at Karisoke, this was the gorilla group Dian Fossey was studying. Titus the young gorilla lost his family to poachers including his father, uncle and brother and his mother and sister joined other families leaving Titus to be raised by a kind male gorilla that even wasn’t related to him.

Bwenge Gorilla family

This group is currently having 11 members including one silver back, the group derived its name Bwenge from the local word meaning ‘’Wisdom’’, Bwenge was formed in 2007 after he left his native group, and was joined some few female members from other families.

Ugenda Gorilla family

This group comprise of 11 members including two silver backs, Ugenda is a local word meaning ‘’mobile’’. The group derived its name due to its nature of moving from place to place, the group roams around mt. Bisoke and the hike is not difficult since they are easily located by the trekkers.

Hirwa Gorilla family

This family is composed of 16 members including 1 silver back. This is a newly formed group that originated from two different families that is group 13(Agashya) and Sabinyo family, the group derived its name from the local word to mean ‘’lucky one’’. The group in 2011 was blessed with twins. Hirwa family inhabits the slopes of Mount Sabinyo spreading up to Mount Gahinga.

Umubano Gorilla family

This group initially has 13 members including 2 silver backs. The group was formed by a silver back called Charles, Charles broke off from the Amahoro family due to the constant fights between him and Ubumwe, Charles couldn’t bare this so he chose to live and formed Umubano family.

Kwitonda Gorilla family

This Gorilla group is named after the dominant silver back called Kwitonda meaning ‘’humble one’’, the group migrated from the Democratic Republic of Congo and have inhabited the slower slopes of Mount. Muhabura and it’s also hardest to track since sometimes they move to the upper slopes causing difficulty in hiking to search for the Gorillas. The group comprises of 23 members with 4 silver backs.

Agashya Gorilla family

This Gorilla group is named after the initial family individual who were 13 at the time of habituation. The group was led by a silverback called Nyakarima later over thrown by Agashya meaning the ‘News’ which is now the leader and the family was named after him. Today the family has grown to 27 members including one silver back (Agashya).

Sabinyo Gorilla family

Sabinyo Gorilla family, is composed of 13 members and 2 silver backs, the was formed after the death of the dominant silver back who was fast the leader of the family, due to the cause of his death, some of the females left the group and joined other females of group eleven all together they became 4 females and 2 silverbacks that led to the formation of this group and later changed named to Sabinyo.

Amahoro Gorilla family

Also found in the volcanoes national park, the group has 18 members and 2 silver backs, the group derived it name Amahoro from a local Kinyarwanda word to mean ‘’peace’’ .the group is known is known for its calmness and peaceful serenity that has caused the family bad luck to lose some of its members to the aggressive families.

Kurira Gorilla Family

The family currently comprises of 42 members, but initially they were only 7 members in this group. The family later with time, grow big and expanded to 42 members which forced them to spilt in to two to make the Igisha family which is now known as ‘’Susa B’’. The group lives in the Volcanoes National Park headed by Kurira Alpha a male silver back Gorilla. This group is the oldest and was created by Dian Fossey in 1974.

Igisha Gorilla family-Susa B

This Gorilla family comprises of 24 members headed by Igisah silver back, originally, the group originated from Susa B group; they broke off in 2014 and formed their own Gorilla family that was later named after the male silver back Igisha the head of the family.

Susa gorilla family

This group sometimes migrates to higher altitudes making them harder to track. The group is well known for having twins: Byishimo and Impano. This was also the group originally studied by Dian Fossey.

How to get to Volcanoes national park?

There are only two ways to get to volcanoes national park from Kigali, travellers can take the two hour drive using the 4×4 safari vehicle which is 2-3 hours’ drive to the park headquarters in Kinigi or you can charter a helicopter from Akagera aviation which is just a 30 minutes hoop to the lodges near the park boundary.

Where to stay in Volcanoes national park?

There are several guest houses in Musanze, budget, standard, Luxury and Super luxury lodges in kinigi and other neighbouring areas like Lake Bulera and Ruhondo and some of the lodges to look out for include Teloreza eco- Lodge, sabyinyo silverback Lodge, Virunga Lodge, Bisate Lodge and Singita Kwitonda Lodge.

Best time to visit volcanoes national park

Volcanoes national park is an all year round safari destination but the dry season from June to October and the second shorter dry spell in January is one of the best times to trek Mountain gorillas in the park other months like February, may and December are also good to visit the park.



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