Like Uganda, Gorilla Trekking is Rwanda's most popular attraction that pull tourists to the tiny country.
This relatively small country attracts thousands of tourists who are drawn to the northern side of the country for gorilla watching. Annually, the country earns millions of dollars from gorilla tourism, a thriving avenue to promoting conservation within the volatile Virunga Region.
Rwanda hosts almost a third of the world's estimated population of about 900 mountain gorillas. These great apes are protected in the Volcanoes National Park which is also known as Parc National des Volcans (PNV) in French.
Where is Volcanoes National Park Located?
The park is situated in the northern part of Rwanda in the Musanze district. You can reach the park by public means from Kigali or via private vehicles. It is a 2 hour drive from Kigali airport/city to the park. The park is a continuous part of the larger Virunga conservation area that stretches over the eight volcanoes of the Virunga. Every day, tourists visit this park on gorilla safaris, walking trips in search of the great apes that live high in the Virunga mountains.
How Many Gorilla Groups are Found in Volcanoes National Park?
Volcanoes National park hosts ten habituated Gorilla groups namely Amahoro gorilla family, Sabyinyo Gorilla family, Karisimbi Gorilla group, Umubano Gorilla group, 13 group (Aka Agasha gorilla group), Hirwa gorilla group, Bwenge Gorilla family, Ugenda Gorilla family and Kwitonda Gorilla group.
How is Gorilla Trekking Conducted in Rwanda?
Like in Uganda, the Rwanda Gorilla trekking excursion begins with briefing at around 7:30am, followed by gorilla group allocation to ensure that the sick, aged and weak people are given an easy trek. It is noted that a maximum of eight people are allowed to trek in each gorilla group. All trekker groups are led by ranger guides to ensure an informative and enjoyable trek. Only one hour is currently given to treks stay with Gorillas.
How Much is the Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Permit?
Rwanda Gorilla trekking permit is sold at $750 to foreign residents, Rfrancs 3000 to Rwanda citizens and $ 475 to Eat African Foreign residents.
Where Can You Get Rwanda Gorilla Permits?
You can get trekking permits from Rwanda development Board headquarters in Kigali or from any of the authorized agent.
Tourist Attractions Within Volcanoes National Park
Other tourist attractions in Volcanoes national park includes the Virunga Mountain which offers a wonderful view for photographing. Some of the volcanoes you can see while in Volcanoes National Park include Mountain Sabyinyo, Visoke/ Bisoke Volcano, Karisimbi Volcano, Mount Mgahinga and Mountain Muhabura.
Golden monkeys are the second attraction after Gorillas in Rwanda. You can conclude your safari in Volcanoes with Golden monkey trekking after seeing Gorillas as your first priority. Golden monkeys are found in groups and it’s enjoyable to meet them in their natural habitat.
Many bird species are found in the park. Volcanoes national park hosts over 50 bird species ,therefore, birders are welcome!
The unique tree species in the park – alongside bamboo vegetation is also amazing to see while in Volcanoes National Park.
Every morning before setting off to trek Gorillas, visitors are entertained with Kinyarwanda dance and songs. The troop performs to its best.
The Safari Lodges consist of Kinigi Guest House, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge among others. The lodges are well decorated to attract visitors- staying at one of the listed lodges is memorable and you will feel as if you are in a home away from home!
The park also hosts insects, butterflies and reptiles among others. It should be noted that reptiles are rarely seen but they do exist.
Tourist Attractions Outside Volcanoes National Park
The twin lake – Lake Burera and Buhondo are referred to as twin Lakes in Rwanda. The Lakes are situated near Virunga Lodge. Therefore, visitors staying at Virunga Lodge can enjoy the view of the twin lakes while in the veranda of their lodge or you can sit in the chair and enjoy the view while sipping a drink.
The Iby’iwacu cultural villages are situated outside Volcanoes National Park but are well worth a visit. At the Iby’iwacu cultural village, you will be entertained by the residents through music, dance and drama, enjoy local stories, meet traditional fortune tellers among other things. At the Iby’iwacu cultural village, visitors are equipped with weaving skills, drumming skills, skills in using arrows while hunting and so on.