The Cost of Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park : Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park is the most popular tourism product in Rwanda. This activity involves hiking through mountainous areas and forests in search of a creature that resembles/behaves like humans. Mountain gorillas are special among the gorilla sub-species because of their endangered status. Only 1000 individuals still roam earth and there are none in zoos. An encounter with them is concerned to be one of the best 5 wildlife experiences. All gorilla trekking activities in Rwanda are organized by the Volcanoes National park. It is one of the 4 gorilla trekking national parks in East Africa, but stands out because of the mountain gorillas. The park has 30% of the overall population of mountain gorillas remaining on earth. 20% are found in Virunga national park of Congo while the rest (50%) live in Uganda. In all, about 320 individual gorillas roam the park with 10 families habituated.
In order to have the best possible experience while tracking the gorillas, prepare yourself physically and mentally to complete the activity regardless of how long things go. Remember to carry water and packed food because you will get thirsty or hungry. Wear clothes that cover the body well and remember to travel with proper hiking boots. A gorilla trek packing list must include a raincoat regardless of season.
It is important to always follow the gorilla trekking guidelines whenever in the park. Persons under the age of 15 years are not allowed to take part in gorilla trekking. This is because younger people may not follow instructions while with the primates. Young people may not have the mental toughness to complete the trek. They may want to go back if they get hungry, thirsty or tired. They are also prone to flue and cough compared to older travelers and yet gorillas are susceptible to these contagious diseases. A person with any contagious disease like flu, cold, cough and covid-19 cannot be allowing to do gorilla trekking. Gorillas have a similar DNA with humans and could catch our diseases. Do not use flash while photographing gorillas to avoid irritating them.
What is the cost of gorilla trek in the Volcanoes National Park?
Like any other tourism activity, gorilla trekking has a price. A visitor must first acquire a gorilla permit and this goes for $1500 per person. The Rwanda gorilla trek permit is acquired from the Rwanda Development Board or through a local tour operator. Apart from gorilla permits, there are other costs to consider. They include the cost of accommodation, transport, meals and personal expenses.
In all, a 1 Day gorilla trek in Rwanda maybe possible at rough cost $1,800 per person for budget accommodation. The2 Day Rwanda gorilla tour would cost $2,150 per person for budget accommodation. A3 Days Rwanda gorilla tour may costs around $2,350 per person for budget lodges. Mid-range and Luxury travelers must ready to pay even more.
After buying permits and booking your accommodation, the next thing is to show up at the park offices. On the day of tracking, travelers are required to be at the Volcanoes National Park headquarters early in the morning (at 7:00am) for briefing. During the briefing session, the Rangers and Warden will share information about the park, the gorilla groups, gorilla conservation activities and how to conduct oneself while with the primates. After the briefing, your gorilla permits and passports will be verified. After that you will be given a walking stick and allocated a gorilla group based on your overall fitness. Only 8 people can track a gorilla group in a day. The Rangers will take you to different starting points depending on the gorilla group you are allocated. If you have any heavy luggage, you can hire a porter to help out. Porter services go for between 10 to 15 US Dollars, The Cost of Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park .
The beginning part of the hike is easy because you go through established trails, which pass through villages or deforested areas. After a while, the hike become more and more difficult as you enter thick forest. The Rangers may have to use machetes to clear the way for the group. As you hike through the thick bushes, the Rangers will share more stories about the gorilla group and the different species of trees/wildlife in the park. The search for the gorillas in the Volcanoes national park takes between 1 to 4 hours.
Gorillas live in groups of between 8 to 30 individuals led by a dormant silverback. You will usually find them feeding on shoots and leaves. On sensing the presence of intruders in their midst, the group may get alerted as the silverback comes to check what is going on. If the silverback senses no danger, he will simply continue feeding or resting with his family. Other group members will follow the silverback’s lead and go about their business like you don’t exist. While with the gorillas, follow instructions from the Rangers. Only start taking photos when you are allowed two. Do not touch a gorilla even when they come close to you. Keep a distance of at least 7 meters from the nearest gorilla. Do not surround the gorillas or make loud noise out of excitement. You are allowed only 1 hour with the gorillas. Take the time to observe the family.
Gorilla families are very peaceful compared to chimpanzees. The silverback leads by charisma and example. He rarely gets violent but will be watching all your movements even though he appears busy on other things. After one hour of interaction with the gorillas, the Rangers will lead you back to the park headquarters where you will find your drivers waiting to take you back to the hotel.