Rwanda is blessed with many wildlife diversity and bird species which form its core products. The country has beautiful scenery making it known as the country of a thousand hills and with hospitable people which has attracted a lot of safaris to Rwanda. The glory of this country is seen in her mountain gorillas. Rwanda is a home for one of the unique group of primates (the endangered mountain gorillas) found in only three countries (Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo) in the world and as a result as led to many safari visits in Rwanda.
Mountain gorillas are critically endangered animals out listed by IUCN. The primates live in the rainforest Volcanoes National Park, located 90 minutes drive from Kigali the capital city of Rwanda. Volcanoes National park is shared by Mgahinga national park in Uganda and Virunga National park in Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain gorillas mostly feed on fresh leaves, shoots, fruits, and piths but they do not take water on daily basis because of the food they eat which contains a lot water and moisture.
These Apes are the largest primate species having about 98% of Human DNA making them the closest relatives of Humans and the Chimpanzees. Thus making them one of the tourism attractions you don’t want to miss seeing while on your safari in Rwanda. This specie of critically endangered Mountain gorillas live in groups headed by one leader called silverback. Silver back guards the group against any danger and threats from other animals. He protects the group even with his own life which reflects the nature of man. Mountain gorillas offer the best safaris experiences while on your safaris to Rwanda and Uganda as well as other East African Countries. Many writers contend that, a safari in Africa is only complete when you visit mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, in the true African wilderness, deep in the heart of Africa.
Gorilla safaris in Rwanda are best conducted in Volcanoes national park and for Uganda is best done in Bwindi impenetrable national park. Uganda also has another group of mountain gorillas known as “Nyakagezi gorilla group” found in Mgahinga National Park. However, this group is not yet stable as it sometimes crosses the boarder to Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, simply because they do not need visas. Gorilla trekking safaris also offer tourists with the additional opportunity to spot different bird species, other animals and other primates like the golden monkeys and the silver monkeys.
To enjoy gorilla trekking, you are required to assemble at the park headquarters in Kinigi before 7:30am for a briefing about this activity. This means you should sleep in lodges around the park a night before the trek. Among the accommodation options around Volcanoes National Park include Sabyinyo Silverback lodge, Virunga lodge, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Hotel La Palme and Kinigi Guest House among others.
However, if you stay in Kigali and interested in tracking gorillas the same day, you need to leave Kigali in the morning at 4:30am, it takes 2 hours drive. However, this is high risk because there is one route to the park and in case you find it blocked by mud slides or fallen trees, you won’t have any other option and you are likely to miss the trek, yet, no refund for gorilla permits that costs US$750. At the end of the trek, each tourist who participated is rewarded with a certificate to confirm that he / she successfully participated in this life time adventure activity.