Mountain gorillas ( beringei beringei) can only be found in the Virunga ranges ( volcanoes) of Africa shared by Rwanda in the North West, Uganda in the South West of the country, and Congo. It’s only in these places that you can find the estranged creatures that are fewer than 1000 individuals as according to the 2012 Gorilla Census conducted by the IUCN and the regional conservation bodies. The mountain gorillas live at the high altitudes in the Volcanoes National Park and the country (Rwanda is blessed with about 20 gorilla family groups.
To trek these estranged creatures, one has to go through thick vegetation walking long distances up steep, in the wet, and muddy terrain. Though this is one of the hardest adventures, a gorilla trek rewards you with sightings of the mountain gorillas, a rare incident in the natural habitats of these apes. The trek passed you through the beautiful scenery of the rain forests, live singing and whispers of birds in the woods and so much more. Therefore nothing in the world can compare to having a close encounter with the endangered mountain gorillas where you get a chance to watch the apes playing, sulking, teasing each other, eating, and dozing which are not so different from the things done by ourselves (the human beings).
So when in Rwanda, you should not leave the country without taking a visit to the Virunga volcanoes / Volcanoes National Park, home to the tranquil mountain gorillas. Currently, you can book a gorilla tour with a local tour operator or travel agency in Rwanda.
However, if you choose to visit mountain gorillas, their are certain regulations one shouldn’t ignore;
- Every habituated gorilla family group can be visited by only eight (8) people per day leaving us with only 80 visitors to the 10 gorilla family groups set up especially for ousts,
- Every visit can last for only one hour where you get in close view while interacting with Virunga’s apes,
- The children below 15 years of age are not allowed to engage in this tourism activity,
- you also have a chance to always choose on which group to trek you should bear in mind your physical and health ability when deciding since the process is quite tiresome requiring severe climbing and bending through the thick foliage, scrambling through and undergrowth covered with nettles, barbed wires, and bamboo thickets ( and this point one should make sure to carry only suitable hiking clothes).
This gorilla trekking adventure can be done through forest walks, climbing volcanoes, bicycling (which has yet picked strong ground in Rwanda), mountain biking and so much more.
The mountain gorillas are always on the move, usually, there are tour guides who trek the animals earlier before you get there, which helps to simplify our trekking tours.