Gorilla Safaris

Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations – Uganda, Rwanda & Congo

Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations – Uganda, Rwanda & Congo

What are the rules and regulations of Gorilla Trekking?

Gorilla trekking rules and regulations play a significant role not only towards the safety of mountain gorillas but also visitors’ safety in the wild. Before embarking on the actual gorilla trek, the park officials or park ranger guide briefs trekkers on the set rules and regulations.

Mountain gorillas are a few most endangered species on the planet and a total of only 1063 of these rare species still thrives in the world. Tours to the mountain gorillas are only done in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Southwestern Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in northwestern Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).Baby Gorilla in the Jungle

Below are some of the set rules and regulations to follow while on the actual hike in search for the mountain gorillas in the Jungle;

  • Low Voices

While on a search for mountain gorillas, trekkers are advised to keep their voices low at all times. However, you are free to ask as many questions as you can.

  • Communicable Diseases

Visitors with communicable diseases like TB, cough and flu won’t be allowed to trek mountain gorillas. About 98% of the mountain gorillas’ DNA is similar to that of humans making them very susceptible to human infectious diseases. You should cover your mouth while coughing.

  • Number of Visitors

Each day, only 8 tourists are allowed to trek 1 (one) habituated gorilla family. A group is led by an experienced park ranger guide and tracker. This experience is restricted to 8 visitors because it is one way to ensure their daily behaviour in the wild isn’t destabilized and avoid overcrowding.

  • Don’t litter

Leave the gorilla habitat the way you found or even better. Trekkers are advised not to throw rubbish anyhow and carry back anything they went with on a trek to where there is a rubbish bin. This rule and regulation intend to ensure the jungle is kept clean and the health of mountain gorillas is kept appropriately.

  • Wash your hands prior the trek

Wash your hands prior to setting off on the actual trek. Before you set off to search for gorilla family assigned to you, you need to wash your hand. This measure is essential in preventing the spread of infectious diseases to these endangered species.

  • Hiking Time

Trekkers have only one hour with mountain gorillas. The entire trek may cover 2-6 hours, however, you will have only 1 hour to strike for your imaginations, take photos, and explore their behaviours. This measure is aimed at limiting destabilizing the general behaviour of the gorillas while in their natural habitat.

  • Keep Distance

You must keep a distance of seven meters from the Mountain gorillas. This is enough distance for you to observe them, take pictures and photos.

Morning Briefing about gorilla trekking experience

Morning Briefing about gorilla trekking experience

      • Smoking & Eating in the Jungle

No smoking, and eating while on a gorilla trek. This is highly prohibited in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. This rule and regulation aim at preventing the spread of infectious diseases to mountain gorillas. Note, these species shared about 98 per cent of their DNA with humans which makes them very susceptible to human infectious diseases. During the hike, the rangers give you a break where you can eat your packed lunch or snacks.

      • Always stay within your group

When trekking to see mountain gorillas, make sure you keep around your group you came with. This is to avoid cases of getting lost in the rainforest and limiting cases of wildlife harming in the wild.

      • Stand still in case the gorilla charges

In case the gorilla charges, please follow the guide’s instructions, stay calm and don’t run.

      • Flashlight Cameras

No flashlight camera is allowed when taking photos of mountain gorillas. Flashlight cameras tend to irritate gorillas a behaviour which may cause harm to them. To avoid such cases, you are advised to turn off your flashlight camera or come with a camera with no flashlight.

      • Don’t touch Gorillas

Even when mountain gorillas come close to you or rub their bodies on you, don’t be tempted to touch them. This rule is essential in minimizing the spread of human infectious diseases.

      • Gorilla Permit

To trek mountain gorillas, you should have a valid gorilla permit. Each gorilla permit lets you trek one habituated family. This rule is intended to control the number of tourists visiting each gorilla family every day which may destabilize the behaviour of mountain gorillas.

      • Age
With the Gorillas

Gorilla Encounter

Only persons above 15 years are eligible to purchase gorilla permits and visit the gorillas. This is because children usually carry communicable diseases and to reduce any risk of them spreading to mountain gorillas, this rule has to be observed. Also, children can scream in the jungle when scared by the gorillas, thus destabilizing the peace of the gentle giants.

      • Clothes

Wear environmentally friendly clothes. Make sure you avoid shouting colours as they may scare off mountain gorillas.

      • Easing your self

In case of need to help yourself while in the forest, please burry your wastes as per the instructions of the guide.

The above rules and regulations must be followed during the gorilla trek in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Congo Republic. All this information and more is available for you to read at all park headquarters in Bwindi National Park, Mgahinga, Virunga, Kahuzi Biega and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Additionally, during the morning briefing about gorilla trekking adventure, the park ranger will tell you about all these and more rules and regulations, do’s and dont’s while on the gorilla trek.

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Alibaba Founder Jack Ma To Visit Rwanda

Of recent, the Rwanda Development Board entered into a partnership deal with the Rwanda Embassy in China a move that was intended to showcase the country’s available investment and tourism opportunities. The dumbed ‘Rwanda Week’ in China mainly targeted the potential investors who would make the best of country’s available investment opportunities. Due to this, one of the most famous business and investors ‘Jack Ma’ is soon expected to pay a visit to this remarkable country.

He is set to be in this landlocked country at the end of October on 30th where he will interact with most of the local investors to identify more available investment opportunities in different sectors. The major sectors of interest include tourism, electronic payment and education between China and Rwanda.

Jack Ma is a founder and executive chairman of Chinese e-commerce Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Additionally, this group also deals in retails, internet, and technology. It was founded in 1999 with aim of offering consumer to consumer, business to consumer and business to business sales services through web portals and also electronic payment services, shopping search engines and not to forget cloud computing services. It deals in a number of businesses that are widely distributed worldwide and cover different sectors making it one of the most treasured companies in the world.

His visit will mark the second time he is visiting Rwanda after the last trip he made when he came to be part of Youth Connekt Africa summit that took place in July 2017. Over 2500 participants across Africa are engaged in the Youth-Connekt Summit and they are mainly engaged in motivational talks as well as get first hand guidance on how they can be empowered to change this forgotten continent.

Just the previous year alone Jack Ma in addition to sharing the hidden secretes of his success, he also disclosed to them the $10 million fund that was mainly targeted to aid the young African entrepreneurs explore the business world. This summit attracts various heads of state, world business leaders, AU commissioners, multilateral organizations, Ministers of Youth, development partners, young men and women entrepreneurs, civil society and academia, youth led organizations, venture capitalists, business angels and many others.

The project was launched in 2012 by the Rwandan government in conjunction with One UN Rwanda. The main objective of this initiative was to unite different youths so as to help them showcase the potential of Africa’s youth and the available opportunities. As this is part of this program, Jack Ma-a renowned Chinese Billionaire has disclosed more about the 4 (four) groundbreaking projects that include inviting about 200 young African entrepreneurs to work at Alibaba headquarters.

This is aimed at making the youths gain experience in the fields like the e-commerce, internet and artificial intelligence. The other initiative is mainly to work with universities in Africa and government to provide training in particular courses that still cover areas of artificial intelligence, e-commerce and internet. The 3rd(third) program is mainly to partner between Alibaba and Paradise Foundation of China.

The project will mainly focus on promoting and supporting environmental conservation efforts in African continent mostly elephant and other wildlife species. Elephants are among the very few most endangered species in the world and despite this fact, they are also the most looked for among the big game in Africa. Their existence plays a significant role in the tourism sector. In Africa, they come in different species including the forest elephants-these mainly dwell in most of the tropical rain-forests of Africa and the African bush-the savanna grassland dwellers.

With Alibaba partnership deal, Rwanda continues to leave the world wondering after it again struck a deal with Arsenal Football Club in a ‘Visit Rwanda’ campaign. By marketing it via Alibaba websites will further attract not only a large population of Chinese visitors but also other visitors across the world. What is amazing is that the upcoming Alibaba electronic payment system in Rwanda is of a great value the fact that the Alipay connects more than half a billion users and it is on an increase. Besides, about 8 (eight) African states have already adopted this system and due to this, the Rwanda Alibaba partnership deal perhaps will see Rwanda’s tourism and ICT sector on a lead in the near future.

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Rwanda Climate

Usually, before you embark on actual tour to any destination, climatic condition of that country is one major factor that determines whether you will travel or not. And Rwanda like most countries in Africa feature a particular climatic type that in most cases impacts on visitors travel experiences. Rwanda is also among the very few most strategic tourist destinations in Africa, straddling just at close proximity to the Equator about 2 (two) degrees in the south. Regardless of this, and given its high altitudinal range, it mainly experiences temperate kind of climate with average annual temperature range of not above 25 degrees Celsius. Kigali on other hand has an average temperature range of about 21 degrees. Whereas Rwanda is regarded as an all year round safari destination, understanding its climatic conditions prior your actual tour is of great significance as this can help guide you while plan for your next holiday and at the end of it all, you will have the most enjoyable vacation.

This Landlocked African state straddles within Central Africa and experiences its long dry spell from June to September and each year, it also experiences 2 (two) wet seasons with the first one staring from mid-March  to early June and little amount of rainfall is received from Mid-September to December. Depending on what your interests are while on African safari in Rwanda, for primate enthusiasts, gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park is ideal during the dry season and also for those of you who are interested in wildlife viewing in Akagera National Park-the only savanna wildlife park in this country. Note that each season comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. The dry season for this case is of great significance the fact that the ground remains relatively drier than when it is a wet season making it easier for you to for instance trek to see the rare mountain gorillas while in the wild.

The rainy season in this beautiful African nation is usually realized from January-April and the second one is experienced from October-Mid-December. March to Mid-May is usually the longest wet season and mostly realized in mountainous areas and if you are interested in mountain gorilla tracking, this period isn’t that ideal but for those of you who are interested in chimpanzee trekking, this is normally an optimum period the fact that most figs and fruits are available and ripen thus attracting most of the chimpanzees to feed on them and at the end, you catch a glimpse at them without necessarily walking for long distances searching for them like it is always the case for the dry season which is characterized by less forage.

But due to its proximity at the equator and nature of habitats where most of the wildlife species live in this country, you have to expect it to rain at any time of the day. The 2 wet seasons also come with short dry spell and this usually comes with some sunshine and light clouds. From December to February, this is usually the peak season and most tourists are attracted to canoeing experiences, hiking adventures and many more.To be on safer side while on your vacation in Rwanda, you have to pack approximately for your trip starting with essentials first. You will need lightweight clothing, rain jacket or poncho, waterproof hiking boots a mention but a few.Generally, Rwanda experiences 3 (three) varied kinds of climate and they include tropical savanna climate, subtropical highland and Oceanic climate. Unlike most African states, Rwanda tends to remain not very hot or even very cold thus provides conducive climatic conditions which makes it an ideal destination to visit while on safari in Africa.

Rwanda is a small hilly African nation within central region and it is bordered by Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Kigali is its vibrant capital city and comes with colorful flowering trees and shrubs from different areas along its ridges. Due to its strategic location, visitors on Rwanda safari enjoy dramatic views of varied cultivated and terraced countryside. It receives plenty of rainfall that has always kept this country ever stunning with its lush vegetation. In average, this beautiful city receives about 1028 mm of rainfall each year approximately 86 mm each month. During the dry season especially in July, about 9 mm of rainfall is received and 183 mm during wet season in April.Rwanda is separated by peaks that stretch up to 3000 meters and they extend from the north to the south. The Virunga Massifs stand steeply from Lake Kivu in the west and covers the mountainous central plateau and in the further eastwards to Marshy Lakes in the Akagera River-where Akagera National Park is located.

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2018 Gorilla Naming Ceremony in Rwanda

2018 Gorilla Naming Ceremony in Rwanda

The ceremony of naming newborn baby gorillas, commonly known as ‘Kwita Izina’ happens in Kinigi, a native town adjacent to Volcanoes national park and has been part of Rwandan conservation culture for over a decade.
Naming infant gorillas has become a significant annual nationwide tradition in Rwanda organized by the Rwanda Development Board with support from various regional and international partners. The event is based on a historic norm for naming newborns in Rwanda and Africa at large, and has been adapted to recognize and celebrate Rwanda’s efforts in successful gorilla protection and conservation.

Kwita Izina ceremony is Rwanda’s popular gorilla event since its inception in 2005 and it has turned out to be a household term not only in Rwanda but also globally. Up to 216 baby gorillas have so far received names for the last 11 years this event has been in existence.

Each year, the gorilla naming ceremony pulls over 20,000 conservationists, local and international tourism stake holders together with the local communities who live close and conserve these endangered apes.
The name attributed to each baby gorilla plays a vital role in the day to day monitoring activities for every gorilla in their individual families and habitats. During this year’s event, 18 baby gorillas born after September last year are expected to receive names.

This year’s Kwita Izina includes a number of buildup events leading up to the ceremony, including launching community projects, familiarization trips, a gala fundraising dinner, a conservation and tourism exhibition and a two-day “Conversation on Conservation” conference in Kigali with delegates attending from all over the world. The “Kwita Izina conservation exhibition” is a 2 day event that intends to showcase Rwanda’s remarkable work in conservation of wildlife and culture, while the two-day conference will bring delegates from around the world to discuss Africa’s common conservation challenges and devise lasting solutions for preserving critical ecosystems for generations.

The “Kwita Izina” event ends with a remarkable “Igitaramo cultural dinner” – a Cultural Celebratory dinner whose objective is to raise funds for supporting Rwanda’s ongoing conservation activities particularly the ‘Expansion of the mountain gorilla habitat’.

This unique dinner is a great cultural celebration with amazing entertainment from the famous Rwandese cultural groups and locally fashioned cuisine to be hosted on the banks of idyllic Lake Kivu in Rubavu.

This week long event in Rwanda will include a variety of conservation-awareness activities, with park staff, local groups, government leaders, international community, celebrities,students and native communities all coming in to help choose names for the baby gorillas born from the past year and also participating in buildup events throughout the week.

Through forming a unified force and coherent participation and commitment of government authorities, tourism bodies, research, protection and community initiatives Rwanda is bound to witness vital successes in conservation efforts, and now with inclusion of Kwita Izina is an important national celebration.

Kwita Izina has grown to become an important event more than just giving names to young gorillas, and it is now a global event during which the international community and Rwandans join together to celebrate and recognize milestone achievements of the country’s rich bio diverse ecology as well as inclusive growth of the economy and wellbeing of its citizens.

It’s also a day to recognize the value of partnerships and also show appreciation to specific individuals who have dedicated their lives to the cause of conservation.

Some important persons to attend this year’s Kwita Izina ceremony include but not limited to;- President Paul Kagame, Dr. Allan Karlsson – senior conservation advisor at the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), manager of Phinda Reserve that donated lions to Akagera National Park – Simon Naylor, Amy Vedder – a pioneer of conservation work with mountain gorillas and Yale University Professor, Dr. Hans J. Heuer – managing director of Best Western Plus Lusaka Grand Hotel, Dr. Janaki Alavalapati – Senior fellow for Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas at the U.S. Department of State, Fred Swaniker – Founder and CEO of the African Leadership Group andFrank Keesling- the son of the founder of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project in Rwanda, among other notable dignitaries and celebrities.

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Titus Gorilla Family – Rwanda

Titus Gorilla Family – Rwanda

When it comes to safaris to Rwanda, the most prominent attractions that never miss out in most of the travelers’ bucket list are the rare mountain gorillas. These unique apes feature as among the very few tourist attractions in the world that offer visitors with the most thrilling experiences that come once in a lifetime. They are only found in 3 (three) destinations; Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These rare apes share about 98% of their DNA with humans making them a few most vulnerable species on earth. In Rwanda, they are only located in Volcanoes National Park, northwestern part of the country takes trekkers approximately 2 hours’ drive off Kigali International Airport. Volcanoes National Park comprises of ten (10) habituated gorilla groups that have been set for visitor experiences.

Titus gorilla group derived its name from Titus gorilla silverback that was born on 24th August 1974 at a time when Dian Fossey conducting her research at Karisoke Research Centre. Titus was monitored by Kelly Stewart who later named the group after him. Unfortunately, he lost his family members to poachers which included his uncle, brother, sister and father. This was the most challenging moment in Titus’s life. The family then never had females for a period of more than 8 (eight) years and the males were monitored in homosexual behavior till when five females from other families joined his family. Titus led the group for longer period of time and it is estimated that he led the family up to 2007 till Beetsme silverback succeeded his leadership in 2009.

He led the family till he passed on in 2012 and he became one of the male gorillas with several infants and managed the biggest gorilla family. He was protective to the female whereby he was sighted biting a female when she was caught up mating secretly with his son Kuryama. Beetsme featured as a good silverback till he passed on. Titus group features as one of the families that have thrived for longer time. Today, this troop features both new and old individuals that are all peacefully surviving in the same group. Titus was however got when he was dead in his nest surrounded by his group members and he was declared to have died of natural causes. At the age of 35 years, this gorilla king was famous as the most successful gorilla in the Land of a Thousand Hills with numerous infants compared to any other gorilla. This family still serves research needs but recently tourists have been accepted to track through it especially when the permits are overbooked for the main ten habituated families. Titus family is found between Karisimbi and Visoke Volcanoes.

In conclusion, Titus gorilla family is one of the oldest families in Volcanoes National Park. A visit to this group offers tourists a chance to explore more about Titus that features as the oldest silverback that thrived for long and also sired many infants.

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Watching Uganda’s Mountain Gorillas In The Mist In A New Style

Watching Uganda’s Mountain Gorillas In The Mist In A New Style

Ever thought of undertaking mountain gorilla trekking safari to Africa but you do not where or how to see them while in the wild? Spending an hour with the rare mountain gorillas while in the Africa’s thick jungles is best described as a magical experience that comes once in a lifetime. About 900 mountain gorillas are left in the world today and only thrive within the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park in Southwestern Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in northwestern Rwanda and in the Virunga National Park in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They are at higher risk of extinction and their survival is remarkably the Africa’s biggest conservation success tales.

The famous mammalogist George Schaller featured as the first to research gorillas around the 1950s. However, it was till Dian Fossey the famous American primatologist who brought the plight of these dramatic creatures to international world. She conducted research on these unique primates for about 18 years in the jungles of Volcanoes National Park. She spend much of her time in the tropical rainforest, raised funds for rangers and safeguarded gorillas despite the severe dangers from poachers but unfortunately, she was mysteriously murdered around 1985. About 250 individuals of these unique apes thrived in the wild under severe threats during Dian Fossey’s time.

In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, gorilla safaris began around 1993 when the Mubare gorilla family was first habituated for tourism and was tracked by visitors on safari in Uganda. For enhanced adventures with these special creatures, Bwindi National Park has also introduced Mountain Gorilla Habituation Experience the only primate adventure that is conducted in Bwindi in the groups of Bikingi and Bushaho. This new adventure offers trekkers opportunity to spend about four (4) hours with these unique apes in the wild.

Traditional encounters

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park features about 400 individuals of rare mountain gorillas and about 11 groups have been habituated for visitor experiences. The usual treks start in the four of the main tracking regions of Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija and Rushaga sector. Buhoma features families like Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura; Ruhija sector features gorilla groups such as Oruzogo, Bitukura, Kyaguriro; Rushaga area has the families like Nshongi, Mishaya, Kahungye, Busingye; Nkuringo region features only Nkuringo family.

The treks begin with early morning briefing by the park official who takes visitors through the code of conduct while with the species in the wild. Mountain gorillas share about 98 percent of their DNA with humans making them the most susceptible species to human infectious diseases. Because of this, trekkers are required not have any signs of illness and only 8 (eight) visitors are permitted to track one habituated gorilla group per day and only one hour is given for visitors to strike their imaginations with the apes in the wild. Also, visitors are required to maintain a distance of seven meters at all times from the apes and never try touching the apes. While taking photographs, make sure that your camera has no flash light and if it has, ensure that the flash lights are turned off before taking pictures of these critically endangered apes. Some families are just a short walk off Buhoma however; others may require you to spend a bit a longer time of about 1 to 8 hours depending on their location, your hiking speed and nature of gorilla habitat.

Bwindi National Park covers an area of 331 square kilometers and features mainly thick tropical rain forests which at times makes it challenging for visitors to hike through especially when it rains and the ground becomes slippery. However, for visitors with heavy luggage, you can hire a porter to get you relieved from the heavy load and you only concentrate on your actual trek. Porters can be hired at $15.

Gorilla trekking permits for Uganda cost $600 per visitor which is relatively cheaper than the cost of tracking gorillas in the Rwanda Volcanoes National Park which goes at $1500 per visitor.

From the above discussion, depending on sector that your permit will direct to but gorilla trekking is exceptionally the most thrilling and breathtaking adventure that rewards visitors with lifetime experiences.

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Kahuzi-Biega National Park Tour Attractions

Kahuzi-Biega National Park Tour Attractions

Activities Within Kahuzi-Biega National Park

Established in 1970 by a Belgian Conservationist and Photographer-Adrien Deschryver and inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980, Kahuzi-Biega National Park is one of the largest National Parks in the Democratic Republic of Congo stretching for about 6000 square kilometers (2316 square miles/600,000 hectares) and is found near Bukavu Town within the Eastern side of Democratic Republic of Congo near the western banks of Lake Kivu and Rwandan border.

Kahuzi-Biega National Park was named after the two famous dormant Volcanoes-Mount Biega and Mount Kahuzi that are found within the same area the Protected Area is found. It is known for its exceptional and diverse ecosystems in form of Tropical rain-forests, bog lands, marshlands, Riparian’s that offer shelter to diverse flora and fauna including 136 species of mammals such as the extraordinary Eastern lowland gorillas, eastern chimpanzees, owl-faced monkeys, Buffaloes and Civets among others as well as more than 1178 species of flora and about 340 species of birds. Much as most tourists to the Democratic Republic of Congo know it for Virunga’s Mountain gorillas, the Kahuzi-Biega National Park is a hidden treasure offering extraordinary attractions not seen in other places.

Tourists interested in discovering the hidden beauty of Kahuzi-Biega National Park have to participate in the different activities such as;

Lowland gorilla trekking

Kahuzi-Biega National Park offers shelter to the highest population of the largest gorilla sub-specie in the whole World (Eastern lowland gorillas), making gorilla trekking the top tourist activity to enjoy within the Park. There are currently two habituated eastern lowland gorilla families to be tracked by tourists and because these animals are closely related to humans (98%), they are very vulnerable to several human diseases such as cough and flue hence trekkers are not allowed to track them when suffering from the mentioned sicknesses and also keep a distance of 7 meters away from them. This activity involves hiking through the dense Tropical rainforest following different trails depending on where the family is found but hiking time lasts from 30 minutes to several hours and tourists are provided with masks to avoid spreading human-gorilla diseases. After encountering them, tourists get a chance to learn about them especially how these animals play their different roles. You will be allowed to spend only one hour with the gorillas but it will be one of the most unforgettable moments you ever had.

Bird watching

There are more than 340 species of birds including 42 Park endemic species call Kahuzi-Biega National Park home hence making it a real Paradise for birders. The main species you are likely to encounter during a birding tour include the Congo peafowl, African green broad bill, grey crowned cranes, the yellow crested helmet-shrike and many others. Interestingly, this Park is one of the threatened sites that were put under the protection of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Volcano hiking

Visiting Kahuzi-Biega National Park doesn’t only involve seeing the wildlife and bird species but also hiking the two main inactive volcanoes-Kahuzi (3308 meters above sea level) and Biega (standing at 2790 meters above sea level) within the heart of this Park and reaching their summits offers tourists with a clear and spectacular view of the whole Park including its wildlife, vegetation (especially sub-alpine and bamboo) and surrounding communities.

Nature walks

The different vegetation types of Kahuzi-Biega National Park offers shelter to different wildlife species such as the owl-faced monkeys that can be encountered by tourists during nature walks. Hikers here follow several designated hiking trails within the Tropical rainforest to different tourist sites in the Park. Some of the trails include the Tshibiti waterfalls trail leading to the three waterfalls found in the Park. The good new about this Park is that usually the experienced guides lead tourists to the sites and help in spotting different vegetation types, wildlife and bird species in the National Park hence having a memorable experience.

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Only The Rich Can Now Go Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Only The Rich Can Now Go Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

On 6th May 2017, Rwanda Development Board announced a revised price for gorilla tracking permits in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. The cost for tickets to see the mountain gorillas in Rwanda was doubled from US dollars 750 to US Dollars 1500 for foreign non-residents. This has left the whole world wondering why Rwanda Development Board decided to suddenly double the price for gorilla permits with immediate effect. For tourists visiting other destinations such as Akagera and Nyungwe National parks with a minimum of 3 days will get a 30% discount, while those vising Rwanda for conference and stay extra days for gorilla tracking will get 15% discount.

Tour operators in East Africa (selling gorilla safaris in Rwanda) are panicking because, they already have clients who have booked their gorilla holidays and sent deposit for gorilla permits based on $750. Such tour operators where locked out side because by the time RDB announced the price increase, these tour operators had not reserved their permits, and some are still waiting for clients’ deposits to appear on their bank accounts. Its a dilemma that tour operators quoted their safaris based on $750, but now need more US$750 to buy permits at $1500. If this is not revised again, the only option is to refund the clients, or ask the clients to pay more.

Even though Rwanda has increased to US$1500, Uganda gorilla permits still cost US$600 for both Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks. Further more, the low-season promotion is still on, running through April, May and November where each gorilla tracking permit costs US$450.

It should be noted that, the demand for gorilla permits is very high through out the year, and Rwanda has been one of the top selling destinations to see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. This must be one of the reasons why the price has increased by 100%.

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Best season for a gorilla trekking trip in Uganda and Rwanda

Best season for a gorilla trekking trip in Uganda and Rwanda

A special highlight of any safari in Rwanda or Uganda is, without a doubt, gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable forest respectively. These are the most popular and the only destinations in the world where one can go and see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda

Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda

Other gorilla destinations include Mgahinga National park located in south western Uganda with only one gorilla group known as Nyakagezi, and Virunga National Park in Democratic Congo Republic! In DR Congo, gorilla tourism is severely affected by political unrest in the region, thus scaring away tourists.

Due to the high position of the Bwindi Impenetrable forest, Mgahinga and Volcanoes National Parks, it cools down at night, so that the temperatures can still be very cold in the morning. During the day, temperatures rise to 20 ° C.

View of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

View of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

The coldest months are June / July. Even more unpleasant than the cold are the rainy months between March and May and between September and October. Mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda can be made all year round, but the better travel time is the time in which less rain.

Note that, in dry seasons, there are many tourists booking gorilla tours and the demand for gorilla trekking permits is very high in such seasons. Therefore, you are advised to book at least 3 months in advance to secure your permit. Gorilla permits in Uganda cost US$600 and US$750 in Rwanda.drive

Going on a gorilla trek requires a 4×4 vehicle because the nature of roads to the park is bad. The cars commonly used include Land cruisers, Prado, Land Rovers, Nissan Patrol, Jeeps, Super customs and Toyota Rav4 among others.

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Rwanda Safari Tips

Rwanda Safari Tips

Getting there

From Europe, Brussels Airlines and KLM (via Nairobi) fly to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Ethiopian Airlines also operates Kigali via Addis Ababa. From Entebbe (Uganda) Rwandair Express flies several times a week to Rwanda. The international airport of Kigali is about 10 km outside the city. A taxi to the center should not cost more than 15 euros / US$20 (negotiate beforehand!).

Vaccinations

For Rwanda travel, a yellow fever vaccination is required. However, the international vaccination certificate with proof of yellow fever vaccination is rarely available. However, a visit to the tropics doctor, which explains the current travel regulations, is recommended.

Best Travel Time

The dry season lasts from June to September and is particularly suitable for Rwanda tours and gorilla trekking. The first rainy season in the year lasts from February to May, the second from October to November. From December to January is again a dry season. Due to the fact that the mountain gorillas live in the rainforest, the best travel time is all year round. In the rainforest there is no marked drying time.

Safety

The security of travel in Rwanda is generally considered very good. You can safely travel the country as a tourist on the main roads of the country. However, it is not advisable to display his wealth too much, that is, no jewelery or expensive wristwatches should be held out of the open window.

Transport

Rwanda has one of the best roads in East Africa. A lot of funding flowed into the expansion of the tourism infrastructure. With minibuses, the infamous Matatus, one reaches every point in the country. The travel costs are about 2 euros per 100 km. Attention: Muzungus (whites or foreigners) often pay more than local people. Safer and more convenient are the minibuses of Okapi Travel. These buses drive, among others, To the national parks of the country.virunga-express

Currency

The official national currency is the Rwanda franc, US dollars and Euros are preferred all over the country. Major credit cards are accepted only in the major hotels, airline and car rentals.

1000 Note, Rwanda Francs

1000 Note, Rwandan Franc

Language

The country language is called Kinyarwanda. The official languages are French and English and are spoken by many inhabitants in the conurbations.

Dress

During the day casual, casual clothing is recommended. In any case, wear a warm sweater to coat – in the evening it is usually a bit fresh, especially in the mountains. In the Parc National des Volcans, as well as in the Nyungwe National Park, clothing should be more solid and durable. When going for gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park, we recommend you a waterproof and breathable outdoor jacket from a globetrotter-supplier. See more of the Packing list.

Eat

The Rwandan cuisine offers for example, Lots of fresh fish, grilled tilapia fillets with rice and / or motoke (bananas). Also typical of the country is Ugali, a maize porridge. In the hotels, European food is also offered, which was also influenced by the former Belgian colonial owners.

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