Gorilla trekking experience in Africa With Rwanda Gorilla Trek

We visited this park to go gorilla trekking and it was outstanding. You arrive at 7am and wait to be assigned the group you are to go gorilla trekking with. It’s all very efficient and informative. You meet the two rangers who will escort you and they tell you about the gorilla group you will see, what to expect and to do. Then you drive to the spot you will be hiking from. The lengths of hikes vary and we asked for and got two of the shorter ones. The hiking is very leisurely and you can also hire porters to carry your stuff. Do this. It’s only $10 dollars and it’s worth it. You will also get a gorilla carved stick to hike with. Our hike was through potatoes fields, over the volcanic rock wall and through some jungle. The next minute you are told to stop and leave everything behind but your camera. And then you are in the bushes with the gorillas!!! They are sometimes as close as a meter and they don’t seem bothered at all with us. They eat, and play and sleep. It’s unbelievable. You do not need to drag a massive zoom with because they are right next to you. In fact even our cell phones got great videos. You have an hour to observe and take pictures. The time speeds past and even though this is an expensive experience you will not be disappointed. Visited this park for trekking to see the endangered Gorillas. What a fantastic experience and how privileged we now feel that we have seen them in their natural environment. After assembling at the park headquarters 8 trekkers are allocated to a guide who will take you to see one particular Gorilla family. The treks are short, moderate or long depending on your preference and where the Gorillas are. We requested a moderate trek which turned out to be a 3 hr walk up the mountain before we came across them (the Umubano Family). The experience was phenomenal. They are habituated so you can get quite close to them. At one stage a youngster, about 2/3 walking past me, stopped to inspect my gaiters. In sheer delight I was rooted to the spot. Our guide very excitedly told me to step back and he moved on. I will never forget it. Even though it is not cheap (the permit for the trek and 1 hr with them is $750) I would do it again. The trek we did was quite steep up the side of a mountain/volcano that is densely vegetated but it’s worth it. Don’t hesitate. This was fulfillment of a lifetime ambition last month. There was an early start at the Volcanos National Park headquarters at 7:00 a.m. where we enjoyed a coffee with about 80 other aspirant trekkers from all over the world. Groups of approximately 8 were then assigned a Gorilla Family Group with their guide. We visited the Kuryama group which was a stiff hike through jungle for about 2 hours. My friend and I were prepared for the nettles by wearing gaiters over our long pants. Our first siting was such a thrill seeing 2 silverback charging some distance away! The family of 10 also consisted of babies, young adults and females going about their daily lives – feeding and playful and not particularly bothered by our presence. Our guide Bernice was very informative and our allocated hour was over in a flash as we photographed and observed these amazing creatures. Finally the big silverback made a nest for himself in the undergrowth to rest and it was time for us to say goodbye! We were back at park headquarters the following day to meet our guide for our trek to Dian Fossey’s grave. This is a steep hike through jungle (about 100 minutes) to 3,200 metres but well worth it and completed the whole gorilla experience. It was wonderful to walk in the footsteps of this amazing lady and contemplate her invaluable work during 18 years living with the mountain gorillas.

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