Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda lies along the Virunga Mountains, with 8 ancient volcanoes, which are shared by Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Situated about two hour drive from Kigali the Capital of Rwanda, the park is a central location for exploring some distinctly Rwandan experiences. The Volcanoes National Park landscapes features stunning landscapes which offer thrilling hiking and habitats to the mountain gorillas.
Near the Volcanoes National Park is the bustling and vibrant markets of Musanze and the caves which can be comprised in the tour.
Gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park habituated by ten groups/families of the mountain gorillas. The Gorillas tends to migrate from low altitudes areas to the top of the mountains searching for food. Normally during the dry season gorillas climb higher up the mountains and descend in the wet season. The local and experienced guides knows specifically the movements of each family of the gorillas in every season. These guys will help you locate the creatures and make your dream come true.
Gorilla Group In Volcanoes National Park:
- The Amahoro group: this group is usually found between the Karisoke and the Visoke peaks of the Virunga volcanoes. This group has about 17 gorillas. Together with the Umubano group of 11, they are the furthest from the park headquarters.
- The Sabinyo Group is usually found between Mt. Sabinyo and Gahinga. It has about 12 individuals, with a couple of silverbacks in the group.
- Agashya Group, formerly referred to as “Group Thirteen”, is often found close to the Sabinyo group, and has about 25 gorillas including two silverbacks.
- The Susa Group is the largest in volcanoes NP with about 40 individuals, including 3 silverbacks. This group is usually found high up on Mount Karisimbi, which makes for a relatively more challenging hike, but it is well worth the effort.
- The Karisimbi Group, which split from the Susa group a few years ago, can be found in the Mt. Karisimbi area. Tracking these two groups requires a full day hike.
- The Kwitonda Group has 18 members and was habituated in the DRC. They crossed the border into Rwanda in 2005, and are now open for visitation.
- The Hirwa Group has around 11 members including one silverback and a pair of twins.
- The Bwenge Group, named after the group silverback, has 11 members and can be a tough trek.
- The Ugende Group, whose name means “on the move” – because its 11 individuals are always moving to new areas is also quite difficult to track.
Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Guidelines
- Gorilla etiquette, and all other guidelines on how to behave around gorillas are meant to ensure both your safety, and that of the gorillas.
- Gorilla are susceptible to human infections since their DNA is a 98% match with human DNA. Their immunity is not as strong as that of humans so even the slightest infection such as a common cold, can be life threatening to the gorilla, hence the various rules and regulations. Some of these are pretty basic and should be easy to follow. Gorilla trekking guidelines in Rwanda include;
- If you have a cold, flu, or any other contagious infection, you should not go gorilla trekking.
- Only one group of tourists can visit the mountain gorillas each day and you can only spend an hour with them.
- You should keep a distance of 7m from the gorillas, and if the gorillas try to get close, try to move further away.
- Try not to make sudden movement’s in the presence of the gorillas and keep your voices low, so as to maintain a relaxed atmosphere for the gorillas.
- Do not eat or drink when you are with the gorillas
Gorilla Trekking Holidays at Volcanoes National Park Rwanda