Threats to Mountain Gorillas Still Exist Despite Increase in Population

Despite that the the gorilla numbers have surpassed 1000 as the latest Virunga Massif Census results, there are several threats to the conservation of the mountain gorillas in Africa. Here are some of the existing threats that still threaten mountain gorillas today;

Human Induced Habitat Loss and degradation

Mountain Gorillas are known to face a lot of threats in their habitats. The main threat to mountain Gorillas is habitat loss; the loss comes as a form of forest clearance and degradation by human beings. As the population continues growing around the sectors inhabiting the mountain gorillas, this happens when  the population keeps struggling for a living/survival including the competition for the limited natural resources. Humans at times encroach on the parks for fire wood resulting into deforestation and conversion of land into arable land. Though a lot has been done to reduce human interference into the parks, a lot is still needed to be done within the Virunga parks.

The solution to the habitat loss is to develop the economic system that meets the daily needs of people. This will make the local people living adjacent to the parks not to see the gorillas as competitors.

Encouraging community participation will also help in creating sustainable usage of the parks. Their participation will also result into improving their daily way of living.

The primary threat to mountain gorillas comes from forest clearance and degradation, as the region’s growing human population struggles to eke out a living. Conservation of Land for agriculture and competition for limited natural resources such as firewood lead to varying degrees of deforestation. The
only way to maintain gorilla habitat is to develop alternative economic activities that allow people to meet their daily needs, so that they see gorillas not as competitors, but as a means of improving their own situation.

Diseases

Disease is another threat to the mountain gorillas, gorillas genes are relatively related to humans this makes them more vulnerably too many diseases and any human contact is harmful as well as life threatening.

Gorillas are closely related to humans with similar anatomical and physiological features. This makes them vulnerable to many of the same diseases. Because the gorillas have not developed the necessary
immunity, first time exposure to an illness or virus that is relatively innocuous to humans may never recover from a sudden fall in numbers brought on by disease.

Any human contact is potentially harmful, even life-threatening. Tourists who visit these great apes on gorilla safaris are instructed to keep their distance 7 metres , but conservationists, scientists, rangers, poachers, militia groups and local communities also pose threats. At times, gorillas have been seen coming very close to humans!

It has been established that some gorillas have already succumbed from common skin diseases like scabies and mange, or respiratory disease, which can quickly spread from group to group as families interact. Debris left behind
in the park by refugees, poachers and the military routinely cleared in order to minimize the contamination risk to wildlife, and a health education programme is helping to combat the threat of disease.

Poaching and Hunting
Poaching is another reason threatening the mountain Gorillas. The hunting, trading and consumption of gorillas and other apes is almost universally illegal in all Congo Basin countries.

However, poaching countries unabated due to a lack of enforcement of national and international laws, coupled with ineffective judiciary systems. In the first two decades after their discovery, European and American scientists and trophy hunters killed over 50 mountain gorillas.

To this day, poaching continues to jeopardize the gorillas’ survival. Poaching of mountain gorillas for food is extremely rare. It is now largely the result of unselective hunting with snares, which are set to catch antelope, bush pigs and other wildlife but occasionally kill or injure gorillas.

In the 60s and 70s mountain gorillas were poached for sale to foreigners as trophies and
captive specimens although mountain gorillas can never survival in the captivity. NO Mountain Gorilla survived in captivity.  Recent events have shown that hunting of mountain gorillas in order to capture babies commissioned by unscrupulous dealers remains a very real threat.

The commercial trade in bush meat, which occurs throughout west and central Africa, is today the biggest threat to gorillas.  Apes are being killed to primarily to supply high-end demand for meat in urban centres, where the
consumption of ape meat is considered to be prestigious amongst the wealthy elite. Estimating numbers of gorillas poached is difficult because they are often butchered and eaten on the spot, or their meat is smoked for later sale in towns.

Although gorillas may constitute only a small proportion of all animals killed for the bush meat trade, they present easy targets for hunters, and in many areas gorillas are favored hunters because of the weight of saleable meat.
Gorillas’ low reproductive rates means that even low levels of hunting can cause a population decline, which could take many generations to be reversed. Gorillas are also frequently maimed or killed by traps and snares intended for other forest animals such as antelopes.

Direct poaching of gorillas, either killing of gorillas or capture of infants for the live animal trade, remains a real threat, with unfortunate incidences of poaching occurring throughout the mountain gorilla range in 2002, 2004, and 2007. And most recently in 2013 the case of an infant recovered outside
of Viruga National Park, abandoned in a field with clear signs of being held captive. The infant, named Matabishi was determined through a genetic test to be a mountain gorilla. Matabishi joined three other rescued mountain gorillas, orphans from a poaching in 2007 at the Senkwenkwe facility in Rumangabo under continuous care.

Traditional medicine and live animal trade
Gorillas are also sought after as pets or trophies and for their body parts, which are used in medicine and as magical charms.

Other threats
The region’s ongoing conflict and civil unrest most especially in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are an ever-present risk, impacting people and wildlife, including gorillas. Infrastructure development causing habitat loss and degradation, and possible disruption to mountain gorilla health and behavior are also an emerging threat, as well as a changing
climate.

In general, weak institutional management structures, a feeling of disenfranchisement among local communities, and insufficient regional collaboration all pose serious challenges and a source of threats
to the mountain gorillas.

How to Book 2018 Gorilla Permits in Uganda & Rwanda

Booking gorilla permits in Uganda is mandatory especially for those interested in tracking mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable national park or in Mgahinga national park in Uganda. This also applies to tracking of gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Below is a quick illustration of how you can buy the gorilla permits for your trek this year.

In Uganda, gorilla tracking is done in either Bwindi impenetrable national park or Mgahinga Gorilla national Park. However, because of the irregularity of the mountain gorillas of Mgahinga, most of the gorilla permits sold is for Bwindi. Each gorilla permit costs $ 600 per person in 2018. The discounted permits ended distribution in 2017. On each particular day, about 80 people can visit gorillas in Bwindi, 8 people per each gorilla family.

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is done in Volcanoes National park located in Ruhengeri province. The gorilla permit in Rwanda goes at $1500 per person and its only 8 people that are allowed to see the gorillas per group.
The gorilla permits in Uganda for both Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks are bought from Uganda Wildlife Authority head quarters in Kampala, either directly or through a tour operator. The gorilla permits in Rwanda are bought from Rwanda Development Board directly or you can get them through a tour operator.

To be able to book your gorilla permit from out of Uganda, you need to contact UWA’s reservation office by email inquiring about the availability of the dates you intend to track the gorillas. Note that you need to consider a full day of travel from Kampala to Bwindi after you have landed in Kampala.

In case the exact dates you want are not available, you can request UWA to let you know of the nearest dates that are available. You can also reply to them by expressing your intent of booking these permits, and also request them to temporarily hold them as you make payment. At this time , they will advise you of their banking details, so that you can proceed to make an electric transfer of the money. Also remember to send a copy of the transaction voucher/receipt by email or fax to UWA.

Also to book permits from Rwanda, you will need to contact Rwanda Development Board about the availability. These will provide the availability and then you will be able to book the dates that you are interested in after.
The transfer in Uganda usually takes not more than 3 days and UWA or RDB will keep your tentative booking for at least 7 days as they await the transfer to go through. Please ensure that you bank enough since bank charges are deducted from you. In case you send less money, your permit might not be booked.

Booking the gorilla permits through a tour and travel Agent; many intending gorilla trekkers have however found the above procedure dull and have sought our quicker and less dull ways of reserving their gorilla permits by working with the local Uganda tour operator. The tour operators will charge a fee of $25 -$50 per gorilla permit. But our company will not charge you in case you are getting other tour services through us in case you only want a gorilla permit, we shall charge you only $30 per permit. This procedure is almost similar as above, except the tour agencies tend to speed up the process and most likely you will get your gorilla permit confirmation faster.

You can contact us and we let you know the dates you want to take a gorilla safari in Uganda with the days you want to see the gorillas. We shall let you know if the days you want for your gorilla tour are available for gorilla tracking and tentatively book them for you. We then send our bank details for you to send the money for the permits. It takes about 16 hours for us to receive the money from your bank and then pay for the permits. We shall send you an acknowledgement for the money and the official receipt from UWA. You will then send us your passport details in order to register for the permits. We shall then send you a scanned copy of your permits.

However, Uganda tour operators through their own umbrella association buy up to 80% of the available tracking permits at up 2 years out from the intended month of tracking. Each member may buy up to 20 permits in any month. A deposit of 30% (US$75-) is payable on each permit booked with the balance needing to be paid 3 months (91 days) from the month of tracking by the first working day of the month Monday-Friday. The individuals and the non members of AUTO can buy a maximum of 2 permits each in the month 3 months prior to the intended month of trekking when the booking opens on the first working Monday – Friday of the month. Permits not sold on the day the booking opens will be sold on the following day with no limits put on the number of permits purchased by an individual or tour operator.

Gorilla Filming In Uganda

Are you a film maker? Do you want to film mountain gorillas in Uganda? Whereas tourists are able to record gorilla videos while on their gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda using their cameras, there is need to go extra mile to par take filming safaris to encounter these giant apes in Bwindi or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Southwestern Uganda and take a video shooting in the few thick tropical rain forests that Africa still has. Traveling for gorilla filming safaris needs you to work with the two varied Government bodies which include the National Forest Authority which manages and conserves Uganda’s Natural Forest and the Uganda Wildlife Authority which is responsible for conservation of the mountain gorillas and they issue the Gorilla permit and also the filming pass. Gorilla filming in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park attracts professionals, individuals, TV production companies and film crews and many more. Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park is home to over 480 gorillas making them the best destinations for filming safaris for TV’s filming crews for companies, documentary companies and individual film crews and others.

Categories of filming in Uganda

Commercial filming, which is conducted by gorilla enthusiasts and usually one to five crew members are allowed and the Uganda Wildlife Authority issues permits at $600 per day, this is also the normal trek. The other category is marketing filming which costs $4000 per day excluding gorilla permits. Note that gorilla filming in Uganda need you to have a gorilla permit on top of the paying $4000 for filming experiences. You will also be required to pay the 5 percent of the sum filming cost which is charged by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

Refund, after the gorilla filming activity is complete and a copy of the CD is given to UWA, refundable fee of $1000 is paid back to you from the amount paid for the activity. For amazing filming safaris, our reliable and authorized travel company to help you organize your adventures appropriately in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park which offers refuge to half of the world’s mountain gorillas that still thrive. The shortest safaris for filming adventures can be three days. You may also need media cards, clearing your filming equipment into Uganda via customs, booking accommodation and transport. TV crews, international journalists, individuals and photographers will all need media cards and some body to clear their filming and photography equipment’s at Entebbe International Airport.

In order for you to book a gorilla filming safari, you will have to secure all the eight trekking permits that are meant for that day’s gorilla group. This means, the number of people who will be traveling with you on filming tours doesn’t matter in anyway. After purchasing all the 8 permits, you will pay the filming fees. You will need to obtain the permits in advance at least four months before the actual filming date. The mountain gorillas live in families led by a dominant male silverback gorilla who is the head of the group and leads members on the daily operations. The filming adventure permits tourists only one family unless your group is separated into 2 groups with the other crew filming a distinct group. The maximum of one hour is always given to visitors to spend with gorillas and it will enough for you to get all the captions and understand the behavior if these endangered apes in their natural habitat. The search may take about one to six or more hours depending on the speed of visitors, gorilla group that will be allocated to you and nature of terrain. However, if you have heavy luggage, there are porters around the park headquarters for you to hire to help relieve you from the heavy load. These porters were once poachers but understood the value of conserving these endangered species, therefore your support to them is highly appreciated as it will greatly impact on their lives.

If you are interested in Gorilla Habituation Experience, permits are purchased at $1500 and visitors spend four hours with a gorilla group. The difference between filming and the rest of adventures is that visitors get exposed to semi habituated mountain gorillas that are still undergoing habituation process unlike the usual gorilla trekking that takes visitors to fully habituated gorilla groups.

In conclusion, gorilla filming safaris to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the sought after adventures that reward efforts with life time experiences. However, a trek to film these endangered apes, is strenuous and requires some physical wellness in you. Enjoy your safaris!

Discounted Gorilla Permits for Uganda & Rwanda

Gorilla trekking is a once in a lifetime opportunity, that every tourist longs to participate in when in Africa. A gorilla safari is one of the best wildlife adventures you can ever take in Africa. Imagine the feeling you get when you meet face to face with the Giant Apes that share 98.2% of their DNA with humans. This feeling cannot be described in words, but can rather be felt by the participant. These exceptional creatures are found within the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda and the Virunga Massif (comprising of Mgahinga national park of Uganda, Virunga National Park of Democratic Republic of Congo and Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda) only, and their number is currently estimated at 880 individuals in the entire world.

Even with their high demand, only 96 gorilla permits are sold for Uganda per day (for 12 gorilla groups) and 80 gorilla permits per day (for 10 gorilla groups in Rwanda), meaning tourists have to book for permits at least 6 months in advance to avoid disappointment of being left out. There are also tourists who are always ready and willing for gorilla tracking, but cannot afford the price of the gorilla permit. The good news i have for tourists intending to track gorillas from Uganda is that “gorilla Permits are always discounted during the low season”. These discounted permits apply for April, May and November.

The idea of discounted gorilla permits was introduced by the Uganda Wildlife Authority to enable those tourists who are not able to track mountain gorillas during the High seasons, so that they also get the opportunity to meet these giant Apes. Instead of the normal price of $600 for foreign non residents, tourists pay $450 per person hence allowing them to save $150 for other expenses. Foreign residents pay $400 instead of the $500, allowing them to save $100 for other things and the East African residents pay Shs 150,000 instead of the usual $250,000 charged for normal and peak seasons hence saving Shs 100,000. These discounted permits are offered during the rainy season that is also the low season. This price reduction is an advantage to the gorilla trekkers in terms of lower costs and also to Uganda because it reduces on seasonality in gorilla tourism.

However, because Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga national Parks are found within Tropical rainforests and areas of higher elevations where it rains at anytime of the year (whether rainy or dry season). It is a common phenomenal for it to rain during the night or early morning hours hence it comes difficult to predict the rain patterns, which have been further worsened by the high rate of global warming. Surprisingly, whether it rains or not, gorilla trekking for the day has to go on..

The price of the Gorilla Habituation experience is not discounted where tourists pay $1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 for foreign residents and Shs 750,000 for East African residents at all seasons. While Uganda was busy discounting the prices of gorilla permits, Rwanda was busy increasing their prices of gorilla tracking permits from $750 to $1500 per person with effect from 7th of May 2017 (presenting a 100% increment). This implies that when someone tracks the mountain gorillas from Uganda instead of Rwanda during the low season, he/she can be able to save up to $1050. Ask yourself how many interesting things you can do with the remaining $1050? You can extend your safari to several days so that you are able to participate in a game drive and launch cruise (in Murchison falls national park, Queen Elizabeth national Park and Lake mburo National park) and also participate in Chimpanzee tracking (from Kibale National park).

Interestingly, it is not only the price of gorilla permits that is discounted, Chimpanzee tracking permits in Uganda are also discounted during the low seasons (April, may and November)  where tourists pay only $100 per person tracking these primates from Kibale national Park hence tourists are able to save $50.

How to Acquire the Discounted Gorilla Permits

If you intend to track the mountain gorillas during the Low season (April, May and November), you have to contact the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices to check the status of gorilla permits during your preferred dates (that must fall within the mentioned months). Alternatively, you can contact credible tour operators who will book for you.

Due to the high demand of gorillas permits and the inability of some tourists to afford the cost of these permits and the entire safaris, some of them are left out from achieving their dreams of meeting face to face with the mountain gorillas. The Uganda Wildlife Authority thereby introduced the discounted gorilla permits during the low season to allow every tourist to experience what others describe as breathtaking. You can now acquire a gorilla trekking permit, pack the required items and make a trip to Uganda during the months of April, May and November to experience what you will live to remember.

How Silverback Cantsbee Mystery Was solved

Up to date, the fate of the elderly mountain gorilla in the Republic of Rwanda called Cantsbee seems not to be solved. This legendary silverback got lost from his group during the late February. This was after he had shown serious signs of weakness which were well noticed by one of the staff of the Founder of Dian Fossey. Following a few days ago that is on May 12, 2017, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund trackers spotted a partially decomposed body of Cantsbee the male silverback. Due to the advanced decomposition of the body, the identification was not simple though it was clearly the size and the shape of the big silverback. At the spot where the body of Cantsbee was found, the teeth was earlier taken by the doctors from Dian Fossey Foundation.

According to the doctor, there was the advance decomposition of the body was not simple. The teeth which were taken were the incisor teeth and these were clearly visible in the photo. They presented the characteristic patterns of wear. These were all perfect match between the photo of Cantsbee teeth which were found in the carcass.

Silverback Cantsbee mystery was solved by the Fossey Fund staff who saw the carcass. The body was found in the area where Cantsbee was last seen in the area before. To many people, the disappearance of Cantsbee in February had not the first time this gorilla has disappeared from the group. It had happened on several occasions foristance on October last year; Cantsbee went on missing from this very group. To many people, this has been due to advancement in his age. To many people, they presume that Cantsbee would have died before the May 12, 2017. Cantsbee finally appeared to his group in January though it was shocking news. On his appearance, he looked very healthy at a time of his reappearance then after he start showing signs of illness where he started slowing down steadily. He started moving less and the feeding also started slowing where she was not eating much. The day reached when she was abandoned in his group

Cantsbee was the last of the leading silverbacks which was originally studied by Dian Fossey. He went on to create a historic legacy. During his life span, he led the largest group of gorillas which had ever been observed within the Republic of Rwanda. The longevity and success of Cantbee is credit not only his own unique strength but also to the daily protection and monitoring which was provided by Fossey Fund’s trackers.

In nutshell, Cantsbee lived the longest and most successful life of any of the mountain gorilla could ever live. Because of this therefore, his legacy will continue for every longtime. It will be remembered as a powerful and confident silverback. By the time of the Cantbee disappearance, he was thirty eight (38) years old. Therefore, Cantsbee had already passed the life expectance for a mountain gorilla. At his birth, he was first seen by Dian Fossey.

This silverback had been observed during its lifespan by tourists taking gorilla safaris in Rwanda as well as researchers who succeeded Dian Fossey. This mountain gorilla broken a lot of records during his life span which include leading the largest group of the gorillas which have ever been observed and remaining dominant for the longest reign ever recorded. Silverback Cantsbee is was most known for his unique personality and behaviors. He had very strong relationships with other mountain gorillas and he was given respect by other gorilla groups. The respect given was in form of leadership. Luck enough, the genes and influence of Cantbee will be felt for quite a long period of time.

Go Gorilla Trekking – Discount Trips – Save $250 on Gorilla Permits

Looking to watching the mountain gorillas in 2015? You can take advantage of discount gorilla trips this April and May by making your reservation with one of the local tour operators. Like the past 2 years, Uganda has continued to offer discounts on gorilla permits for April and May 2015. This there fore has made the prices of the Gorilla tracking permits to be slashed to USD 350 per permit from USD 600. This means that you can save USD250 per permit!

For the local the cost of the gorilla permit has been reduced to Ushs.150,000 (an equivalent of USD60) and East Africans can also take this advantage and book permits at low rates.

For foreign residents with in Uganda, you can book gorilla permits at a reduced price of $300 from USD 575 per permit.

Why Take Advantage of these Permits

  • Travel with ease at very discount trips and save on your holidays
  • You can also save more on car hire if you are taking a rental car for your trip.
  • You can also save much on accommodation given that this is a low season!
  • It is easier and more adventurous to track gorillas in Uganda than it is elsewhere in the Great Lakes region.

This is the third year, when the Uganda Wildlife Authority launched the gorilla tracking promotion to enable visitors enjoy the amazing gorilla experience at subsidized rates.

The promotion is valid from April 1 and ends on May 31. It is open to all visitors, tour operators and partners of UWA. At times, there are also promotional rates for November!

Gorilla Tracking in Uganda

Gorilla tracking in Uganda dates back to 1993 when two groups of the primates were habituated. The process of habituation is not an easy one. It refers to the whole process of making gorilla groups accustomed to human beings, thereby facilitating close interaction without the danger of gorillas displaying aggressive behaviour. Today there are ten habituated gorilla groups that can be visited by tourists looking for gorilla safaris in Africa thus making available 80 permits to be available a day! Though these look to be many, there is a very high demand for gorilla permits, and it is not easy to secure a gorilla permit for peak months like July, August, September and December.

According to the 2012 gorilla census, there are about 880 mountain gorillas in the wild. Nearly half of the total remaining population estimated to about 440 gorillas live within the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. If you are looking to watch the mountain gorillas in the peak months, you can look for a last-minute deal from local tour operators who can easily secure the permits needed to make your dream safari a reality!

Gorilla tourism is the leading revenue earner among all Uganda’s tourism attractions. Each day, only eight visitors are allowed to visit a gorilla group for a maximum of one hour.

Affordable Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Safaris

Travel to Rwanda for an affordable Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris which is offered by Eco Tours Rwanda a moderate tour company which does not discriminate in colour of clients and does not even focus on the class of the client.

Our services range from luxury, moderate and budget clients hence giving the opportunity to whoever feels it’s necessary to take a safari especially gorilla trekking though we provide all kinds of safaris in Rwanda.

A gorilla permit of 750US dollars is paid advance for the proper preparation of the safari. Once this is cleared, you are assured of such a memorable safari you can ever think of. Then start preparing what you may need for the safari. You are recommended to prepare long sleeved shirts and long pants because mountain gorilla tracking is done in the forest with a lot of plant vegetation some of which cause skin irritation when in contact. Carrying a raincoat or water proof pant can never be a bad idea because rainfall in volcanoes national park is highly unpredictable.

On arrival, you are taken to a luxury, moderate or budget lodge as you may wish depending on your budget for rest in order to catch up for the early morning safari that starts with breakfast at the lodge . When heading for a gorilla safari in Rwanda first gather at volcanoes national park headquarters in Kinigi where you are briefed, allocated to the mountain gorilla family you will be tracking and to the guide who will be leading you in this great wildlife expedition. Tracking gorillas starts in the morning and ranges from 1 to 8 hours of hiking depending on the movement of the gorillas and the luck of the tourists. The one hour you stay with the gorillas gives you an everlasting memory.

Visiting Rwanda for gorilla tracking can be done all year round. The best time to travel to Rwanda is during the drier seasons, periods between December to early March and June to September. December to March is a long dry season for Rwanda, with temperatures going up to 29 degrees Celsius for some days while the months of March – Mid May, July to September, on the other hand, are regarded as the rainy in the country.

Overall Rwanda has a good weather throughout the year but the dry season is more preferable. The weather is generally good in addition wildlife viewing is also more common during this time. For tourists interested in visiting gorillas – this is also the best time for gorilla tours since there is a minimal chance of rain during the trek and a good hiking terrain in the rain forest. We still suggest your waterproof clothing even during these drier months, as this Equatorial climate is very unpredictable.

Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Safari

In the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’ as Rwanda is called, just over half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas (about 480 according to WWF) are found in the broader Virunga Conservation Area (Virunga Mountains), which includes the well-managed Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. This is where the legendary and iconic gorillas conservationist, Dian Fossey, lived and worked with gorillas. The gorillas here are more habituated than in other areas, meaning that they are more habituated to having humans around.

Rwanda is bordered by Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Despite being landlocked Republic one of Africa’s smallest countries (26,338km) Rwanda has an incredible treasure trove of biodiversity that requires protection. The Albertine Rift Eco- zone (ARE), a region that stretches across six countries with Rwanda as its epicenter, is of particular importance as it has an exceptional level of species endemism. Scientists regard it as having the highest levels of biodiversity on the continent.

The nature lover will be impressed by the variety and the rarity of what can be observed visiting Rwanda, nut there’s more to Rwanda than protected mountain gorillas and Albertine endemics. The shores of Lake Kivu boast some of the best inland beaches in Africa and offer an opportunity to explore the many small islands of Lake Kivu.

Kigali, the capital and conference hub of east Africa, forms a central stepping stone to various destinations within the country and central and east Africa. The city is green, vibrant, and safe and brews superb homegrown tea and coffee.

Discovering Rwanda on your gorilla trekking safari can be discovered through encountering the attractions and tourist activities done in each national park.

Volcanoes National Park

Approximately 480 of mountain gorillas, Gorilla beringei beringei, live on the slopes of three dormant volcanoes in the north of Rwanda on the border with Uganda and the DRC within Parc National des Volcans (PNV) or Volcanoes National Park. The population is increasing and the individual groups are in a state with maturing individuals leaving and sometimes groups splitting. They are also free to wander through the forest and across the borders into neighboring countries.

The gorilla trekking among the Virunga volcanoes is a 2 hour’s drive from the capital Kigali, making it readily accessible for a person who does a 3 Day Rwanda Gorilla Trek.

Once a habituated gorilla family has been located by your ranger guides, you can settle down for an hour to observe them as they feed, play, sleep and groom while their babies tumble about the undergrowth all under the watchful gaze of the great silver Back male. Sitting only a few meters from a gorilla and looking face to face in the eyes of the apes is a thrilling experience not easily forgotten.

Permits for trekking to see mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park are more expensive than on the Ugandan side –US$750 per person per hour on the Rwandan side year round and US$600 per person per hour on the Ugandan side, with a reduction in permit fees for the Ugandan low season of April, May and November at US$450 per person.

The 1994 Rwanda genocide

During the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the Hutus killed almost a million Tutsi people in just three months. Kigali’s genocide memorial in Kigali provides information on this genocide, as well as those of Albania, German-occupied Europe, German South-West Africa (Namibia), Bosnia and Ethiopia. It’s a moving reminder of human cruelty and the shocking lack of reaction from the international community.

Nyungwe National Park in the southern province

Nyungwe Forest in the south is a very scenic national park of montane forest and home to a number of other primate species including chimpanzees and huge troupes of colobus monkeys. You are also likely to see L’Hoest’s along the roadsides. For those keen on bird watching this region has approximately 24 Albertine Rift endemics such as the regal sun bird. The park now has a choice of accommodation and can be reached from Kigali in a day as you enjoy your gorilla trekking safari.

Another endangered primate species also inhabits the bamboo forests of PNV, in fact here and in Nyungwe are the only places golden guenon or golden monkey, Cercopithecus mitis kandti, live. They are a subspecies of blue monkey and currently 2 groups are habituated and visiting them gives you an insight into another endangered primate species and benefits researchers still learning about the requirements of these monkeys. The walk to these monkeys is shorter than to the gorillas and makes a good option for a second trek in the park.

Akagera National Park

In the east is the rolling lowland Savannah of Akagera National Park with its series of lakes and wetlands. The park is being restocked and there is an increasing amount of wildlife. Again, like Nyungwe, Akagera is a top spot for birding with papyrus gonalek and shoe bill present in the reed beds. In fact Rwanda is a great bird watching destination and combined with Uganda would make a fabulous tour. A day or two on safari in Akagera is a great addition to a tour in Rwanda and highly recommended, especially now that the new Ruziz Tented Camp has opened, making for a comfortable stay in the park.

Lake Kivu

The west of Rwanda is bordered by Lake Kivu, a very scenic lake with islands, beaches and small lakeside towns including Gisenyi and Kibuye which can make a relaxing place to stay during a tour of the country.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Gorilla Safaris

Gorilla trekking within Bwindi Impenetrable forest   in southwestern Uganda is the height of your Ugandan safari. The country and the park are recognized as very safe and secure places to be thus you will be in position to see gorillas in their peaceful environment.

Which company should I use to trek gorillas in Uganda?

There are many credible companies to book with for your gorilla safaris in Uganda.  You can send us  an email through  info@gorillasafarisadventure.com or call our hotline +256751552950.

When to go and see the mountain gorillas?

Mountain gorilla trekking can be carried out throughout the year though the best season   is June to September as well as from December up to February.

Where can you stay when you trek gorillas?

To choose the best safari lodge, it will depend on how much you can afford some lodges and among best lodges to include Clouds Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Gorilla forest Camp and Mahogany springs and Nshongi Gorilla Resort

 How much does a good Gorilla safari Cost?

Different tour companies do give different quotes though the cheapest gorilla safari should have a price of $ 1000 while the super luxury should  cost $ 1500 to $ 2000 per person however, based on the reviews of most tour operators in the country most tourists prefer the mid- range which affordable.

How can one get a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda?

A gorilla permit goes for US $ 600 though you are highly encouraged to book your gorilla permit with a safari agent and also book according to type of gorilla family to avoid inconveniences in your accommodation. Booking with a tour operator, you will have to inform them about the dates for your tour, your preferred dates available for trekking and the tour operator will send you the bank details. An acknowledgement email will be for money transfer and you will have to remember to instruct your bank details in order to transfer money for the gorilla permits. A copy of the passport will be   required to send a copy of your passport which also avails the details to be used and normally you need your full names, nationality and the passport number. Then after, your names will be registered and then you will acquire a gorilla permit.

Which clothing is required during a gorilla safari?

You require good quality walking boots, warm layers of cloth for the cold evenings and clothing for wet weather since it becomes cold and wet at this high altitude.

How do mountain gorillas look like?

The males which are the Silverbacks are two times the size of the females and they grow up to 6 feet tall and even weigh 350-500 pounds. They are referred to as silver backs because they mature the hair on their back turns somewhat silver thus the name Silverbacks. The strength of the males is ten times stronger compared to the strongest boxer. They do posses long plus darker hair which compared to their lowland counterparts since they stay in colder climates and higher altitudes and the most interesting fact is that Gorillas share 98 percent of their genetic composition.

Are mountain gorillas a dangerous species?

Mountain gorillas are very strong though shy animals and are very threatened and they do attack so as to protect their very own. When the different mountain gorilla groups meet, there is a fight between the leader Silverbacks to death.

How are the predators of mountain gorillas?

The main predators to mountain gorillas is human encroachment for settlement and there are additionally threatened by various diseases which are transmitted by human visitors.

Tracking Rwanda Mountain Gorillas

Mountain gorillas are the second closest relative to man after the chimp which shares almost 98% of human DNA make up. They are considered as endangered species by the world heritage site.Only about 900 mountain gorillas still exists in the forest of East and Central Africa shared by three countries that’s Rwanda in( volcanoes national park), in Uganda they are hosted in two national parks that’s (Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park)and the Democratic republic of Congo they are tracked in the( Virunga national park).

Tracking is regarded as the number one safari activities to each of these countries which hosts these giant apes, a huge number of travelers whole over the world jet into one of these countries to spend at least one or two days in the wild with these few endangered mountain gorillas. Rwanda is known as the best gorilla safari destination in the world, housing almost half of these remaining apes.

Tracking and photography in the volcanoes national park is a bit easier than in the thick impenetrable national park and the Virunga National Park in Congo, the park has some of the easy to find gorilla families whereby within 1-6 hours you may find a gorilla family and by 1pm you are back at the lodge for lunch and get ready for another activity, although this is not a guarantee since they are wild animals, they are very difficult to predict. Its proximity also makes it the best for those who don’t want to travel for long hours. It’s just about 2-3 hours’ drive from Kigali Rwanda’s capital and largest city, so one day gorilla safari to Rwanda is very possible in that, one has to drive very early in the morning by 4.00am and arrive at Kiningi park headquarters in time for breakfast and then after get into touch with other trekkers for a short briefing about gorilla tracking before 7:30am.

After the briefing, set to the forest for gorilla tracking, after tracking drive back to Kigali or at the airport for your nest destination. A one day gorilla tracking is impossible in Uganda and Congo since it’s involves along drive to the park making it difficult to drive and track in one day, this makes Rwanda a best gorilla safari destination.

Credit should be given to Dian Fossey an American primatologist for the effort she put in the habituation of  mountain gorilla, she first conducted her research Centre in Congo but due to insecurity she went to the volcanoes national park where she conducted her research in the Karisoke research center where she studied the behaviors of mountain gorillas that they can be familiar to human and they can be tracked safely without any harm caused to human for over 18 years, without her effort with the help of the government, ranger guides who 24/7 monitor these ages, and the local community especially those near the park, mountain gorillas could not he heard than it is today.

On the day of tracking you have to report to the park headquarters to get briefed about gorilla etiquette set by the conservationists – ie. the dos and don’ts while with these giants. After the briefing you will get allocated to a ranger guide, who will lead you through the all gorilla tracking process.

Each gorilla group is allocated to only eight members who are allowed to stay with the family for only one hour. And tracking time is unpredictable it can go from 1-8 hours depending on the gorilla family trekked and also on where they last spent their night from. Come we take you were you have not yet reached.

The one hour spent with these giants is considered memorable as you will be able to know more about the gorillas, how they behave, socialize, and also learn their feeding habits among others and you will take as many photos as you can (although flash cameras are not allowed). Gorilla tracking is one of the most expensive safari activities but known as the most done activity. The whole process is memorable, those who have got the chance to meet these endangered apes in their natural setting can testify to this.