There is a plethora of primate types in the country of 1000hills, the most iconic ones being Mountain Gorillas, they live in the most conserved place in Rwanda since they attract more tourists than other species. On May, 6th, 2017 the price of visiting these primates was raised from US $750 to US $1,500 for all visitors(including local residents), in efforts of strengthening conservation and more contribution to the development of communities living around the area. The official announcement of this increase can be read from here.
The haven of these gorillas is the Volcanoes National Park which lies in northwestern Rwanda. It is home to eight volcanoes of the virunga Mountains(Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga & Sabyinyo), which are covered in the rainforest & bamboo. It is one of the most visited destinations for travelers in Rwanda, due to its unique attractions, especially the activity of gorilla trekking.
People willing to visit these magnificent creatures can book their tickets from RDB Tourism & Conservation Reservation office in person, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or via the government services portal of irembo.gov.rw and pay online. You can also hire any local tour operator to get the permit for you & guiding at no additional cost.
All services are inclusive in the 1,500$ price, no additional costs are charged for guiding & for other services in conjunction with the gorilla permit.
You can even get yourself special discounts. There is a 30% OFF for people who book combined trips within National Parks (Gorilla Trekking, Akagera and/or Nyungwe National Park) during the months of November & May.
There is also a 15% OFF on conference delegates who stay pre & post events to see gorillas.
The only limit concerning gorilla visits is transportation: The visitor is expected to bring his own means of transportation to take them up to the park boundaries, either in a private car or in a hired taxi.
On the day of trekking the gorillas, everyone is expected to be present for initial briefing at the RDB Tourism & Conservation offices situated at Kinigi, 7:00AM.
RDB Tourism & Conservation currently has English and French speaking trained guides as well as a team of 80 trained gorilla trackers many of whom speak French or English. But you can also use a private tour operator, he will charge you no additional costs as per tourism guidelines concerning gorilla permits.
Some precautions to remember when visiting Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda
- To minimize possible transmission of human diseases, visitors are asked to maintain a distance of 7m (about 22 feet) from the gorillas. If you are sick with a cold, flu or other contagious illness, please do not visit the gorillas.
- Viewing time is limited to one hour.
- Maximum 8 visitors per group.
- If a gorilla should charge or vocalize at you, do not be alarmed, stand still, look away from the gorilla and follow your guide’s directions.
- The climate in Musanze is unstable and you can generally expect both sun and rainfall during the same day.
- Musanze, at 1,700m above sea level, is generally quite cold, particularly in the evening, so warm clothing is advised.
- Bring a water bottle and a small snack although eating, drinking and smoking near the gorillas is forbidden.
- Photographs are permitted, although you may not use flash.
- Mountain gorillas live at high altitude and this may cause difficulties for some visitors. You should walk slowly and drink plenty of water.