Nestled in the heart of the Virunga Mountains, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda stands as a sanctuary for one of the world’s most majestic creatures – the rare Mountain gorillas.

This breathtaking park, located in the northwest corner of Rwanda, boasts lush rainforests, mist-covered peaks, and a rich biodiversity that provides a haven for these critically endangered primates.

From the bustling capital of Kigali, adventurers can embark on a scenic journey to Volcanoes National Park, approximately 2-3 hours away by road. The park’s strategic location and remarkable conservation efforts have made Rwanda a premier destination for gorilla trekking, offering travellers an unparalleled opportunity to encounter these gentle giants in their natural habitat.

The gorillas

photo of a gorilla walking on grass
Photo by David Atkins on

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, immersing visitors in the captivating world of these remarkable creatures. As one of only three countries in the world where Mountain gorillas can be found, Rwanda’s commitment to gorilla conservation and sustainable tourism has ensured the preservation of this iconic species for generations to come.

The opportunity to witness these magnificent animals up close, amidst the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Virunga Mountains, is a privilege that leaves a lasting impression on all who embark on this extraordinary journey.

About the trek

Rwanda – Gorilla Trekking. Photo Credit – Kate Webster

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda operates under the guidance of experienced park rangers and trackers, who lead small groups of visitors on immersive excursions into the forest in search of gorilla families. Each trek is a unique adventure, with the duration and difficulty varying depending on the location of the gorilla groups. Once with the gorillas, guests will have 1 hour to enjoy the experience before leaving the gorillas for their day.

During the trek, visitors can expect to encounter a diverse array of wildlife and vegetation, from playful golden monkeys to towering bamboo forests. As they approach the gorilla families, rangers will provide guidance on appropriate behaviour and ensure a respectful distance is maintained at all times. The magical moment of coming face-to-face with these gentle giants in their natural habitat is a truly unforgettable experience, leaving travellers with memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Permits for gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park are priced at $1,500 USD per person, reflecting the park’s commitment to conservation and sustainable tourism practices.

When planning to go gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park it is recommended you purchase a permit prior to arrival as they book out fast. Make sure you book your permit at least 3 months prior to your actual trek, as permits are limited to just a few people each day and demand is typically high. Permits can be obtained through a trustworthy tour operator or through the Rwanda Development Board by emailing:

When to go gorilla trekking

Rwanda – Gorilla Trekking. Photo Credit – Kate Webster

To ensure a successful gorilla experience, like anywhere in Africa, the two most significant seasons you need to consider are the wet and dry seasons – and each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. During the two dry seasons –June to September and December to February, rainfall is very low and the gorilla habitat remains relatively dry, making it easier to hike through Volcanoe National Park’s dense vegetation and steep slopes in search for these unique creatures.

The wet seasons – running from March to May and again from October to November, are characterized by heavy rainfall, ensuring that trekking is much more challenging. On the upside, however, more plentiful food during this period makes it a little easier to locate gorillas in their usual habitat, unlike the dry season where the limited food supply makes them move much further afield in search of something to eat.

How to prepare

Rwanda – Gorilla Trekking. Photo Credit – Kate Webster

As travellers prepare for their gorilla trekking adventure, there are several tips to keep in mind to ensure a safe and memorable experience. In preparation for your gorilla adventure, it’s important to pack appropriately. A number of companies operating in Rwanda will have options to hire gear, such as gators, jackets, boots and more. If you wish to take your own gear, the following items are essential.

  • Sturdy, waterproof hiking shoes to help you navigate rocky, and often, slippery surfaces. Remember the trails can be muddy and slippery – especially during the rainy season.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Gardening gloves can come in handy when the gorillas are ranging within sparky, thorny and stinging vegetation.
  • A good camera to capture the best shots.
  • Long-sleeved shirts and long pants to protect you from the cold and stinging nettles.
  • A Waterproof backpack to protect your camera and other fragile items.

In conclusion, gorilla trekking in Rwanda offers travellers a rare opportunity to connect with nature and witness the beauty of one of our planet’s most endangered species. With its stunning landscapes, unparalleled wildlife encounters, and commitment to conservation, Volcanoes National Park stands as a beacon of hope for the future of Mountain gorillas and the preservation of our natural world. For travellers seeking an adventure of a lifetime, Rwanda’s gorilla trekking experience promises to be nothing short of extraordinary.

For more on gorilla trekking in Rwanda, take a look at Visit Rwanda’s website

To learn more about how to sell Rwanda, read our Focus on Rwanda feature.

Similar Posts