Our driver/guide will pick you up from Kigali at 4:30 am and take you straight to the Volcanoes National Park headquarters in Kinigi, northern Rwanda. Critically endangered and currently numbering about 1,000 individuals (according to the 2018 census results), the mountain gorillas can only be found in two places in the world: the Virunga Massif, a volcanic range that straddles Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. The Volcanoes National Park is on the Rwandan side of the Virunga Massif.
After equipping yourselves with the essential gorilla trekking gear (hiking boots, long trousers, gloves, etc.), the park’s head ranger will divide you and other trekkers into different groups basing on your fitness. Usually, the more physically fit track gorilla groups that require a shorter, less strenuous trek while the fit ones can scour the forest for a longer time, and at a relatively higher altitude.
Just like the golden monkeys, the mountain gorillas you’ll be allowed to view are families that have been habituated. As the excursion progresses deeper into the forest, your guide will point out signs of previous gorilla activity – dung, nests, chewed bamboo shoots, etc. Once you find them, you’ll be allowed to stay with them for one hour. And despite their intimidating, massive size, don’t fret! Habituated gorillas are not aggressive; they’ll just stare at you blankly.
After gorilla trekking, you’ll be driven to Musanze town for lunch and then back to Kigali.