Rwanda “ The of Land of A Thousand Hills”, is a pure natural endowed country with so much to offer to its visitors; Volcanoes National park – the home to the world’s most endangered species of wild animals, the mountain gorillas and also the home to 6 of the 8 Virunga mountains of the Virunga region/ ranges . Mountain gorilla trekking is a life time experience each one of us ought to enjoy, but for one to encounter this, you must have a gorilla trekking permit.
Gorilla Permit, is a set of documents that allows tourists / travellers to trek for mountain gorillas from Volcanoes National Park and are usually provided by the Rwanda Development Board at the following rates;
The Different Gorilla Permit Rates in Rwanda
Tourists (Non Residents) – $ 750
East African Residents – $ 450
East African Citizens – $ 300
Rwandan Residents – $ 375
Rwandan Citizens – 30,000 Frw
NB: This cost is inclusive of the park entrance fees.
These permits can be obtained directly from the RDB (Rwanda Development Board) or through a trusted Tour operating Company.
The RDB is the government body in charge of tourism and wildlife conservation and can be reached through Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and Call: +252 576514.
There are several tour operating agencies in Rwanda and these can be reached through their websites to place a gorilla permit booking with them.
If you intend to trek for these intriguing creatures, it’s advisable to book your gorilla permit as early as possible (say like 3 months ahead of your trekking day) and must be in Musanze province at the Kinigi Park Offices by 7: 00 am on the eventful trekking day, to attend the morning briefing on the code of conduct when tracking for the gorillas; usually given by the park and game rangers. These game ranger guides are French and English speaking and well trained guides always at your disposal. At the end of this morning brief
ing, follows the hike into the thick dense montane forests in search for the amazing creatures – the mountain gorillas.
The morning briefing offers visitors information on the gorilla trekking rules and guide lines where some are for the safety and wellbeing of the mountain gorillas while others are for the safety and wellbeing of visitors and all are necessary and should be followed strictly such as;
For the Safety of Mountain Gorillas
- Visitors are advised to keep 7 meters away from the animals as a way of keeping them safe from falling sick with the contagious human diseases like flu, colds, and diarrhea among others. In case you feel sick on your eventful tracking day, please stay away from the park.
- For the safety of mountain gorillas, visitors are only allowed an hour with the animals
- In a day, each gorilla family group receives only 8 individuals
- Visitors should avoid spitting in the park
- When coughing, visitors should turn away from the gorillas
- In the presence of gorillas, visitors are advised to avoid making noise
- Tourists should also keep still in the presence of mountain gorillas to avoid scaring them off
- Visitors are also advised to avoid looking directly into the gorillas eyes
- Visitors should avoid contact with the gorillas even when they move closer to you, keep moving away
- In case of Charging / vocalizing by the gorillas, please don’t be alarmed, stay still and look away from the animals while following your ranger guide’s directions
- Visitors should avoid littering anything in the park
- Visitors should not eat or drink form the park
For Visitors’ Safety
- Our highest priority is the visitor’s security and in this case you are fully covered
- Due to climate changes in Musanze (Volcanoes National Park), visitors should carry rain coats with them as some times it can rain while tracking or be sunny.
- Visitors should bring warm clothing along since Musanze province can be quite cold especially in the evenings due to its high altitude above the sea level – 1700meters high
- Visitors should dress in long sleeved shirts and long trousers to avoid stings from forest insects
- Visitors should wear hiking boots or gumboots for example
- On the hiking day, visitors can bring a water bottle and snacks along but should not eat in the presence of the gorillas
- Photographing and video making is allowed but not with flash light cameras
- In case one needs help with their back pack, there are porters at the park entrance to help with this but at a fee of course
- Trekking Mountain gorillas is a tough activity that calls for good physical condition and health; and when hiking, visitors are advised to walk at a low speed while taking lots and lots of water to avoid getting tired and giving up on this life time encounter.
- To avoid missing out on your adventure, you must report at the Kinigi offices by 7: 00 am for morning briefing which usually lasts for only 30 minutes and at 8: 00 am, all roads lead to the starting points, and by 7:00pm every trekker must have retrieved the starting points.
BOOKING FOR GORILLA PERMIT
Gorilla permits should be booked as early as possible like 3 months ahead of the trekking trip, since permits get booked out quite quickly especially in the peak seasons of (June, July, August, September, December and January) and also gives visitors adequate time needed to prepare for their forthcoming trip. Therefore, if you intend to trek for mountain gorillas, you must check with us on the availability of the gorilla permit on your most preferred date so we can have your gorilla permit secured (booked and purchased) as early as possible.
To book for your gorilla permit, please contact us via Email: email@example.com
or Call us on: +256 701 58 47 57
Once you choose us, be assured of your gorilla permit early enough leaving you enough room to prepare for the rest of your Rwanda Tour.
Every single day, RDB issues out 80 gorilla trekking permits with 8 individuals assigned to each gorilla family group. Due to this scarcity in supply of permits and high competition especially in the peak months; June, July, August, September, December and January, it’s our concern to satisfy the needs of our clients through timely, and constant communication on the availability and progress of the gorilla permit acquisition and be assured of reaching us at all times. These are the steps to obtaining your gorilla trekking permit in Volcanoes National Park;
- Inquire with us through our Email or Phone Call, providing us with the details of the; number of days to spend on the tour, number of people taking on the tour, and even the most preferable date for travelling and trekking for the gorillas but with a provision of a wide range of dates in case we miss a permit on your most preferred date.
- We then look through the availability gorilla permit charts provided by RDB to confirm their existence and once clarified, we get back to you (client) as soon as possible.
However, there are cases when there’s no availability of permit at the time of interest, we usually advise for gorilla trek in Bwindi Forest , Uganda, and inquire on the availability of permits and once there, we make arrangements for its acquisition.
- On clarification on their availability, you (client) then send through your detailed name, nationality and passport details for all persons intending to trek within the preferred date not forgetting that children below 15 years of age are prohibited from this trekking exercise. This information is then used on your gorilla permit car and gorilla trekking certificate issued at the end of the adventure.
- We then send you through our invoice with our banking details to our direct bank account or at times we advise on the paypal proceedings (pesapal) which requires a bank charge of 5% of invoice value and it’s a slow method especially advised for those with less urgency on availability of the permits.
- Once you wire your funds, it takes us 5 working days to receive it, but earlier notification is advised on making the transaction as we can be able to secure your permit at all costs while waiting on the funds to mature on our account. When we get it, we send through a copy of your receipt for proof of your payment.
- On receipt of your deposit, we then transfer your gorilla permit funds to RDB and within 4 working days, your permit is ready, we are then notified for its collection from their offices by our company representative.
- On acquisition of your permit from RDB, expect an email with a copy of your scanned gorilla trekking permit which you physically retrieve upon arrival in Kigali for your memorable adventure.
- At this point, all is set for your gorilla trek in Rwanda with your driver guide , enjoy your trek!
NOTE: CANCELLATION ADVICE
In case one is sick on the eventful trekking day, and declared unfit for tracking by the ranger guide, the RDB refunds 50% of the initial gorilla trekking permit fee only accorded to those clients who have managed to make it to the park headquarters.