Gorilla families or groups are divided into two. The study groups/ families which are accessible to scientists and the tourist groups/families which are open for tourist tracking. The Study groups have the largest number of individuals. Study groups include Beetsme, Pablo’s Shida’s and Bwenge. Besides these, there are seven(7) tourist groups-Susa, Sabyinyo, Amahoro, Kwitonda, Group 13 (Agashya), Umubano and Hirwa. Sometimes, these are joined by a migrant group from Uganda. Potential gorilla trackers have diverse questions ranging from the best time to track, the existing gorilla families, accommodation facilities, when to buy permits, tracking rules and regulations. Click this link for more on gorilla families
Gorilla Safaris In Rwanda -the facts
There are currently approximately 700 mountain gorillas in the wild. Thus these animals are classified as endangered species. If unchecked gorilla trekking can endanger the life of gorillas. Gorilla tracking is a clean practice (eco friendly) which ensures minimal impact to the local community, the environment and the gorillas. Rules and regulations have been put in place for the safety of the trackers, the gorillas and to check adverse environmental impacts. Besides these rules and regulations guarantees the continued existence of the gorilla as species, that is to avoid the extinction of the gorillas.
Gorilla tracking safaris are restricted to 8 persons per day per group. That makes a total of 56 permits per day. 8 days Great primates expedition, is a combination of Gorilla tracking and chimpanzee tracking in Volcanoes and Nyungwe Forest National Park, Other gorilla tracking destinations include Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi National Park in Uganda
Chimpanzee Tracking Safaris
Chimpanzee tracking safaris are either taken in Rwanda's Nyungwe Forest National Park, Katavi in Tanzania or Kyambura Gorge in Uganda.
Gorilla tracking Rwanda What to Bring
1. Hiking boots-not mountain climbers-anything hardy above the ankle is ok.
3. Water proof container for your camera
4. A warm cardigan
5. If you desire to wear a headgear, a base ball cap is recommended
6. Long trousers and long sleeves are ideal
7. Enough film.
Gorilla Safaris Rwanda-Tracking Rules and Regulations
1. Gorilla tracking in Rwanda - Submissiveness
When you encounter gorillas, you are required to portray total submissiveness. Do not look at them straight in the eyes and avoid standing over them. If the male gorilla charge at you, crouch down. Gorillas have freedom of way. Do not drum your chest.
2. Rwanda Safaris Rwanda -Gorilla Photography/Photographic Safaris
Flash photography is prohibited. Filming for domestic use is allowed. Special Photographic and filming safaris specifically for commercial use and documentaries can be organized. These will require accreditation cards unlike normal tourists.
3. Health of the Gorillas
There are currently approximately 700 mountain gorillas in the wild. Thus these animals are classified as endangered species. Gorilla trekking if unchecked can endanger the life of gorillas. Trekking/ hiking in Rwanda is restricted to 8 persons per day per group. That makes a total of 56 permits per day.
Avoid tracking gorillas if you suffer from contagious disease.
Do not sneeze towards them
Do not spit in the forest or defecate carelessly. If you need to the guides will help you with a machete to dig a hole to bury your waste.
4. Environmental consciousness
Gorilla tracking is a clean activity. Leave only your steps in the national park. Do not litter and if you spot any litter, collect it and take it down with you.
5. Gorilla Safaris Rwanda and Uganda- Gorilla Hiking and Trekking facts
How hard should one prepare for gorilla safaris and trekking in Rwanda? The facts below will help you to answer this question.
Gorilla Trekking, hiking and tracking takes place at altitudes of 3000 metres-this means that moderate/ average physical fitness is what is necessary and not athletic fitness.
Gorilla safaris Rwanda are conducted by patient, qualified and knowledgeable ranger guides with wide experience in natural history with particular attention to gorilla behaviour .Gorilla Safaris in Rwanda conducted at a moderate pace with plenty of stops for resting, fielding questions further briefs etc. Competitive hiking is discouraged as the aim of the guides, porters and rangers is for all the group members to make it to the gorillas and back to the base. Believe it or not, the slowest hiker/ trekker will determine the pace of the trek.
6. Eating while tracking gorillas
You can carry your picnic but do not eat in the vicinity of the gorillas.
7. Chest beating
Please do not imitate the male gorilla chest beating. It may take that as a challenge and charge after you which can result in severe injuries.
8. Age Limit: Only people of 15 years and above can track gorillas.
Other Gorilla Hiking, Trekking & Tracking Safaris In Rwanda