Gorilla Trekking guidelines and gorilla tracking permits
Gorilla visits usually last from between 1 to 8 hours as the trekkers make their way through the forest until the gorillas are located. The posse has got to be led by experienced trackers who have spent most of their lives living around the area and know all there is to know about gorillas. The trek is very exciting as you penetrate mostly through overhanging vines and giant slippery surfaces covered with moss in the majorly tropical climate. During the excursion, you are most probably going to catch more than a glimpse of the endangered golden monkeys, or sight buffalo herds, bush duikers together with a variety of bird species. The epitome of the trek is off-course reaching your destination to where the guerillas are; spending an hour with the gigantic primates watching them play, feed and look after their young ones in a fashion reminiscent of a human-being. This is definitely bound to blow your mind as you will be astonished at how close the human is to the gorilla. At the end of your visit you will have experienced what conservationist Dian Fossey went through living in the same forest for 18 years.
However, for all this to be made possible, a gorilla trekking permit has got to be acquired first. In Parc des Volcans, 56 permits are available every day of which they have to be acquired 3 months prior to the trek of even longer if it is a peak season. The peak seasons for trekking are from June to September and from mid-December to the end of February. Mountain guerilla and golden monkey trekking permits in Rwanda are booked through The Rwanda Board Offices in Kigali or Musanze at a cost of US$500 for non-nationals and $US250 for foreign non-residents while the natives fork out 20.000 Rwandan francs. These tariffs effective as of July 1st 2007.It should be noted that for one to acquire a gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda, they have got to be 15years of age.
In Rwanda, all the above is physically processed at:
Office Rwandaise du Tourisme et des Parcs Nationaux (ORTPN)
The Rwanda Tourism Board
Boulevard de la Révolution n° 1
PO Box 905
Tel (250) 576514 or 573396
Fax (250) 576515
For a fully enjoyable and successful gorilla trekking trip, here are a few pointers the trekker has got to keep in mind:
- To avoid transmission of human diseases, visitors are asked to maintain a distance of 7m (about 22 feet) from the gorillas and if you are sick with a cold, flu and other contagious illness, please do not visit the gorillas until you are completely healthy.
- The guerillas can be seen for only one hour.
- Trekkers are supposed to be in groups of 8 people tops.
- Spitting in the park is strictly prohibited.
- In case you need to cough, you have to turn away from the gorillas and cover your mouth.
- Silverback Gorillas treasure serenity, so your voice has got to be low at all times.
- Sporadic movements frighten gorillas so be nonchalant.
- If a Mountain gorilla should charge or vocalize at you, do not be alarmed, stand still, look away from the gorilla and follow your guide’s directions.
- Do not litter.
- You must be in good physical shape because the treks last upto 8 hours and are a little physical.
To enjoy the excursion, the following tips are healthy:
- The security of our visitors is our top most priority. So there is no need for alarm.
- The climate in Musanze is changeable and you can generally expect both sun and rainfall during the day.
- At 1,700m above sea level, Musanze is generally quite chilly, particularly in the evenings so warm clothing is advised.
- Long trousers and shirts should be worn in the forest to avoid nettle stings.
- Sturdy shoes/hiking boots and raingear is very useful,so remember to carry some with you for the trek.
- A water bottle and a small snack is allowed, although it must be noted that eating, drinking and smoking near the gorillas is strictly forbidden.
- Photographs of the primates can be taken only if the flash function is disabled.
- Porters are available to help you carry your gorilla trekking packs for a small charge so there is no need for alarm.
- Mountain gorillas live at high altitudes and this may cause difficulties in respiration for some visitors. So warm-ups in form of pacing, walking and rehydration with plenty of water is advised.
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