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Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

Mistakes to Avoid on your Rwanda Gorilla Safari

Mistakes to Avoid on your Rwanda Gorilla Safari

Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

Achieving a successful Rwanda gorilla safari requires adequate preparation, and the process is though challenging. Rwanda is one of the 3 destinations in the world where mountain gorillas survive in their natural habitats. Mountain gorillas are a few mammal species that can’t be found at the zoo and viewing them involves trekking through the tropical rainforests and steep slopes.

When planning Rwanda gorilla safari, you wouldn’t want anything to ruin your experience. There are usually common mistakes that visitors make on gorilla safari in Rwanda yet they are avoidable. Here is the list of common mistakes to avoid on your Rwanda safari this 2023/2024.

Booking a gorilla permit with a wrong person

A gorilla permit is one essential document anyone visiting Rwanda for gorilla trekking must have. It is what gives you a chance to join the rest of the visitors on a gorilla trekking adventure in Volcanoes National Park. To secure a gorilla permit, it is advisable that you do it early enough before the actual visit to see gorillas. Dealing with a tour company on the ground is one way to have your gorilla permit booked, but often visitors end up booking with wrong companies/persons.

There are hundreds of safari companies operating in Rwanda, but we advise that you deal with a reliable/registered local company. Find out if the company is licensed by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). A valid Rwanda gorilla permit is obtainable by all persons above 15 years and when choosing, NOT any company should be considered booking a permit or entire gorilla safari.

While gorilla permits are required, often visitors make a mistake of booking them late and end up not finding one due to high demand. Once you have decided on visiting Rwanda or any destination for gorilla trekking, first, the gorilla permit must be reserved in advanced and it is advisable that you do it 2-4 months before the actual day of tracking mountain gorillas.

Arriving for your gorilla tour on the wrong day

This is one of the commonest mistakes some visitors make. Gorilla trekking safaris are conducted in such a way that gorilla permits are issued to tourists for specific dates and these are non-transferrable documents. Once you have booked a gorilla permit, you know when to travel to Rwanda to track a gorilla family in Volcanoes National Park.

Choosing the wrong season for gorilla trekking

Every year, there are 2 seasons visitors must mark on their travel calendars. That is the dry and wet season – each of these occurs twice a year. However, we recommend that you travel during the dry season to enjoy your Rwanda gorilla safari. The longest drier months of the year in Volcanoes NP begin from June, July, August, and September while the short dry spell runs from December, January to February.

While it is possible to visit the park even during the wet or rainy season, we wouldn’t recommend it for gorilla trekking because you may not walk smoothly through muddy ground and slippery steep slopes.

Packing the wrong items for gorilla trekking

Packing right for gorilla trekking is essential but challenging as most visitors often come with wrong items. On actual gorilla trek, the must-have items include valid gorilla permits, passport, long-sleeved shirts, daypack, bottled drinking water, high energy giving snacks, trousers, a sweater, cameras with no flashlight, a pair of waterproof hiking boots, insect repellents, toiletries, and others.

Not sharing your fitness level with the park official

Your fitness levels play a remarkable part when it comes to gorilla trekking. Gorilla families are allocated to tourists on the actual day of briefing and some groups require certain level of physical fitness. If you have any fitness challenges, it is advisable that you communicate it to your tour operator so that the park authorities/officials are informed early.

On the day of trekking, the park official can assign you a group that is easier to track depending on your physical fitness levels. Before you come across gorillas, you must engage in a trek through steep slopes or dense rainforest and it all requires you to have some level of fitness.

Not observing the set gorilla trekking guidelines

Visitor and gorilla safety matter a lot when it comes to gorilla safaris. This is why you should observe the stipulated gorilla trekking rules at all times but at times, visitors make mistakes ignoring them. Observing a distance of 8-10 meters from gorillas should be a must-do on gorilla trekking tour.