Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is one of the breathtaking on-foot-walk wildlife experiences that require some level of physical wellness. It is every traveler’s dream adventure but many are left wondering about altitude sickness. Mountain gorillas are unique creatures and they live in higher altitudes ranging from 2200 to 3000m.
To see mountain gorillas involves tourists trekking through montane areas and the whole activity is challenging. In Rwanda, you should be prepared to navigate through a lush vegetation and altitude range of at least 2500m to find a family of mountain gorillas. All treks to see mountain gorillas in Rwanda are done only in Ruhengeri region where Volcanoes National Park (Parch Nationale des Volcans) is located, about 2-3 hours’ drive from Kigali.
Even when a gorilla destination doesn’t have high altitude that can cause altitude sickness, some trekkers on gorilla safari still find it a challenging experience. Generally, while on a gorilla trek, you may need to make some breaks before you encounter a group of mountain gorillas.
Usually, how long the gorilla trek can take is something not certain but the exercise takes a range of 2-6 hours. This can be less or more as it varies according trekkers’ speed of trekking, where to find gorillas, nature of the habitat among other significant factors. Such factors affect not only the old but also the young and energetic ones. This is why it requires you to be well-prepared to overcome altitude sickness on Rwanda gorilla trekking safari.
Trekking to see mountain gorillas can be tiresome unlike the normal game drives some visitors go for in Akagera National Park. The kind of altitude makes the whole adventure breathtaking, however, provided that you are well-prepared, you won’t find issues like altitude sickness. In all gorilla treks, tourists are accompanied by an experienced park guide and as you navigate through the forest, he or she ensures that he keeps within everyone’s trekking space-no one should be left behind.
Also, the altitude sickness can be experienced depending on the gorilla family group assigned to you. There are some groups that are considered to be hard-trek and others offer easier gorilla treks. In Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, Susa A gorilla family notably the challenging group to trek given the altitude range visitors have to go through to find them. But what is most important is to have yourself do some exercises before you make your journey to Volcanoes National Park to trek mountain gorillas.
Also, it is essential to communicate early to your tour operator or park official about your level of physical fitness. This will guide them during allocation of gorilla groups on the day you will be briefed on etiquette for gorilla trekking.
However, mountain gorillas are such lovely creatures to interact with. Trekking to see them in the wild is amazingly a magical experience of a lifetime. These rare apes are found only in the Virunga region of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park (Parch Nationale des Volcans) Rwanda and Virunga National Park and nearly half of them exist in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
The two-mountain gorilla population that thrive presently in the two areas make up a population of about 1063 worldwide. In Rwanda, gorilla treks are carried out in any of the Volcanoes National Park’s 10 habituated gorilla families (these include Bwenge, Ugenda, Kwitonda, Susa A, Agashya, Umubano, Amahoro, Hirwa, Karisimbi (Susa B) & Sabyinyo. Gorilla permits for Rwanda are available for reservation at US Dollars 1500 per person and you can get one reserved for yourself via our reservation team who also will help arrange for you the best of your Rwanda gorilla tour.