Tag - Gorilla trekking tips

An encounter with the Mountain Gorillas – Uganda and Rwanda

Gorilla trekking is one of the most adventurous activities that tourists love to encounter when they visit Africa.

Many have heard so much information about these mountain gorillas and so when they get a chance, they are anxious to see them face to face.

There are three countries in Africa that are home to these mountain gorillas; these include Rwanda, Uganda, and Congo.

Whichever destination you decide to visit, you will have the chance to have a lifetime memorable adventure.

The ugly truth about Mountain Gorillas - Uganda Rwanda safarisGorillas are identified in four types, these include the Mountain Gorillas, the Western Lowland gorillas, Western gorillas, and the Eastern Gorillas.

The mountain gorilla is one of the two subspecies of the eastern gorilla. Until recently, it is listed as endangered by the IUCN as of 2018.

The western lowland gorilla is one of two subspecies of the western gorilla. They leave in montane, primary and secondary forests and lowland swamps in central Africa.

These gorillas can be found in countries like Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon.

The western gorilla is a great ape and it is the most populous species of the Gorilla kind.

Western gorillas are generally lighter colored than eastern gorillas. They are characterized by black, dark grey or dark brown-grey fur with a brownish forehead.

The eastern gorilla is the largest living primate. At present, the species is subdivided into two subspecies.

  • The Grauer’s gorilla, formerly known as the eastern lowland gorilla.
  • The mountain gorilla

Mountain gorillas are called giant apes due to the fact that they are the largest primates

Virunga Mountains or Bwindi Impenetrable forest will give you a chance to see these fascinating giants.

Since these gorillas were almost extinct, money collected through gorillas permits both in Uganda and Rwanda goes to the protection of these giants.

Encountering these gorillas at a closer range will surely be worth your money. You will see them play, some resting and the mothers feeding their young ones.

Uganda is one country in Africa that is gifted by nature. Since time memorial, it has been acknowledged as the pearl of Africa because of its flora and fauna.

On a Uganda safari, you will also get to encounter chimpanzees and many other animals.

As you walk through Mgahinga National Park or Bwindi National Park looking for the gorillas, you will see various species of birds and An encounter with the Mountain Gorillas - Uganda and Rwandamany more animals.

There are a number of Gorilla families in Bwindi and you will have the chance to trek one. Among these families are Nshongi, Nkuringo, Rushegura, Habinyanja, Mubare, and Bitukura.

As you plan for your safari to see the gorillas, there are certain tips that you must consider.

You must book a gorilla permit prior to your safari; this can be done through a reliable tour company.

Remember children below the age of 15years are not allowed to track the gorillas.

You are advised to follow the ranger guide’s instructions and avoid using cameras with flashlights when you encounter the gorillas.

You must keep a certain distance while seeing the gorillas so that they don’t contract diseases from human beings.

Remember some level of physical fitness is needed because you are to trek the mountainous areas in search of the gorillas.

Inconclusion, mountain gorillas are one of the most fascinating creatures you can ever encounter.

They spend most of their time in the mountain forests, on the ground during the day and in the trees at night.

Their way of life and their behavior towards humans is something you wouldn’t want to miss out on.

We at Friendly Gorillas Safaris are always happy to provide you with the information that can help you best plan your safari. Click here for any questions.

Top 5 Places you must visit in Rwanda 2019.- Rwanda Safaris

Top 5 Places you must visit in Rwanda 2019.- Rwanda Safaris

Top 5 Places to visit in Rwanda 2019.

Rwanda has quite a number of interesting things to offer but in this article, I am going to be discussing the Top 5 Places you must visit in Rwanda 2019.

Rwanda is a small country located in the southwest of Uganda after Tanzania. It is a member of the East African community and it covers an area of 26,338 square kilometers.

Rwanda has gone through a period due to the 1994 genocide (known as 100 days of slaughter) whose wounds are still fresh in the hearts of the people of Rwanda.

It is a “land of a thousand hills” and known as the Switzerland of Africa (due to the hills). Much as the country is small, she is beautiful and endowed with fascinating attractions, which makes the country a “paradise on earth”.

Tourists visit most of the attractions within a short distance without going far because most of the interesting things are close to each other.

Do not wait for someone to tell you about the beauty of this country. Visit this country and exploit one of the top interesting places in the country.

The must-visit places in Rwanda that you should not miss to add to your bucket list include the following;

  1. Kigali

A very unique city in the heart of Rwanda, Kigali is a gorgeous city with great weather.  You can get a taste of history here by visiting the genocide memorials and learn about the turbulent past of the country.

Kigali city itself is one of the top 5 places tourists should not miss to visit when in Rwanda.

The city is the gateway to most attractions (mountain gorillas, chimpanzees among others in National Parks). Kigali was declared Africa’s most beautiful city by the United Nations.

It is one of the cleanest and safest places in Africa.

The great weather in the city makes a relaxing place for tourists too. Kigali city tour offers an in-depth concept of Kigali and the history of Rwanda as a whole.

While at Kigali city, you can visit Kandt House museum (oldest building), you will also visit the first modern building on which the city was first founded, Inema Arts center, Ivuka Arts center, Museum of National History, the Presidential Museum (where the death of the former Rwandan President sparkled the 1994 Rwandan Genocide), the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center, Statehouse museum and the Miyo Art Gallery.

For movie lovers, you can go for 5-D movies in the Kigali multiplex cinema.

Golden Chimpanzee in Volcanoes National Park

  1. Volcanoes National Park:

Volcanoes national park is a stop center for all Rwanda gorilla safaris sheltering the highest number of mountain gorillas in the Virunga Conservation area.

The strategic location of the Park roughly 2 hours’ drive from Kigali international airport makes it the most accessible gorilla national park in the world.

Besides gorillas, Volcanoes National park is a home for golden monkeys, a variety of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects among other creatures which together make a complete Rwanda safari package.

Spanning on a 160 square kilometer area in the northern part of Rwanda, Volcanoes national park is part of the great Virunga volcano conservation region spanning to cover Virunga national park Congo and Mgahinga national park Uganda.

It was initially a small area around Karisimbi, Mikeno and Visoke volcanoes which was gazetted to protect the Mountain gorillas which were facing the threat of extinction as a result of poaching.

This Park is a haven of the famous and unique critically endangered mountain gorillas.

A visit to the Land of a thousand Hills offers you fantastic Rwanda gorilla safaris in the Volcanoes national park, home to 10 habituated gorilla families existing in different locations of the park.

Besides the mountain gorilla, other attractions include over 75 species of mammals like Elephants, Buffaloes, and Giant forest Hogs, Bushbucks and spotted hyenas among others.

The park is also a home of over 180 species of birds whereby 26 species are endemic to Virunga and Rwenzori mountains.

Besides the wildlife species, other attractions include Dian Fossey grave, Mount Karisimbi, and Mount Bisoke.

This park should definitely be on the top 5 list of places to visit in the land of 1000 hills

  1. Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park is located in the South-western edge of Rwanda, bordered by Burundi in the South and Congo in the West and covers a total area of 1020 square kilometers.

It was established in 2004 to diversify Rwanda’s tourism from over-relying on gorilla tourism.

The Park is about 4 -5 hours’ drive from Kigali town. 75 species of mammals are inhabited in this park including 13 primate species, for example, the Chimpanzees (over 400 in this Park), Black and white colobus monkeys, and the park is a home of over 300 species of birds out of which 16 species are Albertine Rift endemics.

Tourists who visit this park will be accustomed to activities like the fascinating canopy walk.

Several hiking trails in Nyungwe forest include the Ngabwe trail, Bigugu trail, Kamiranzovu marsh trail, and Isumo waterfall trail, Source of the River Nile trail, Karamba birding trail, Imbaraga trail, Rukuzi trail and irebero trail among others.

Primate safaris and bird watching are also conducted in this park.

  1. National Museum of Rwanda (Ethnographic museum)

The museum that was built in 1987 and inaugurated in 1989 is situated in Huye/Butare, about 130 km South of Kigali town.

It is one of the 6 fascinating Museums that form the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda and it is the first to be opened in Rwanda, it has continuously been referred to as the best museum in East Africa.

The Museum has 7 galleries with objects grouped according to the themes that showcase ethnographic, historical (how Rwanda was like before colonization), artistic and Archeological artifacts.

The museum is meant to tell a story on the social and the cultural aspects of Rwanda, artifacts, and symbols of Rwanda’s culture and heritage which include “Kagondo hut”, “Isinde” among others.

  1. Akagera National Park

This National Park is located in the Northeastern part of Rwanda at the border with Tanzania.

It covers an area of about 1,122 square kilometers. It is located around 135 km from Kigali town (2 hours 30 minutes away).

The fascinating attractions that are worth visiting in this park include a network of lakes including Lake Ihema.

This savanna park is widely known for game viewing because of the variety of wildlife species which include Savanna Rwanda gorilla tours in Volcanoes National Parkelephants, buffaloes, antelope species for example waterbucks, topi, Oribis, roan antelope, elands among others.

The zebras, giraffes, leopards and spotted hyenas are also spotted in this marvelous National Park.

Also, more than 525 species of birds have been recorded in this Park and they include the shoebill stork, over 44 species of raptor, Albertine Rift endemic species like Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco among others.

For your enjoyment and life refreshing game drives, visit the Akagera National Park and unleash your excitement.


  1. Akagera National Park

Rwandan Lakes (Lake Kivu, twin lakes or Burera and Ruhondo, Lake Muhazi. Lake Ihema and Lake Mugesera):

Several lakes exist in Rwanda and tourists can enjoy the scenic and serene views of these marvelous Lakes. They include Lake Kivu (largest freshwater lake in Rwanda).

Its outstanding Inland body of water together with the beach offers the best relaxation time for tourists.

Water sports including canoeing, kayaking, and windsurfing take place while at this Lake.

The twin lakes of Rwanda (Lake Ruhondo and Burera) are also worth visiting when in Rwanda. Activities like canoeing, birding, boating, and fishing are conducted in these twin lakes.

Lake Muhazi (one-and-a-half-hour drive from Kigali) offers another favorable option of lakes in Rwanda.

There are Jambo and Rwesero beaches at this Lake. With more than 30 species of birds recorded in this Lake, it offers an interesting bird watching time to tourists. Other activities include boating, fishing, and camping.


In conclusion, Rwanda is a country that is blessed with fascinating attractions ranging from the natural attractions (mountain gorillas, chimpanzees) to the man-made attractions (museums) which create the interest for tourists to visit the country. Friendly Gorillas Safaris is dedicated to providing you with the best destination information so that you can plan well for your tour.


Uganda or Rwanda gorilla safaris - Track Gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda?

Rwanda gorilla tracking – Reasons to visit Gorillas

Gorilla trekking is one of the most looked for safari activities in Africa and there are only three countries that provide tourists with this thrilling experience in the world.
Mountain Gorilla trekking can be done at Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Virunga national park in Congo, Mount Mgahinga national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in Uganda.

Don’ts while trekking gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda

Rwanda gorilla toursGorillas live in the Virunga massif conservation area shared by three countries and then Bwindi forest in Uganda, these great apes are man’s closest relatives with 98% DNA for humans but they were almost getting extinctions in the 19th century but thank God for the conservation efforts.

While trekking mountain gorillas there are some of the things you should not do while with the gorillas this can be seen below:

  • Flash photography will not be allowed while trekking mountain gorillas and the reason is gorillas don’t Like flashlights, unlike golden monkeys who love flash cameras and therefore may be provoked and become cruel.
  • A five-meter distance must be kept when in the presence of gorillas, this will make them feel relaxed and also help in no infecting them with human diseases as their vulnerability to diseases like flu. This also helps keep them for longer.
  • Tourists must keep a close distance to each other while with the gorillas; being scattered will not be allowed. This helps those who may be fearing to be a bit confident.
  • Lower your voices: However much you will be allowed to ask your guides questions but the voices must be kept low at all times.
  • You will not be allowed to touch gorillas, as they are wild animals no domestic. However, a few times some gorillas come and approach people. This is somewhat exceptional though.
  • The maximum time and the usual time for tourists to observe gorillas is strictly one hour though the visit can be ended early if the gorillas become nervous.Rwanda gorilla safari
  • Do not drink or eat while with mountain gorillas this is because the food droppings left after can increase the risks of transmitting diseases to the gorillas.
  • After the visit, tourists must keep their voices low until there about 200 meters away from the mountain gorillas.
  • In case of a gorilla charge, do not take a picture or try to run away this will worsen the situation and also leave the gorillas to pass by.
  • When the gorillas charge you must follow the instructions of the guide, for example, crouching down slowly this will help them cool down.
  • Do not look directly into the gorilla’s eyes. This may scare or make them cruel.
  • Do not cough or sneeze in the direction of gorillas, if you feel the urge kindly turn away and cover your mouth, he will reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria.

In case you’re feeling ill or you have a contagious disease you can stay behind and visit another group when you’re well or get your money refunded. Gorilla permits cost $600 in Uganda, $1500 in Rwanda and only $400 in Congo.

The above does not make Uganda or Rwanda gorilla tracking any hard. Just follow the above simple rules and you will find Gorilla tracking an amazing encounter you ever had.

Need a Gorilla safari or simply Gorilla tracking permit today, Contact us now.