Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills is one of the upcoming travel destinations in Africa. Also known as Republic of Rwanda, this is the majestic home to the endangered mountain gorillas, that brought Dian Fossey to Africa.

Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator and it is a lovely country with lots of interesting attractions and activities. It is bordered by countries such as Uganda, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi. Given its relatively small size, you can easily plan a multi-county tour combining Rwanda with its neighbors.

The capital of Rwanda is Kigali and it have been voted several times as Africa’s cleanest city. There are lots of things to do in Kigali. Explore the Gisozi Genocide Memorial Site, go shopping for the unique crafts and souvenirs, experience the lifestyle of the Rwandan People or even go out for a nightlife!

A guided safari in Rwanda is an unforgettable experience that tourists who visit the country must not miss. It offers the best way to experience not only the scenic beauty of Rwanda but also will be a memorable journey. If you’re thinking about going on a Rwanda safari, then you will find there are many options available for you to choose from.

One of the most popular tours is one where you watch gorillas out in the wild in their own natural habitat. A gorilla trek in Rwanda is the most captivating safari one can experience in their life time in the great country of Africa. Travel north to the Volcanoes National Park, the precious homeland of one of the most endangered species in the world, the mountain gorillas.

Planning a Gorilla Trek

A journey north will prove to you why Rwanda is called as the Land of a thousand hills! The region is characterized with undulating hills and the Virunga Mountain Ranges. A gorilla safari enables you to sit with a wonderful gorilla for sometime can become the best highlight for any trip to Africa. Given the opportunity to trek the endangered Mountain Gorilla, and there is no doubt to have a direct encounter with these great apes.

In order to participate in a gorilla trek, viewing permits must be obtained in advance, and they are extremely limited in number, so advance booking is essential to ensure permits can be obtained. The mountain gorilla is perhaps the World’s most endangered ape, with approximately 700 animals, and they are only found in small portions of protected afro-montane forests in north-west Rwanda, south-west Uganda and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Gorilla trekking is tightly controlled and regulated for the safety of the visitor and importantly for the safety of the Mountain Gorillas. A maximum of 8 visitors may visit a group of habituated Gorillas on any given day; this minimizes behavioral disturbance and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases.

When you go on this type of tour you will get the chance to see different groups of gorillas that are extremely rare. The skilled guide will teach you all about the different kinds of gorillas and what is unique about the jungle they are in. Whether you are on a three day, five day, or two week safari, you will not be staying close to the gorillas. The animals are always moving so they must be tracked on foot and the time you will spend on the hike is unpredictable. Once found a tourist can only get as close as twenty feet (7 metres) and can only take photos without flash.

There are safaris available for all types of different budgets, so everyone can find one they can afford to go on! One can also visit many cultural centres, genocide memorial and the beautiful twin lakes of Ruhundo, Bulero and the great Nyungwe Forest National Park. You can view the grand herds of buffaloes and elephants in the wonderful Akagera National Park.

The Giraffe Center is a non-profit organization founded by Betty and Jock Leslie-Melville in 1979. Situated in Langata, just 20 km outside Nairobi City Center, the Center is dedicated to educating the Kenyan youth in conservation of the environment and the preservation of endangered wildlife and their habitats.

Giraffe Centre located in Langata, where the endangered Rothschild giraffe are being raised. This is where tourists/ visitors get the opportunity to hand feed these gentle creatures, as well as get fantastic close up photo shots. Feeding the giraffes is facilitated by a well built, raised platform from where visitors can feed these tall animals with ease. It was established in order to protect the endangered Rothschild giraffe, giraffe Camelopardalis Rothschild, which is found only in the grasslands of Africa. In 1979, Leslie-Melville added an education Centre to his giraffe sanctuary.

By 1983 he had raised enough money to establish the Giraffe Visitor’s Centre as a tourist destination in Nairobi. The center is also home to several warthogs which freely move around the area along with the giraffes. The main attraction for visitors is feeding giraffes from a raised observation platform. . By 2008, the Trust had successfully raised over 82 infant African Elephant calves.

In addition to the rearing of orphaned rhinos & elephants, the Trust also contributes to part of the electrical fencing of the northern boundary of the Tsavo National Park, continues to pressure cites to uphold the ivory ban through aggressive public campaigns, works to repatriate other animal species, runs de-snaring operations and a Mobile Veterinary project, as well as establishing many boreholes & windmills and general conservation issues in Tsavo National Park.

Their conservation is a success story in Kenya and the world. Come interact with their handlers and hear the terrible stories behind their journey to the orphanage email us for inquiries at (info@terrain-safaris.com)

WHAT YOU MUST KNOW BEFORE YOU BOOK

  • At least 2 people are required for this activity to take place.
  • A single person may book this tour, but must select and pay the price for 2 travelers to cover operational costs.

Looking for inspirational videos to raise the adrenaline to go on an African safari? Here are 5 interesting inspirational moments to rejuvenate your spirit of Adventure. You will get to know as to why many visitors opt for African safaris.

A lioness and her cub go for a stroll

This video beautifully captures the Kruger experience. A group of amateur cameramen spot a lioness and her cub lazing in tall grass next to a paved road. As they stop to film the event, the lioness stretches and decides to go for a stroll across the road itself, before settling down with her cubs. This up-close looks at the lioness and her babies is sweet and poignant.

Leopard attack on gazelle

This amateur footage was shot in Kenya and captures a leopard as it stealthily hones in on a group of impala and gazelle. The leopard strikes with unerring precision before carrying its prize off into the bush. The camerawork isn’t perfect, but it’s perfectly acceptable for an amateur filmmaker, and there’s a slow-mo recap of the moment the leopard gets hold of its prey too. Footage like this is a gritty representation of the unscripted drama that unfolds on a safari.

Lions hunt an elephant

In Zimbabwe, more amateur footage captures an amazing natural phenomena: lions hunting an elephant. It’s never nice to see the majestic elephant brought to the ground and made to suffer, but the lion demonstrates its status as the King of Africa in this video, and it’s awe-inspiring stuff indeed – if a little sad.

Remote-controlled helicopter captures amazing Serengeti footage

The Serengeti spans some 30, 000 km² and is one of Africa’s most interesting bodies of land. In this video, a remote-controlled helicopter (or drone) soars across the skyline, camera trained to the ground below, as it captures some quite amazing wildlife moments, like wildebeest moving in tandem or a hyena dragging its prey through long grass. This amazing footage should be viewed by anyone who doubts the majesty of Africa’s untamed landscape.

Countries where mountain gorillas live that is to say Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo have  come together in partnership with local people and international conservation organizations to put up strong conservation policies and measures that can help to protect and conserve gorillas.

This saw a legally binding agreement called the gorilla agreement where 10 countries have agreed and created solutions to reduce threats and conserve gorillas through strategies including;

Protection of gorilla habitats through effective trans-boundary management,

Supporting local communities living near gorilla national parks through development projects and alternative resources and Putting to an end poaching and illegal trade of gorillas or their products.

Protection of gorilla habitats has became effective when protected areas were gazetted as national parks and transformed into ecotourism destinations and had the ranger based monitoring systems implemented to keep on monitoring gorillas by the park rangers and guides. In the process of conserving mountain gorillas, the other subspecies of eastern and western gorillas in DRC have also received conservation attention including other wildlife that share habitats with mountain gorillas which has made diversity of wildlife relevant besides gorillas.

Due to the genetic similarity between humans and mountain gorillas, gorillas are susceptible to many of the same infectious diseases that affect people. Mountain gorillas are also immune to some diseases, meaning they are particularly susceptible to certain human diseases because of their historic isolation from people. Research conducted by the Gorilla Doctors and other scientists has proven that mountain gorillas have died as a result of infections that originated in people. Infectious disease, after trauma, is the leading cause of death in mountain gorillas. The most common infection is respiratory disease, which can range from mild colds to severe pneumonia. To protect gorillas from such infections, the national park authorities ask that anyone feeling sick or running a fever to not trek gorillas.

In order to reduce the risk of disease transmission and to avoid disturbing the gorillas’ natural behavior, the Gorilla Doctors have worked with national park authorities to establish the rule of staying 7 meters (21 feet) or more from the gorillas at all times. The gorillas themselves, especially young ones don’t know the rules and may approach humans, but tourists should make sure they stay away and avoid touching the animal if possible. The 7-meter rule should be observed at all times, even when gorillas leave the national park and venture on to property owned by tourist lodges and camps in order to reduce diseases.

One of the most effective ways to help mountain gorillas is to donate money to organizations working on the ground to conserve the species. Numerous organizations including MGVP have spent decades finding effective methods for protecting mountain gorillas, and most rely on grants and donations to fund their work. When donating your money to support any cause, it’s important to evaluate the organization you’re considering supporting to determine how successful the group is in carrying out its mission. You should get to know what methods do such organizations use to accomplish their stated goals. This is when you can’t afford to make significant personal donation or travel to Africa.

In conclusion, gorilla conservation requires both local and international support; awareness building, strong law enforcement and conservation policies that not only protect gorillas but also motivate people including tourists to understand hoe gorillas should be protected and conserved. Educative programs about the health of gorillas as well as health of people and environmental awareness are such endless important issues that keep highlighting the need for continued conservation efforts to save mountain gorillas.

1. Touched by a Wild Mountain Gorilla

An unforgettable encounter between man and beast! Wish I was there! Would you like to see these great apes in their natural home? You can see the mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda or DR Congo. In Uganda, mountain gorillas are only inhabited in the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Southwestern side of the country; in Rwanda, you will head to Volcanoes National Park Northwest and the Virunga National Park, Eastern DR Congo.

2. Battle at Kruger

Perhaps the most popular African wildlife video known on YouTube! Amazing encounters between lions and buffalo and crocodiles. The battle involved fight for life! I won’t say another word, just watch it! The most interesting is that in this video, no animal lost life yet all the characters in the video are dangerous animals.

3. Baby Elephant Steals the Show

It is play time at Hluhluwe Umfolozi, as a joyful herd of elephants is having a refreshing mud bath. What’s so interesting about mud baths, you might say?! Well, you’re about to find out.

4. Mountain Biker Hit by Buck

Crazy footage! Not for the faint of heart!

5. Friendly Cheetah

Did the cheetah mistake the Jeep for a termite mound? This happened in Masai Mara National Park, one of the best national parks in Africa. However on your next safari, don’t try this out.

Despite the past civil wars and unrests, that disrupted safaris to the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country is undeniably a hidden treasure. The less visits to Congo has kept the country fresh and her tourism attractions out of the crowd which make it make one of the unique tourism destination you should not miss on an African safari. Presently, peace has been restored in Democratic Republic of Congo and tourism is done successfully. The country is naturally gifted with natural forests, beautiful sceneries, lakes, rivers and hospitable people all, which make your stay an experience for a lifetime. The forests are a home to a variety of wildlife such as the mountain gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas, bonobos, and various bird species among others. The key reasons to visit democratic republic of Congo include among others:

Mountain gorillas

Democratic republic is one of the few countries, which host the inhabited mountain gorillas in the tropical rain forests of Virunga national park.  The country is believed to houses quarter of the world’s mountain gorillas while the remaining population reside in Rwanda’s volcanoes national park and Uganda, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. Gorilla trekking is the focus for most travelers to Congo and eight-gorilla families namely, Rugendo, Munyaga, Mapuwa, Lulengo, Kabirizi, Nyakamwe and Humba have been habituated for trekking. Each gorilla family is allocated to a group of eight people and an interaction lasts for an hour.  Interestingly gorilla trekking is done at a relatively low rate 450usd for a permit compared to 600usd in Uganda and 1500usd in Rwanda. Budget travelers can therefore take advantage o this and experience this memorable experience at a low rate. The less visits to Virunga National Park are an opportunity for travelers to interact with the mountain gorillas out of the crowd. Travelers are given mouth masks to ensure safety of these endangered species but the other trekking rules and regulations are similar to other gorilla destinations.

Volcano hiking

Second to mountain gorillas, volcano hiking is a must do on your safari to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The country is a home to two active volcanoes namely Nyiragongo volcano and Nyamuragira volcano both situated in the heart of the Virunga national park. Mont Nyiragongo is the most hiked volcano whose summit of the volcano is a home to the word’s largest lava lake and the views from the top during the day are surely beautiful. Travelers are allowed to stand at the edge of the lava and steer at the boiling lava in the lake with fumes of bubbling gas. The frames of fire are clearly seen at night hence requiring travelers to stay overnight at the summit to witness this memorable experience.

Nyiragongo last erupted in 2002, which led to the displacement of many people especially from the town of Goma while Nyamuragira is very active and travelers

Despite the exciting experience, climbing to the summit is strenuous and travelers must be physically fit. Wear decent walking boots, gardening gloves, hire porters and walking sticks to ease movements. Hiking begins with a simple briefing at the starting point in which travelers ate introduced to the rules and regulations in the hiking process.  Whereas the temperatures making it too hot in the hiking, the condition at the summit is a different story. It really gets cold at the top associated with wind blowing. Travelers are therefore required to carry warm sweaters and jackets, warm trousers, extra socks, thermals, hats and stockings.

Eastern lowland gorillas

Not only is DRC a home to mountain gorillas but also to the critically endangered eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega national park. Lowland gorillas are the largest gorilla specie, which is, differentiated form other species by a short muzzle, large hands and stocky body. An encounter with eastern lowland gorillas is absolutely an experience of its kind due to the endangerness of these gorilla species in that less than 3800 individuals survive in the whole world.

Garamba national park

Garzetted in 1931, Garamba national park is one of the Africa’s oldest national parks in Democratic republic of Congo situated in the   Orientale province. Garamba is an interesting tourism spot which houses the surviving population of Congo giraffe also with the hybrid elephants that are not found else where in the world hence one of the world heritage sites categorized under the IUCN.

Conclusively therefore, Democratic Republic of Congo offers it all that you desire for. Book now, travel to Congo and enjoy a unique memorable experience that cannot be got elsewhere in the world.

Are you primatologist, conservationist or trekker? Are there some facts that you know about the rare mountain gorillas or you are interested in exploring more about them.

1. Mountain Gorilla Trekking is the Number 1 Wildlife Experience

Globally, there are very few wildlife species that you can think about or dream of sparking your imaginations except striking your eyes with an elusive, dramatic group of rare mountain gorillas as they relax in the jungles. Spending an hour with these magnificent apes while on face to face encounter is such a magical encounter that comes once in a lifetime. Mountain gorillas feature as the second biggest of the all the primates that still thrive on earth and it is the last ape family that is recognized by science. Majority of gorillas thrive mainly in thick forested areas of Africa and only in southwestern Uganda (mainly in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park), northwestern Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park) and East of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (the Virunga National Park).

2. Mountain Gorillas Are Endangered

The IUCN has put the mountain gorillas off the list of Critically Endangered Animals. However, there is still need for scientists and conservationists to learn more about the life of these rare creatures on earth. About 1000 of these unique apes are now on earth and they are still listed under the IUCN Redbook as the most critically endangered species.

Despite this, mountain gorillas are still highly threatened species on earth and the most severe threat to the lives of these rare apes is mainly habitat loss due to the continued encroachment to the habitat for the fertile soils for them to cultivate. In Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC, a regional conservation program sighting the significance of keeping the virgin tropical rain forest watershed and the need to habituate some gorilla families to boost visitor exploration has resulted into increased encroachment.

3. Mountain Gorillas are the Largest Apes!

Mountain gorillas are large primates with thick trunk and broad chest and shoulders. The eyes and the ears are dwarfed by its huge head and hairless, shiny black muzzle. The grown up males develop a crown of muscle and hair which makes their heads to appear even longer. The arms are longer than the stubby legs. The fully grown male mountain gorilla grows even twice the size of the females. Males weigh about 195 kilograms and can stretch up to 150 centimeters in height while females weigh around 100 kilograms and can stretch up to 30 centimeters. They are also differentiated using their nose prints which are rare from each other.

4. Mountain Gorillas Live in Families

Mountain gorillas are very shy and retiring rather than ferocious and treacherous. They normally look no trouble unless they are irritated but still they can defend themselves in the family. Groups of these apes are close knit and can range up to 30 individuals or even smaller than that and comprises of at least one adult gorilla mainly called silverback plus one or several females and infants/juveniles. They have strong attachments to members of their own families and even when the family meets and mixes and split, each of them has to remain with its respective unit.

5. A Gorilla Family is Headed by the Silverback

A mature male gorilla is known as a silverback-the name derived from its silvery gray hairs that grow on their backs and they play a great role towards safety and protection of their family members from any kind of attacks or threats from intruders.

6. Gorillas Are Nomadic

They usually roam with a range of 10 to 15 square miles while feeding and resting the entire day. Because they are nomadic, these apes construct new nests on tree branches every day for them to sleep. In case of any attack/threat, gorillas charge against any sort of such behavior, they scream, grab foliage and stuff them in their mouths; they can stand straight on their legs, tear up and throw plants, bit their chests with hands, strike the ground with the palms of their hands and gallop in a mock attack.

7. Mountain Gorillas Are Vegetarian

These rare apes require more food and they are mainly vegetarians and their diet depends on largely wild celery, thistles, bamboo, stinging nestles, bedstraw and some fruits. The plant species that they depend on offer adequate moisture and they don’t need to overlook for water.

8. Mountain Gorilla Numbers Grow Slowly

Mountain gorillas are also known for their slow reproduction rate with females giving birth at the age of 10 and take at least 3-4 more years. The males start breeding from 12 to 15 years when they are the heads of their own families. The females can conceive for about 3 days each month and give birth to one infant at a time though they can also give birth to twins but this is on rare occasion. The newly born gorillas tend to be very weak and very small weighing at least 4 pounds. They have awkward movements and around 3 to 4 months, they can sit upright and even stand with support. They can suckle for around a year and gradually weaned for at least 3 and half years when they are independent.

9. Mountain Gorillas Have Predators

Their predators are the leopards and humans, while crocodiles are potential enemies to the Eastern lowland gorillas. Gorillas are always haunted for their meat or in retaliation for crop raiding and they have become victims of wire snares and traps that are set targeting for small antelopes and other bush animals. Poachers have also continued destroying their whole groups as way to capture their infants to take to the zoos and others are just killed for their heads and hands to be used as trophies.

In conclusion, mountain gorillas are a few rarest and dramatic primates in the world and trekking these apes while in the wild rewards visitors with magical experiences. Learn about gorillas at mygorilla.org, a resourceful about gorillas in Africa.

Is Gorilla Tourism the Best Way to Save Mountain Gorillas?

so the best way of saving the world’s endangered remaining magnificent Gorillas, is to come and see them.

Apart from Mountain Gorillas of virungas, you can visit Nyungwe forest National Park also referred to as primate world, is a home to human closest cousins the Chimpanzees, a primate safari to this park will also reward you with other primates like Olive baboons, Golden Monkeys, Black and white colobus, L’host monkeys among others. A trek into this remote rainforest will also reward you with the view of colorful birds of Rwanda.

Gorilla tourism is perhaps the main adventure that attracts thousands to Africa for holidays and leisure but its gate pass price increase has instead promoted gorilla tourism in the region than never before. This is evidenced in countries like Uganda, Congo,and Rwanda that famed to the world for great gorilla trekking experience across the globe. Mountain gorillas are the most endangered wildlife species with an estimate of around 880 remaining in the world today and living in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo and nowhere else in the universe.

Change of Gorilla Permits Prices

When Rwanda revised its gorilla permit prices for conservation purposes from $750-$1500 per a trek. Many thought the impact of tourist numbers will kill Rwanda’s gorilla tourism. However, this just turned the destination as an exceptional luxury gorilla safari destination in Africa. Do you want to track gorillas in a luxury setting, style and Comfort? Rwanda’s volcanoes national park offers the best luxury gorilla trekking tours across the world with overnight stays at Bisente lodge, Sabinyo silverback lodge,mountain gorilla view lodge and Volcanoes lodge Rwanda.

Besides, the same circumstance made Uganda and Congo the most affordable gorilla safari destinations for all kinds of travelers, luxury, midrange and Budget hence attracting thousands to Africa. Gorilla permits are on high demand year round that without prior reservation, gorilla permit availability may lead to postponing of your upcoming gorilla tour. With the many habituated gorilla families in Uganda and Congo, tourists have higher chances of finding gorilla permit availability at the time of booking. Though would recommend one to book his or her gorilla safari tour at least a month before the tracking date. Uganda gorilla permits cost $600 and Congo $400 and even go low during low season months also known as gorilla promotional months.

Gorilla Trekking Experience

Once you look into the eyes of mountain gorillas, you understand why it’s important to protect these beautiful apes from being harmed. However, tracking them in their natural environment has been made open and easy for every one not only for wealth travelers. Your gorilla trekking experience contributes a lot to gorilla conservation so long as you love these wonderful creatures. Get an experience for life by visiting Africa and explore the incredible rain forests of Virunga national park, Bwindi National Park, Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga National Park. Be one of the great heros in the gorilla protection and conservation by making it a regulation to track these rare Apes-Mountain gorillas.