When planning to have the best African adventure go for the mountain gorilla trekking to see the Gorillas was one of the best experiences I have ever had, if not the best! First, let me say that was in part due to the tour company we used out of Musanze, Rwanda; Rwanda Safaris, he set us up with Billy, a great guide, who made sure we were on the right trek to see one of the biggest gorilla families on the mountain. We later found out other trekkers were not nearly as fortunate. Besides the gorilla trek we also trekked to see the rare golden monkeys, also arranged by Amahoro, another amazing day of being on these beautiful mountains. As you hike up to the jungle the Rwandan people are faming their terraced land and waving and smiling and greeting us. Wonderful people, amazing trip…can’t wait to go back!
The trekking experience was good, yet it is advisable to stay there and plan your trip early in the morning so that there are better chances for sighting Gorillas. The two lone nearby lodging facilities are extremely expensive and would suggest to stay in the nearby city and come early in the morning. The guides are very hospitable and good, one of the best experiences.
Getting here was a long-time dream come try and it did not disappoint. You meet at the park station around 7:00am (they serve coffee and tea) as they put on a local drum and dance performance. After you are put in groups of 8 and together with 2 guides and a host of trackers you head off to the forest. Depending on your group it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 or 4 hours to find the group of gorillas you have been selected to visit. We were lucky and our group spent 10 minutes walking through a field before climbing a stone wall right into a group of 26 (mostly young) gorillas playing! You get 1 hour once you find them which either goes by fast or slow depending upon how excited or nervous you are standing so close to them
It is actually harder than it looks to get a good photo due to the overhead darkness and/ or the movement of the gorillas.
Don’t think about the cost for the gorillas permit. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you don’t want to miss – especially if you are anywhere in the area.
Tip: everyone wonders about what to wear. The local guides put on water-proof pants and some wore gloves. Most of my group wore gaiters while I just pulled my socks up over my pants. I had no problems at all. If it looks like rain you should wear a proper jacket. You are not allowed to bring anything into the park with you except for a camera. You will hire a porter to carry your day pack to the area just before finding the gorillas. The fee is minimal.