The majority of gorillas remaining on earth live in the mystical Virunga Mountains, a chain of volcanoes in Africa bordering Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. The Virunga National Park is one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet and home to the world's critically endangered mountain gorillas.
The mountains cover a great diversity of habitats, from savannas and lava plains, to swamps and montane forests, and of course the volcanoes! The gorillas live in the protected Montane Forest, so treks to see them are at high altitude, through thick vegetation and muddy slopes. Although an incredibly rewarding challenge, this is not a holiday for unfit travellers! It's more like a ‘put your Bear Grylls boots on’ holiday! Due to the rainy climate all year round, there is not a particular time of year to avoid travel here. The months with the heaviest rain are April, May and November.
Our most favourite spots for rewarding encounters with these truly amazing beasts in Rwanda are Virunga Lodge, a small, eco friendly lodge with incredible views of the volcanoes and lakes. In geographical contrast, Sabinyo Silverback, a luxury lodge positioned at the foothills of the volcano chain in the forests. Both are excellent gorilla trekking bases!
Caroline's Hot Tips
Make use of a local porter to assist you with the trek.
Don’t spend all your time behind your camera! Seeing the gorillas up close is an extraordinary experience!
Allow for two days of gorilla trekking if your budget allows it.
Book and secure your trek in advance as limited number of permits are allocated each day.
Ensure you are physically fit as some treks may last several hours, but don't let it put you off!