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There really is no way to describe this experience that gives it justice. Even if you have hiked all over the world, you have not seen anything like the mountain gorillas. You may have had some amazing encounters with large mammals. Seen buffalo at Yellowstone? Elephants in the Serengeti? Awesome experiences without a doubt. but; in all honesty, nothing compares to trekking the mountain gorillas- our genetic kin; sharing nearly 97% of our DNA.
As of 2023, there are only slightly more than 1,000 mountain gorillas in the world, all of them in the wild. While this is up from only 600 thirty years ago, the mountain gorilla remains extremely endangered.
Yes, permits are required for all treks. Permits are available throughout the year but they can and do regularly sell out in high season. It is best to acquire permits as soon as possilbe.
The permit provides you with access to Volcanoes National Park. It includes professionally trained park rangers and guides who will ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable adventure.
The permit does not include transportation to the Gorilla Trekking Center. You will need to get transportation from the hotel to the Center. Tiloreza, at an additional cost, can arrange transportation in a comfortable four wheel drive vehicle.
Yes, you will see gorillas. You will see many gorillas; a pod (family) of anywhere form 12- 20 gorillas. Since gorillas do not travel at night, they sleep like us, the park rangers locate their nighttime nesting site and trek the gorillas from there the next day.
The treks vary in length from less than an hour one way to over three hours. It does depend upon where the gorillas decide to go- remember they are wild animals. Park rangers will try to assign trekkers to hikes suitable to the trekkers age and fittness.
In order to ensure the long-term viability of the gorillas population, all treks are limited to one hour of observation. This may be one the most memorable hours of your life. You will be able to see young apes playing with one another, mothers nursing and silverbacks overseeing their pod.
That's really the gorillas decision. The park rangers will ensure that you stay 10-15 meters away from the gorillas. However; if a gorilla gets curious they may come much closer. In such cases, you will be reminded to remain calm and still. All of the owners of Tiloreza have had a gorilla approach and even touch us!
Yes, all visitors to the gorillas or any primate area in Rwanda are required to have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the trek. This is done to ensure the health of the remaining 1000 gorillas in the world. Remember, the gorillas share over 97% of our DNA. They can catch COVID and if they do, it could be devastating to the safety of the gorillas.
A negative PCR COVID test result is required. As of 30 April 2023, you are able to be tested for free upon arrival at the Kigali airport- right after passport control and before baggage.
Make sure you tell the testers that you need the results for trekking. The test results will be available within 6 hours and will be valid for 72 hours.
If that does not work for you, we can arrange to have testing done at the hotel but that does cost $60 per person. Those results will also be available in 5-6 hours.