Rwanda – The Land of a thousand hills is one of the most outstanding places where tourists can visit for gorilla tracking. This activity is conducted from the Volcanoes National Park, situated in the North-western side of the country. Volcanoes National Park covers an area of 160 square kil0omeetrss and is about 105 kilometers west of Kigali City. This park is a home to over 300 mountain gorillas (presenting about 60% of the total population of the Mountain gorilla in the Virunga Massif and 34% of the World’s Mountain gorilla population) and there are over 10 habituated Mountain gorilla groups open for tracking. These groups include Ugenda group, Umubano, Karisimbi (Susa B), Susa A group, Agashya group (or group 13), Kwitonda, Sabinyo Group, Bwenge Gorilla Group, Hirwa Group and Amahoro Group. Other National Parks where mountain gorillas can be tracked from include Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda and Virunga National Park of Democratic Republic of Congo. Much as all these national parks or countries offer gorilla tracking adventures to tourists, the experiences of tracking are definitely different. If you yearn to achieve the most unforgettable gorilla trekking experience, then I suggest you try to track gorillas of Volcanoes National Park, although Gorilla permits are more expensive from Rwanda where permits cost $1500 per person.
Nevertheless, here are some of the reasons why you must track mountain gorillas from Rwanda’s Volcanoes National park;
Ease Access to Volcanoes National Park
If compared with the other national parks, Volcanoes National park is the easiest to access for Gorilla tracking. It is just 105 kilometers/2-3 hours drive from Kigali City to Volcanoes National Park. Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga National Parks are over8-9 hours drive from Kampala City. Virunga national park can easily be accessed from Uganda and Rwanda sides, of which are over 6 hours drive to reach the National Park. This implies that a tourist can track mountain gorillas from Volcanoes and even go back home the same day. This makes it cheaper in the long run.
Vegetation is not very thick like it is for the other national Park
The Mountain gorillas of Rwanda mainly inhabit the bamboo forests of Volcanoes National Park. This is of advantage because it offers the best background fro taking photographs than it is for Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks that are characterized by thick vegetation. This is not only good in terms of taking photographs but also during hiking/tracking where the trails are abit clear than with thicker vegetation.
Less strenuous to hike through Volcanoes National park
The fact that the Mountain gorillas of Volcanoes inhabit the bamboo zone, it also means that the area is not of a high elevation than it is for Mountain gorillas in Mgahinga national Park and Bwindi National Park that inhabit areas of higher elevation. This makes it less strenuous to hike. Not only that, most of Bwindi’s terrain is made up of rugged vegetation especially the Southern sectors of Nkuringo and Rushaga that are the most strenuous places to track gorillas in the whole of Africa.
Other exceptional activities within Volcanoes National Park
Where else can you hike to the Peaks of the highest Mountain in the Virunga Massif-Mount Karisimbi if not just from Volcanoes National Park? You can also trek to the Dain Fossey grave which is only done within this extraordinary National Parks. Other interesting activities within Volcanoes National park include Golden Monkey tracking, visit to the Twin Lakes of Ruhondo and Bulera, and you can relax within Lake Kivu after the tiring gorilla trekking adventure.
Much as the price of gorilla permits is higher in Rwanda than it is for the other National parks where mountain gorillas can be tracked from this park is just two hours’ drive from Kigali City, is considered less strenuous to hike than Bwindi Impenetrable National park and the vegetation is n0t very thick as it is with other national Parks. These are the reasons who this park is a must visit for gorilla tracking.