Rwanda is a landlocked East African country with a green, mountainous landscape. Its renowned Volcanoes National Park is home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. The park encompasses 4,507m-tall Mt. Karisimbi and 4 other forested volcanoes. In the southwest is Nyungwe National Park, with ancient montane rainforest that's a habitat for chimpanzees and other primates.

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Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda - Volcanoes National Park

The "Parc National de Volcans" (or PNV as it's known by locals) lies along the Virunga Mountains, with 8 ancient volcanoes, which are shared by Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Just a short two hour drive from Rwanda's capital of Kigali, the park is a central location for exploring some distinctly Rwandan experiences. While a visit to the mountain gorillas is often at the top of visitor, the dramatic landscape also offers thrilling hiking and visits to the fascinating golden monkeys.

PNV is also one of Rwanda's conservation epicenters, where many non-profit organizations base their operations. Visitors can pay homage to the legendary scientist and gorilla advocate Dian Fossey with a hike to her tomb or a visit to the Dian Fosse Gorilla Fund that continues her legacy of research and advocacy to this day.

Near the park, the bustling and vibrant markets of Musanze are a place to immerse yourself into everyday Rwandan culture. Go deep into the earth with Musanze's caves - one of the area's newest attractions.


Activities in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda

Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda

Tracking the endangered mountain gorillas on the slopes of the Virunga volcanoes is a magical experience. Hike through mountain forests to experience these gentle creatures or make your way through airy bamboo forests to find the charming Golden Monkey.

Also available is the ‘Dian Fossey Tomb Trail’ – a beautiful yet challenging hike to 3,000 meters up the slopes of Mount Bisoke or a hike to the beautiful Ngezi Crater Lake at the top.




Iby'Iwacu Cultural Village.


Located just outside the Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, this living museum highlights aspects of traditional Rwanda society. Visitors can expect to be greeted by thunderous drumming, joyful dancing, and the kind of hospitality that has permeated Rwandan society for centuries. The village features hands-on activities related to the rituals and ways of life in the ancient Rwandan kingdom. Some of Iby'Iwacu's presenters and performers were previous poachers who've now been able to make a new livelihood through this memorable, interactive stop designed for visitors of all ages. The village also offers extended trips into the countryside as well as overnight lodging that can be arranged in advance.

Rwanda Gorilla Tracking Safari Overview

You have to wake up early morning, meaning that you must find accommodation closer to the park entrance. Your African gorilla guide will be briefing you at 7 am about safety precautions as well as the etiquette.  There are over 80 gorilla tracking guides provided by the Rwanda Development Board, well trained and speaking English and French. Together with other members of the group, you proceed to the forest and start the hike which may be tiring depending on your physical strength. Remember they are called mountain gorillas so an element of hiking is a must. The adventure takes anything from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. The English-speaking forest guides are amazingly good, and will lead you to the specific ‘habituated’ mountain gorilla group, which certainly will be acquitted to human presence.



Rwanda Gorilla Tracking Safari Guidelines

  1. To minimize possible transmission of human diseases, visitors are asked to maintain a distance of 7m (about 22 feet) from the gorillas. If you are sick with a cold, flu or other contagious illness, please do not visit the gorillas.
  2. Viewing time is limited to one hour.
  3. Maximum 8 visitors per group.
  4. Spitting in the park is strictly prohibited.
  5. Should you need to cough, cover your mouth and turn away from the gorillas.
  6. When with the gorillas, keep your voice low.
  7. Try not to make rapid movements that may frighten the gorillas.
  8. If a gorilla should charge or vocalize at you, do not be alarmed, stand still, look away from the gorilla and follow your guide’s directions.
  9. Do not litter.

Rwanda Gorilla Tracking Families

There are seven gorilla families available for tourists with 8 tourists allowed per group:

  1. Susa—the largest group with 41 gorillas. This family is the hardest to trek as it tends to range high into the mountains but RDB Tourism & Conservation trackers will know well in advance where the group is located. The group is also well-       known for having rare 5 year old twins named Byishimo and Impano.
  2. Sabyinyo—Sabyinyo is an easily accessible group led by the powerful silverback Guhonda. There are fewer members within this family than in the other groups however they are equally impressive as a family.?
  3. Amahoro—led by the calm and easy going Ubumwe, Amahoro is made up of 17 members and means “peaceful”. To reach Amahoro one must endure a fairly steep climb however the climb is well worth it once in contact with this tranquil group.
  4. Group 13—when first habituated this group had only 13 members hence its name. Now the group has approximately 25 members, a very positive sign for conservation and the efforts put forward by RDB Tourism & Conservation to protect the gorillas’ habitat.
  5. Kwitonda—this 18-member group is led by Kwitonda which means “humble one” and has two silverbacks and one blackback. Having migrated from DRC, this group tends to range far making it a moderately difficult trek.
  6. Umubano—a family of 11, Umubano were originally Amahoro members but broke off after the dominant silverback was challenged by Charles, now the leader of Umubano. When a young silverback challenges the dominant silverback he must steal some females from the existing group in order to form his own family; thus Umubano was formed.
  7. Hirwa—this group emerged recently and was formed from different existing families, namely from Group 13 and Sabyinyo. Eventually more gorillas joined. Come witness this family continue to grow.