Budget Gorilla Trekking Rwanda
Rwanda Gorilla trekking Budget safaris
This is also an effort aimed at giving advice on how to view the mountain gorillas with in Volcanoes National park of Rwanda especially when you want to have it as cheap as possible. Viewing of the mountain gorillas is also an incredible experience for a lifetime and you should not miss it even though back packing on a budget slot is the last option. You can save some money, borrow but don’t miss!
Most of the back packers always chose to trek these endangered species in Uganda during the low season permit period. I decided to choose Rwanda since I thought gorilla trekking would also be nicer and the jungle where the gorillas are located is a fantastic place. There are also some comparisons that are found online and can be goggled. The other place with cheaper gorilla permits is the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Many of the people always buy very expensive tour packages which include the price of the permit, transport from Kigali city and getting back, the transport to the national park and the gorilla trails as well as meals. Some of these package deals go at $1300 and higher depending on the choice of the accommodation facility.
Hiring A Car from Kigali
Apart from having a permit, the other important requirement is to have a 4 wheel vehicle and a driver. This car is also used to transfer you from Kigali to the park entrance and from the entrance to the real starting of the trek. In case you book a car the past day through the area where you are staying, it will only cost you $150 per day for the car and the driver. You can hire a car in Kigali Rwanda
Choosing a tour operator or not?
Some tourists prefer the DIY book the permit, lodges and then jump to the bus! The problem with this is, some destinations do not have road signs, u also need to have local knowledge about the lodges and hotels, remember this is Africa! you wont find all the advise and information on google or tripadvisor. You could also miss out on your outbound flights due to trouble navigating around the roads and places. Its important to have your budget safari rwanda booked through a recognized tour operator. Here is a list of the best companies.
Acquiring the gorilla permit
Trekking the mountain gorillas requires a gorilla safaris permit and these permits are bought in advance. The gorilla permit in Rwanda costs $1500 per person and these are valid for one day. These can be bought from Rwanda Development Board (RDB)
In case you are worried about the permits getting over, you can send an email and ask for the availability. I did this and got instant response with great English. At first, I asked in December 2015a and I received a reply saying that there was over 50 permits available each and every day for the two weeks of February 2016 when I would have visited Rwanda. This looked a long way from what the operators will inform you about and this is a reserve in advance. I would also make an addition that by end of February would be considered a low season and since I was to travel alone, I would have flexibility.
Rwanda Development Board is also situated in one of the main intersections outside the center of the city. This is also a walking distance from the Discover Rwanda Youth Hostel where many of the back packers stay. This is from 16 dollars. At Rwanda Development Board offices, you will also walk through the security check and you will then ask for the gorilla permits. These also will accept visa cards without adding any extra service charge on top of the $ 750. You should always carry your passport with you.
Choice of Accommodation
The Amahoro Guest House is also about $20 per person per night and $30 for a single person. This can also be booked through Amahoro tours and google it for up to date phone and email.The other budget accommodation is Kinigi Guest House.
The Gorilla Hike and Park Entrance
These instructions are always at park entrance by 7: 00am and there you will show your own permit as well as a passport at the reception. The other tourists will be arriving between 7 and 8 and by this time, there is tea and coffee that is available and also a good chance to have breakfast in case you brought yours. You will also have some cultural groups to entertain you. The guide will then divide you into groups. One group of travelers per group of mountain gorillas. Few people are better since it will be easy to take photos and also getting closer to the gorillas. In case you want a specific gorilla group that you want to see, you can inform the reception or the guide in advance.
Just at the start of the hike, you can get the porters in case you have got heavy bags that you don’t want to carry. These also help in giving support for the community rather than offering a needed service. These porters are also ex- poachers who will have an opportunity of getting some income. I also got hard time with the argument since I mostly like my bag very much accessible with the camera. It’s also known that 5% of the permit money goes directly to the community. I decided to give then a few francs as much extra support rather than having someone carry my bag.
The real hike was so fantastic than what I thought, the landscape here is so wonderful and the back ground with the volcanoes that is so impressive. You will also walk through the bamboo forest and get a chance to view the elephants, buffaloes as well as birds. There are also many stinging nettles and seem to go through the clothing, expect the water proof garments. But the burning sensation will only last for a few minutes. Just at the start of this hike, the trackers who leave 1 hour earlier than those that had not yet found the gorillas and this is so common. They saw and found them so quickly and before we also knew it we had walked into the jungle with the gorillas on the sides relaxing and eating. There will also be armed guards that will walk with you for protection from the charging elephants, poachers as well as buffaloes. Some of these guides will stay near the mountain gorillas the whole day
You will also get one hour to be close to the gorillas and then you have to retreat. I might not get into the main details of this one hour, but I have to say that I had the best traveling adventure in my whole life.