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Home of the Mountain Gorillas

Rwanda is one of only a handful of countries that are able to offer one of the world's most amazing wildlife experiences - the chance to look into the eyes of a large silverback gorilla in the wild.

The Parc National des Volcans in the Virunga Mountains, north-western Rwanda, is home to about a dozen families of mountain gorillas that can be seen by visitors on a gorilla trekking safari. Numbers are strictly limited to 8 visitors per day for each family group of gorillas, so this is an exclusive trip in the truest sense of the word, and there are a number of facts that first-time visitors should be aware of when thinking about gorilla trekking in Rwanda:

The permits to visit the gorillas cost $1,500 per person for each day that you wish to track them - this is in addition to the cost of your accommodation, food, transport and guides in the Park. This may seem very expensive at first glance, however these funds are essential protect both the gorillas and the environment by making the park economically viable.

In order to find the gorillas, you may have to walk for up to 8 hours including negotiating some steep hills, so you need to have a reasonable degree of fitness. Sometimes the gorillas are much lower down the mountains and closer to the lodges (especially in the rainy months of April, May, and November) - and at these times you may only have a short 30 minute walk to find them, but it is best to be prepared for a longer walk as this is the norm.

Whilst gorilla tracking can be done all year round, the best (and most popular) months are during the drier seasons: between December and February, and from about June to mid-September.

When you find the gorillas, you will have about an hour with them.