If you are planning to track mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park, you are advised to book with us and the Congo gorilla permits costs ($400) per person. The mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park can be visited anytime during the year, however some paths are hard to navigate during the wet seasons of (May/April and November & October), in this season, Congo gorilla trekking permits are reduced to ($350) per person.
Tracking gorillas is an extraordinary experience worthy to be taken because of the existence of the primates in Virunga National Park. These apes are charming, friendly and smart to be amongst. They are sub-divided into relational groups and carry different attributes like say the silver backs that act as the leaders, the fully developed female gorillas as the caretakers and the youthful who are only mischievous and are at all times within the trees.
A time period of 1-2 hours is said to be spent on tracking these endangered gorillas depending on where they were left the previous day. The guide at the park will take you through a brief preamble before heading into the forest for the awaited trek. He will cover the geography, history and some of the truths about the gorilla family you will be seeing. The tour guide shall also offer you guidance on ways to conduct yourself when you are with the gorillas in the forest.
Like earlier said, masks are to be put on to avoid these gorillas from getting any kind of human illness. The length of this trek is determined by the position of the gorillas. On some days it can be 20-40 minute hike from the way into the forest while on others it can take more than an hour’s walk to get to the Mountain gorillas since they are always on the go in the search of food.
Be sure to meet the gigantic chap silver back that will welcome you after it makes sure you are not a danger. After you are accepted, spend a thrilling time watching the gorillas which is truthfully a once in a life span experience. Remember you are given an hour in the forest with these Mountain Gorillas.
Relax at Lake Kivu after Congo gorilla trekking. Lake Kivu is a beautiful high altitude lake which forms the border between the Congo and Rwanda. It’s a busy lake, always alive with traders and fishermen in their dugout canoes. The drives along Lake Kivu are longish, on unmade roads, but they offer the opportunity to see rural life as it has been for centuries, virtually unchanged. It is a very scenic route and you see people at work, cultivating bananas, cassava, sorghum, beans, rice, potatoes, and even coffee in their steep and tiny fields. On visit to lake Kivu, a tourist can engage in various activities that include the following.
Lake Kivu is a fresh water body that is crocodile free, hippo free and bilharzia free. The water in lake Kivu has a cool temperature and all those who would want to cool down especially on a hot day are free to jump in the lake and relax. There are beautiful beaches along the Lake shores with fine sand where one can relax in the mild sun after having a great swim in the lake. Better swimming points can be got from the major towns of Gisenyi, Kibuye and Cyangugu.
Hiking and biking along the shores
A walk in Rwanda is always exciting and doing it on the beaches of Lake Kivu can be the best decision one can ever make. Hiking is a good exercise that can be enjoyed by tourists after a safari or those on a honeymoon. With great views of the fresh water body, a walk at the shores of lake with cool breezes from the waves will give you a remarkable and unforgettable experience.
Water trips and cruising
This can be done on local dugout canoes or using engine boats. Cruising on this fresh water body enables one to discover more of the land of a thousand hills. Excursion boat rides can be made within a few meters of the lake even while having dinner while other longer trips can be made to the major islands in the lake especially the Napoleon and Amahoro Island. Relaxing on cruises and water trips on the lake makes one somehow forget about their problems and feel home away from home.
A visit to Nyamirundi Island
This island is near Gisenyi and a lot of coffee growing and processing is done around the area. A visit to the island enables one to learn about the whole coffee growing process and get a chance to taste the locally processed and made coffee. There are also other crops grown on the island like bananas and other major food crops. The island provides beautiful views of the terraced gently sloping islands covered with coffee and banana plantations.
A visit to the Imbabazi orphanage
The orphanage was set up by the late Rosamond Carr to take care of the children who were left orphans by the terrible Rwandese genocide. Carr had lived in Rwanda for some time and was a close friend to Dian Fossey a mountain gorilla conservationist. During the genocide, the orphanage had to be moved from one place to another due to insecurity reasons however after the genocide in 1994, it was permanently moved back to Gisenyi and at that time the orphanage was a home to over 400 orphans.
The orphanage was reconstructed and well-built and today it has beautiful gardens, has a restaurant that prepares classic and standard food and also provides great views of the Virunga volcanoes in the background.
Wind surfing and other water sports
The waters of Lake Kivu have waves that support water sports activities like windsurfing, kayaking, speed boat rides and sport fishing. Wind surfing and kayaking equipment can be hired from around Gisenyi.
In conclusion, Lake Kivu is a fantastic tourists attraction, which one should not miss out while in the country. If you’re visiting for gorilla safari, this is a relaxing destination to top your adventure in Rwanda rewarding with a relaxing experience in the land of a thousand hills.