Rwanda Gorilla Trek

I arrived early in morning at the headquarters of the Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park. All gorilla treks in Rwanda start here. The skies were overcast with the cold chill of rain in the air. Sunlight was peaking around the tops of the mountains that border Uganda. The park service welcomes trekkers with hot coffee and beating drums. The cultural dancers entertained us while permits and paperwork were checked. 

As the dancers leave, tour guides negotiate a gorilla group, hoping to get the one you prefer. We wait anxiously almost in silence as the negotiations continue.

The golden monkey treks are selected first.  As the gorilla trekkers are assigned a group they meet their guide waiting near a sign with their groups family name.

Your tour guide drivers you and your gorilla trek guide to the closest point to start your trek. There you can hire a porter yo carry your bag. Park rangers enter the park early in the morning to find the gorilla family. The trek starts by walking thru farmlands. The park itself is surrounded by a stone wall where you meet up with park rangers. When you cross thru the wall you leave the open farmlands to a dense jungle. For the first couple of hours you are following trails but then you go off trail to find the gorilla family. The rangers carve away thru the tick jungle with their machetes. Long vines occasionally snag your feet. The porters help you thru the thick jungle while pointing out the dreaded stinging nettles.