After our wildlife safari in Tanzania we transferred to Rwanda for our unforgettable Budget Rwanda gorilla trekking experience and  upon arrival at the Kigali airport our guide from Gorilla Expeditions was steadily waiting for us at the arrival lounge, thereafter we had to embark our safari truck and transfer to volcanoes and we reached our destination, a visitor center in the Volcanoes National Park, around 7 a.m. in the morning (we had left Kigali at 4:30 a.m. that morning) and then waited to receive our briefing before starting our gorilla trek. We were one of the first groups to arrive. While we waited for our briefing and to be assigned a gorilla family group, there was a table with complimentary coffee. As the time progressed, more and more people arrived.

Rwanda Gorilla Safari

Go Gorilla Trekking Holidays in Rwanda

Around 8 a.m., we were assigned to our trekking group that had two guides. There were 8 people per group for 9 gorilla families. We were given our briefing before leaving the visitor center. They explained the process and rules to us upon reaching the gorilla family. We were to be quiet and were not allowed to make any sudden movements. We were also told we were allowed to take as many pictures as our hearts desired once we came across the gorillas, but were absolutely prohibited from using the flash as the flash scares the gorillas. We were also given a picture of the gorilla family we were assigned, the Umubano family.

After receiving our briefing, we drove to the start of our trek. We lost the paved roads on the road to start the trek. If I remember correctly, the drive from the visitor center at the Volcanoes National Park to the start of the hike took approximately 40 minutes because the road was so uneven and extremely bumpy, which made it all the more exciting. They call it the “African Massage”.

We started the trek with 6 others at 9 a.m. The surrounding area was beautiful. As soon as we started reaching even a little bit of height, the views became even more stunning. We climbed steep up the mountain for 2 hours and the trackers who find the gorillas each day and then stay with them all day still hadn’t found them. Some members of our group were having a difficult time with the hike. It was more challenging than they had anticipated.

The other members of our group brought thick gloves with them as the bushes in some areas were very sharp and prickly. I hadn’t realized I was supposed to bring thick gloves so I raised my hands above my head in these areas. If I ever make it back to visit the gorillas, I will bring the proper gloves.

As the time continued, Mike and I grew more and more worried that the trackers would never find the gorillas and we would never be able to see them. Our fears subsided when they turned us all around and started us in a completely different direction up a completely different mountain to find a completely different family of gorillas. Two members of our group who were struggling with the trek stayed behind. Our guide told us this is the second time in two years he had guided a tour that couldn’t find the family. We were told the trackers ended up finding our originally designated family of gorillas 30 minutes after we turned around in the opposite direction, but that the family was extremely far away.