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Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Kids! www.minitravellers.co.uk
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Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Kids!

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One of the most amazing things I have ever done is Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda – it was quite simply INCREDIBLE.

When we decided to head out to Rwanda to take part in the Friends of Rwandan Rugby tourists tour we knew we wanted to try and see the gorillas if we possibly could!  Rwanda is one of three neighbouring countries in Africa where you can see mountain gorillas in the wild—the other two being Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The difficulty for families is that children can’t visit the gorillas until they are 15 so we needed a plan.

Options for Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda if you have Kids

Our final plan was for one of the team who work for Friends of Rwandan Rugby to come up with us to Musanze after spending a week with us and the girls on the rugby trip. We were lucky in this I know and allowed our Gorilla Trekking plan to progress. It isn’t however an option that is available for most people.

Option one: Stay in a hotel near the gorillas that offer to look after the kids.  Many of the 5* Hotels close to the gorillas do offer this.

Option two: Stay for two nights and see the gorillas on separate days.  One of the things you can do with the kids whilst you are there is canoeing with Kingfisher Safaris so the kids don’t have two days at the hotel whilst you see the gorillas.  We did this and it was a lot of fun (review to follow!)

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Kids! www.minitravellers.co.uk

Where to Stay if you are Gorilla Trekking!

There are many many places to stay near the Gorillas and naturally most have Gorilla in their name. The prices range dramatically too! We stayed at the fantastic Villa Gorilla which is a mid priced hotel in the area and if you are taking the kids and staying two nights to see the gorillas I can highly recommend staying here in the Family Lodge (below).  Full review to follow.

Villa Gorilla is more on the basic side than the luxurious, but the staff are wonderful and the views of the mountains superb.  I just loved eating our meals outside.

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Kids! www.minitravellers.co.uk

On the Day of Gorilla Trekking!

It’s a 6am start for gorilla trekking.  We asked our guide Jimmy to ask for a closer gorilla group if possible so we wouldn’t be away from the kids for too long.  They do the gorilla group assignments just before the trek, and divide people up based on requests, physical fitness and which groups they may have seen already that week.  We met a family who were on their fourth day of trekking to see the gorillas and they had been fortunate enough to see a different group each day.  The central meeting point is a hive of activity and incredibly well organised.  Clean toilets, coffee to be had and a place to wait if it’s wet.

We were allocated the Sabinyo family of gorillas, there are 12 of them and it included the youngest and oldest gorillas on the Rwandan side of the mountain.   It is also the closest family and we were advised that the trek shouldn’t be much longer than an hour.  It could be – as the family may move, but we had a good chance of it being around an hour to locate them.

After you are allocated your group you get back in the car with your driver and you are driven to the start of the trek. Everyone heads of in different directions to start their own journey into the mountains. The trek is steep but we were lucky that there was no rain and the weather was cool but not cold.  I certainly didn’t need all my layers. * If you want to see what I wore take a look at this post! We had followed the recommendation to pay for a porter to join us on the trek (putting some valuable resources back into the local community) and I’m glad we had.  The trek was muddy and overgrown despite the porters hacking the undergrowth away with their machetes.  I’m very thankful to have brought decent hiking boots,  and worn the gators that the hotel provided.

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Kids! www.minitravellers.co.uk

After an hour we arrived at the gorillas. We were given a pep talk about what to do if the gorillas wanted to get close to us (a very necessary chat as it turn out when you see the video below) and then it was time for our hour.  A very precious hour. Time seemed to stand still but race at the same time. I think I may have held my breath for most of the time. I couldn’t believe we were so close and that they were so content.

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Kids! www.minitravellers.co.uk

These photos and the video below show just how close were were and how incredibly moving the whole experience was.  It’s expensive (now even more so, with a price increase to $1500 per person) but for a once in a lifetime experience I can’t think of anything else that hits the mark!

If you can make it work, I can’t recommend it highly enough! For further information do get in touch with Kat at World Fusion Tours and tell her I sent you. She will definitely look after you making this incredible experience even more superb.

If you’re in Rwanda doing the Gorilla Trekking you should also look into the Nyungwe Canopy Walk  I am so very sad we missed it.

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Kids! www.minitravellers.co.uk

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Kids! www.minitravellers.co.uk

 

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Kids! www.minitravellers.co.uk

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Kids! www.minitravellers.co.uk

orilla Trekking in Rwanda and Kids! www.minitravellers.co.uk

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Kids! www.minitravellers.co.uk

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Kids! www.minitravellers.co.uk

 

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30 Comments

  • Reply
    Donna
    16th July 2017 at 11:45 am

    I can’t get over what an amazing experience this trip must have been for you all – especially the children! x

    • Reply
      Mini Travellers
      16th July 2017 at 8:12 pm

      thank you

  • Reply
    David
    16th July 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Such a fantastic post! Having watched some documentaries on the gorillas, it’s refreshing to hear more positive stories. I would love to do this, I just need an excuse to go to Rwanda now!

  • Reply
    Wandermust mummy
    17th July 2017 at 7:22 am

    We loved gorilla trekking and would love to take my little one when she’s old enough

  • Reply
    Baby Loves Travel
    17th July 2017 at 8:23 am

    Interesting to know that kids can trek to see the gorillas once they are 15, thanks #MondayEscapes

  • Reply
    Coral-Way too much luggage
    17th July 2017 at 8:51 am

    What an amazing experience for you , brilliant photos. Gorillas are so fascinating to watch , how wonderful you had such a close up encounter. #Mondayescapes

  • Reply
    Nicky Williams
    17th July 2017 at 9:36 am

    What an amazing experience and so special in that you got to experience it as a family. This is something that is definitely on our bucket list. Amazing!

  • Reply
    Jules ( Bebevoyage.com)
    17th July 2017 at 11:00 am

    Dream holiday right there. We parked the idea as our kids are too little, but maybe we should reconsider #MondayEscapes

  • Reply
    Jenny (The Little Adventurer)
    17th July 2017 at 1:59 pm

    What great advice for those of us with young families – and what beautiful photographs! It must have been a truly amazing experience. #MondayEscapes

  • Reply
    jo
    17th July 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Fabulous pictures. I enjoyed following your trip when you were there and the film of the gorilla brushing past – i might have wet my pants if I was you -I’m not that brave! A once in a lifetime experience! #MondayEscapes

  • Reply
    Keri | Ladies What Travel
    17th July 2017 at 2:58 pm

    WOW!!!! I got goosebumps watching your video – that silverback!!
    I think you may have helped me decide what to do for my 40th next year… 😉 #MondayEscapes

  • Reply
    TraveLynn Family - Jenny
    17th July 2017 at 4:10 pm

    What an absolutely incredible experience. Seeing mountain gorillas in the wild has been very high on my bucket list for too long. Such a shame the kids can’t go too, but completely understand. Were the girls ok about not going? #MondayEscapes

    • Reply
      Mini Travellers
      18th July 2017 at 12:56 pm

      yes they were I think they would have been frightened to see them so close up

  • Reply
    Allison
    17th July 2017 at 8:32 pm

    What an incredible experience! The picture of the baby gorilla is so cute! #MondayEscapes

  • Reply
    Annabel
    17th July 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Wow, impressive video! I didn’t realise you could see the gorillas with just an hour of trekking involved. I hope the hefty price tag gets pooled back into the community successfully. #Mondayescapes

  • Reply
    babyfoote
    17th July 2017 at 9:10 pm

    Amazing experience!

    That gorilla needs to find a toothbrush 🙂

    A once in a lifetime Monday escape!

  • Reply
    beatravelling
    17th July 2017 at 9:48 pm

    This I have been considering for a while. Thought it was going to happen on my second trip to (Sub-Saharan) Africa, but looks like it will have to wait for my third trip 🙂

  • Reply
    Katherine
    18th July 2017 at 12:25 am

    Their facial expressions are amazing! Like they’re hamming it up for the camera. What a truly awesome experience. I could sit here looking at this photos all day! #MondayEscapes

  • Reply
    Ruth | Tanama Tales
    18th July 2017 at 1:46 am

    This is so incredible! When you are so close to wildlife like that you feel like never leaving. In some way, the gorillas remind me of the gray whales (which I went to see in their birthing grounds in Mexico). They know they are being observed and they start to show off. It is fantastic how they connect to human beings. #MondayEscapes

  • Reply
    Shelley
    18th July 2017 at 10:33 am

    Absolutely incredible! This is definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Pricey, but worth it I’m sure. And now I feel like we should’ve done it back in 2012 when we were on safari in Tanzania – little side trip to Rwanda, I think at that time, it was about half the price… #mondayescapes

  • Reply
    Ariana
    18th July 2017 at 3:42 pm

    totally useful post for parents who want to go to the gorillas! Thanks so much. From #MondayEscapes

  • Reply
    Catherine's Cultural Wednesdays
    18th July 2017 at 10:19 pm

    Wow! You will have to take the children back when they are 15, #MondayEscapes

  • Reply
    Lisa (Travel Loving Family)
    19th July 2017 at 9:13 am

    I cannot believe how close you got to them Karen! What an incredible experience. Would you return when your kids are old enough to join you?

    • Reply
      Mini Travellers
      19th July 2017 at 9:46 am

      in a heratbeat

  • Reply
    Helen
    19th July 2017 at 11:59 am

    Option 3: wait till your kids are 15 and then go, because they might not forgive you if you go without them – is definitely my best option here! My two – but especially my youngest – would absolutely love this trip. In fact, I’m going to pin it to my personal bucket list private board, because I do NOT want to forget. I saw your video, and I really couldn’t believe how close you were – just amazing! My son is desperate to take over from David Attenborough, and keeps asking me when he’ll be old enough for us to take him on safari. I’m thinking it will be how we get them both to go on holiday with us when they might rather be in Ibiza with their mates!

    • Reply
      Mini Travellers
      19th July 2017 at 1:45 pm

      At the age yours are now I definitely think option 3, it is THE most wonderful experience I have ever had!

  • Reply
    Clare M
    19th July 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Wow amazing trip what an incredible memory to have. I’d better get saving! #MondayEscapes

  • Reply
    Claire at Tin Box Traveller
    20th July 2017 at 10:41 pm

    I love this video – I may have watched it a few times! The little one looks so carefree. This is a really handy post for any wanting to do the same trip. Great pictures too Karen!

  • Reply
    Travelling With Our Kids
    21st July 2017 at 9:21 pm

    What a once in a life time experience it must have been! Wow the pictures are stunning too! #MondayEscapes

  • Reply
    Jo - Mother of Teenagers
    24th July 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Oh wow what a totally amazing experience. I think I would have been terrified and excited in equal measure. It is definitely one of those once in a lifetime opportunities and great that you have the video to remind you. Am totally inspired. #MondayEscapes.

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