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Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Kids!

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!

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!

It’s a 6am start for 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.

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

 

Mini Travellers

Mini Travellers

Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

28 Comments

  1. July 16, 2017 at 11:45 am — Reply

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

  2. July 16, 2017 at 9:33 pm — Reply

    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!

  3. July 17, 2017 at 7:22 am — Reply

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

  4. July 17, 2017 at 8:23 am — Reply

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

  5. July 17, 2017 at 8:51 am — Reply

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

  6. July 17, 2017 at 9:36 am — Reply

    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!

  7. July 17, 2017 at 11:00 am — Reply

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

  8. July 17, 2017 at 1:59 pm — Reply

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

  9. July 17, 2017 at 2:57 pm — Reply

    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

  10. July 17, 2017 at 2:58 pm — Reply

    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

  11. July 17, 2017 at 4:10 pm — Reply

    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

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

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

  12. July 17, 2017 at 8:32 pm — Reply

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

  13. July 17, 2017 at 9:08 pm — Reply

    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

  14. July 17, 2017 at 9:10 pm — Reply

    Amazing experience!

    That gorilla needs to find a toothbrush 🙂

    A once in a lifetime Monday escape!

  15. July 17, 2017 at 9:48 pm — Reply

    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 🙂

  16. July 18, 2017 at 12:25 am — Reply

    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

  17. July 18, 2017 at 1:46 am — Reply

    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

  18. July 18, 2017 at 10:33 am — Reply

    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

  19. July 18, 2017 at 3:42 pm — Reply

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

  20. July 18, 2017 at 10:19 pm — Reply

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

  21. July 19, 2017 at 9:13 am — Reply

    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?

  22. July 19, 2017 at 11:59 am — Reply

    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!

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

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

  23. July 19, 2017 at 7:25 pm — Reply

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

  24. July 20, 2017 at 10:41 pm — Reply

    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!

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