Mountain gorillas (Gorilla Gorilla Berengie) are the world’s critically endangered ape species. These are only thriving in small protected and conserved afro Montane forests of Volcanoes national park located in northwest Rwanda, Bwindi Impenetrable national park, Mgahinga Gorilla park and the Virunga National Park in eastern DRC. The mountain gorilla is one of many species unique to these forests.
Hidden high among the forested, hilly areas of volcanoes national park in Rwanda, the mountain gorilla was not famous to the world until 1902, when two were first encountered by a German explorer who was on his hiking safari to Rwanda’s Karimbi and Visoke Mountain perfectly located in the heart of Volcanoes national Park. It set the starting point for the relationship. For much of the time since, due to deforestation and poaching, it has seemed that the mountain gorilla was swiftly destined to be lost to the world again. Not long after the species’ greatest champion, the American zoologist Dian Fossey was killed in Rwanda in 1985-there were fewer than 300 of the giant primates left in the wild.
Currently, 480 Mountain Gorillas representing half of remaining 880 mountain gorillas thrive in the Virunga Mountains of central Africa –distributed in three national parks of Volcanoes in Rwanda, Virunga national park in Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla Park in south western Uganda.
Mountain gorillas in Volcanoes national park can climb trees, but most of times they are seen on the ground moving in social communities of 25- 30 individuals. These groups are organized according to engrossing or enchanting social structures. Gorilla Troops/families are led by one dominant male gorilla called a silverback because of the swath of silver hair that adorns his otherwise dark fur. Troops/groups also include various other young males, some females, and their offspring. The leader organizes troop/family activities like eating, nesting in leaves, and moving about the group’s 0.75-to-16-square-mile (2-to-40-square-kilometer) home range. Mountain gorillas have longer hair and shorter arms than their lowland cousins. They also tend to be a bit larger than other gorillas.
For visitors planning safari to the land of thousand hills, one should not miss out on the fascinating chance to visit Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park consisting of 125Sqaure Kilometres of mountain forest and home to the six Virunga Volcanoes as well as the world famous mountain gorillas. The lushly forested slopes of the mountains form an appropriately dramatic natural setting for what is undeniably the main poignant and memorable wildlife experience in the world: gorilla trekking.
The thrilling climb to the gorilla’s natural habitat of shady bamboo forest provides fantastic views in all parts, before the trekkers are immersed in the mysterious intimacy of the rainforest, alive with the calls of colorful birds and the chattering of rare golden monkeys. Nothing can prepare one for the impact of encountering a fully-grown silverback gorilla, up to three times the size of an average man, yet remarkably peaceable and tolerant of human visitors.
More Information about the Park
- Mountain Gorilla Trekking
- Hiking in the Volcanoes
- Iby'ichu cultural center
- Golden monkey trekking
- Dian Fossey Tomb Tour