In order to see the mountain gorillas, you need to buy a permit in advance of your visit from the Rwanda Tourism Board. Currently gorilla permits cost $750USD a person and this price is susceptible to change any time and it’s what allows you to spend an hour with a gorilla group.
There are about 10 habituated gorillas groups ranging in size from less than 10 individuals to over 40 open to tourists on the Rwandan side of the park. Each gorilla group is only exposed to a maximum of tourists for one hour each day. That means that less than 100 people get permits each day. However, children below the age of 15 cannot go gorilla tracking.
On the day of your gorilla tracking, you meet at the Volcanoes National Park headquarters at around 7am and enjoy a traditional Intore dance performance while sipping much-needed coffee. Then you get assigned your gorilla group and a guide, based on your fitness level. You can opt for a short hike (which can range from 30 minutes to an hour), a medium one (anything from one hour to three hours) or a long one to the large Susa group, which can take the whole day. Your guide will be in contact with trackers in the park who know pretty much where each gorilla group is – so each morning they have a good idea of all the gorillas’ whereabouts. You then head off into the park with your guide, ready to have what will probably be the most amazing wildlife experience of your life.