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As home to some 480 gorillas (more than half of the world’s entire gorilla population), the Virunga Mountains play host to one of the most special safari experiences on the planet.

The Volcanoes National Park, in the Rwandan section of the Virunga Mountains, is the place to head for gorilla safaris. It is a huge privilege to observe these majestic (and sadly endangered) beasties in their natural habitat. The time you'll spend with the gorillas will be well worth the somewhat strenuous trek into the mountains to see them (a basic level of fitness is advisable).

While Rwanda gorilla safaris can be done year-round, the best time to go is from December to February and June to September when it's dry season. Permits to access the park get snapped up pretty quickly; the park restricts the number of visitors per day to just one group of tourists and the required permits take some time to process so it is advisable to book at least six months in advance.

But once there, you will have the opportunity to spend a precious hour in the company of some of the most fascinating animals on earth. A silverback male gorilla can weigh in at up to 200kg but what will strike you most is their likeness to us humans in their personalities and behaviour (they do share 98% of our DNA after all).

Places to Stay in Volcanoes National Park

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