Visiting the gorillas in Rwanda is a must. If you’re looking for an experience of a lifetime, this is it. We went on a Rwanda safari in Oct 2013 and we didn’t want to leave. We trekked with the Gorillas for two days and the Golden Monkeys one day. With Gorillas, we visited the Amahoro family on the first day which is one of the largest. It has 5 silverback gorillas and closes to 20 total gorillas.
The trek to find them was about 90 minutes, a medium level hike. The second day we visited the Agasha family, what a joy they were. A very friendly and playful family. The trek to find them was just over an hr. We couldn’t imagine anything better for each day, as both were awe-inspiring, emotional, and full of joy. It truly is an amazing experience and well worth the money. The guides, porters, and trackers are excellent at what they do and make the experience even better.
I was anxious about getting a permit before we left so arranged one well in advance but when I was there I noted that it was possible to get them at relatively short notice so while it is always sensible to get them in advance if you are traveling on spec don’t give up the chance of seeing them at short notice. I know some people went trekking for a couple of days but one day was fine as it is so expensive and you are almost certain of a sighting.
Try and see a bit of Rwanda as well as it is a lovely place with happy helpful people. I would suggest the genocide museum in Kigali and maybe Lake Kivu which is less than two hours from the gorillas. I would advise going with an established firm; we traveled with Volcano Safari and they were very good, but you hear some horror stories as detailed in some of the reviews about Rwanda and further afield.
It is run by an excellent organization who knows how to treat the tourists and give them an excellent experience. The landscape that you trek through is amazing as well, as you see volcanoes, local farming, and local people working. Do yourself a favor, and explore an opportunity like no other.