Planning an African safari that will include the famous gorilla trekking in Rwanda is a big challenge for families, or parents that will be traveling with children/kids. This is because the gorilla trekking in Rwanda has an age limit, that is, only persons aged 16 years and above can do the trek. There is no exception as long as an individual is not aged 16 years and above, she or he would not be allowed to track the gorillas in Rwanda.
One may ask, why are children not allowed to participate gorilla trekking in Rwanda?
Children (below 16 years) are not allowed to go tracking the gorillas for reasons such as;
- they may not have the physical energy to climb the mountains. The trek can be physically demanding as it can take many hours or even a full day of climbing the mountains to find the gorillas.
- children are susceptible to communicable diseases such as cough which can easily spread to the gorillas, and
- there is also the fear that children do not have the maturity to remain calm or behave appropriately around the gorillas in situations when the gorillas become agitated or moody. Children may also not have the discipline to adhere to the trekking rules…because kids are kids!
So, parents who will be traveling with their children are always concerned about what their kids will be doing when they (parents) are away for a full day trekking in the mountains to see the gorillas.
Some parents want an activity the kids will enjoy to compensate for missing out on the exciting gorilla adventure. Other parents are concerned about who will manage or take care of their children in their absence and if they can trust those people.
In this article I discuss what options are available for children when adults are tracking gorillas in Rwanda.
Nature walk in Buhanga forest
Buhanga forest is a small patch of forest not very far from the Virunga mountains in Musanze district. The forest has a huge cultural and historical significancy to Rwanda. It is said to hold the origins of the nation Rwanda. The forest provides a nice nature walk through several species of trees. A child, say 10 years old and more, can learn so much from the nature walk including the different types of trees, birds, geography of the area and also the historical traditions attached to the forest. The walking trail also goes through a cave which offers a nice ancient experience.
Village walk near the park
A child can be taken for a guided walk in the village to see rural Rwanda and learn how other people live, see gardens and about how different crops are grown, etc…
Biking in the villages
For biking enthusiasts, bikes are available even for kids as young as 10 and can go on a guided biking adventure through Musanze to the villages and enjoy the views of the rolling landscape. Neat village paths and paved roads that are safe are available in Musanze. One can take a biking trip to the twin lakes, Mukungwa river or a wetland.
Play kids games at the lodge
Kids can be kept busy at the lodge by engaging in kids’ games, painting and drawing challenges. Most upmarket lodges do have these options available to kids.