When you arrive at the Kigali International Airport your guide is there to welcome you to Rwanda. If your flight lands early enough in the day, then your guide can take you to Kigali for a city tour. This modern city is rated as one of the cleanest in Africa, featuring a car-free zone in its central business district. The well-maintained city of Kigali is also one of the safest on the continent.
From Kigali we travel north to Ruhengeri and the foothills of the Virunga Massif. Our well-established hotel is located in the middle of Ruhengeri (now called Musanze). Located near the headquarters of Volcanoes National Park in Kinigi village, the city of Musanze is the most popular base for gorilla trekking safaris in the park.
Tonight we relax at the historic hotel and prepare for our unforgettable mountain gorilla trek tomorrow.
Meals included: Lunch & Dinner.
Day 2: Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park – Rwanda
This morning we have an early breakfast at the hotel in Ruhengeri and head to the park headquarters in nearby Kinigi. Arriving at the administrative centre your guide takes care of the formalities and the park rangers brief you on the gorilla trek ahead. After the briefing you set off into the park in groups of eight, with your rangers leading the way. As you walk through the dense afro-montane forests on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains, you encounter all kinds of exotic animals and plants, including many rare and endangered species. Keep an eye out for various primates, antelopes, insects, small animals and the wide variety of birds found here. Volcanoes Park hosts ten gorilla groups that can be visited – the most groups of habituated gorillas on the planet. We walk at a slow pace, stopping for breaks, if necessary. The trek can take anything from half an hour up to seven hours, depending on where your gorilla group is located. Trekking can be arduous, especially if your route takes in steep slopes. The rainy seasons are generally more challenging periods for trekking (April to May and November), but the gorillas tend to descend to the lower mountain slopes during the rains.
Once we reach our group of gorillas we stop and spend time watching them in the forest. This one-of-a-kind wildlife experience is rated as one of the ultimate animal encounters on earth!
The encounter lasts for one hour and is guided by the rules and etiquette of gorilla trekking as per the morning briefing. You are allowed to take photos, but flash photography is not permitted. These endangered primates are gentle and relatively docile, making them easy to watch at close range. We watch the mountain gorillas eat, sleep and play. The giant apes often watch visitors with curiosity, especially the young gorillas. After our captivating hour with these giant primates, we move off slowly and quietly.
Making our way back to the Volcanoes National Park headquarters your guide transfers you back to the hotel in Ruhengeri, where dinner is served. Spend the evening resting and recounting your magical time with the African mountain gorillas of Rwanda.
Accommodation: Muhabura Guest House (or similar)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.
Day 3: Ruhengeri & Volcanoes National Park to Kigali – Rwanda
On the final day of this safari, we set off into Volcanoes National Park for more primate trekking! This morning we track the endemic golden monkeys of the Virunga Mountains, walking in the bamboo forests on the lower slopes. Today’s trek is shorter and easier than the mountain gorilla trek of the previous day.
We walk to one of the large troops of golden monkeys and watch these long-tailed primates move around in the tree branches and sometimes on the forest floor. These athletic and social monkeys are amusing to watch as they swing energetically between the trees and interact with one another. Golden monkeys are classified as endangered and watching them in the wild is a rare and special experience!
After our time with the golden monkeys of Volcanoes Park, we drive back south to Kigali. This afternoon you can embark on the city tour of Kigali, if you didn’t have time on your first day. The city tour includes a visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial, documenting the harrowing history of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. We also visit a crafts market where you can browse and buy traditional crafts. Exploring the pleasant city with its vibrant streets offers insight into Rwanda today. After the city tour you are transferred to the Kigali International Airport for your onward flight. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunc