An incredible opportunity see endangered mountain gorillas
Seeing mountain gorillas in the wild is one of life's most awesome experiences, made popular by the publicity generated by the work of researcher Dian Fossey. On this trip you'll have two opportunities to track and observe them in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park, a mysteriously beautiful area of dense tropical forests and spectacular volcanic mountains that shelter the world's largest population of endangered mountain gorillas. Several family groups have become habituated to the presence of observers and can be approached closely in their natural habitat.
Moderate to strenuous hiking
- See the beautiful hill country of Rwanda
- Spend time in Volcanoes National Park tracking the mountain gorillas
Duration: 4 days Start Location: Kigali End Location: KigaliDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Kigali to Kinigi
Arrive at Kigali airport, where our guide will meet you, then drive to Kinigi via Ruhengeri. The road to Ruhengeri offers stunning scenery of the hills and valleys of this green and lush country, taking a little more than 2 hours. We'll quickly understand why the country has been nicknamed "the land of a thousand hills." These hills are intensively cultivated by rural folk who live on tiny farmsteads, so they form a terraced patchwork of banana plantations, sorghum fields, and vegetable gardens. From Ruhengeri we have a 20 minute drive to Kinigi at the base of Sabyinyo Mountain, with excellent views of all of the Virunga Volcanoes.
*Please note, you must arrive by 3pm in order to drive the 2 hours to our home base near Volcanoes National Park during daylight hours. If your flight lands in Kigali after 3pm, we'll have you spend the first night in Kigali at the Serena Hotel, then drive to Kinigi on Day 2 and shift the gorilla trekking days back to Days 3 and 4. Your departure flight from Kigali on Day 4 should be scheduled no earlier than 2:30pm.
Day 2 : Volcanoes National Park
Take a short drive to Park Headquarters and meet with local guides and trackers who will explain the etiquette of gorilla trekking. We then hike into the forest where the gorillas were seen the night before and begin tracking them from that point. The trekking can take from one to six hours in rough and sometimes muddy terrain. Altitudes can range up to 7,500 feet. Although the hike is physically demanding, the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery make it all worthwhile.
Once the gorillas are located, all fatigue is forgotten as you revel in the most profound natural history experience in the world! It can rain at any time, so waterproof clothing is essential, including Ziploc bags for cameras and film. A picnic lunch is provided en route.
The gorillas are NOT tame, but they have been scientifically habituated to accept the presence of quiet and unthreatening observers. Once found, you are allowed one hour only to observe the group.
Day 3 : Gorilla Trekking
Second gorilla tracking day. At the end of the day, drive two hours back to Kigali. Dinner and overnight at the Kigali Serena Hotel, an excellent hotel in a leafy neighborhood of the city.
Day 4 : Kigali
After breakfast, enjoy a city tour of Kigali, including a visit to the very moving Genocide Museum/Memorial. After lunch, transfer to the airport to check in for your international flight.
DATES: Best time to go: January - March, June - October, December Departures: Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availability. Call us for details.
Ideally located on one of Kigali's most charming boulevards, the five-star Kigali Serena Hotel is built around a polished granite atrium, which showcases the very best of Rwandese cultural art.
Gorilla Mountain View LodgeParc des Volcans, Rwanda
This new hotel in the Volcanoes National Park offers 30 individual cottages located on the lower slopes of the Virunga Mountains. Just 15 minutes from park headquarters, it is perfect for gorilla trekking!
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.