Rwanda / Uganda
ABOUT THIS HIKE
Tracking Rwanda’s mountain gorilla remains one of the most moving, life changing experiences.
Known as the Land of a Thousand Hills, Rwanda is a small and beautiful country. Its sweeping grasslands rise up from the plains and lakes of the eastern borders to meet a mountain range that runs north to south, which make Rwanda an excellent luxury safari and holiday destination. Intermittently broken up by plateaus and highland, it is a crucial source of water for both the Congo and the Nile.
Volcanoes National Park is part home to Rwanda’s Virunga Mountains and possibly the best place in the world for mountain gorilla trekking. It is Africa’s oldest park and as such makes for an extraordinary experience.
Rwanda is home to more than 60% of the World’s mountain gorilla and the country has managed to slightly increase this number in recent years, despite well-documented difficulties it has faced.
The plight of the mountain gorilla first reached the outside world via the writings and documentaries of Dian Fossey (Gorillas In The Mist), and its continued survival owes much to her pioneering work. Her death was a great blow to the world of conservation, but The Parc National Des Volcanes remains in good hands, and since 1999 has, year in, year out, welcomed a growing number of international travellers, all keen to experience that almost spiritual sense of wonder that comes with tracking mountain gorillas.
Requiring only that you are moderately fit, your gorilla trekking will begin early in the morning, and can take anything from one to eight hours. Accompanied by gorilla guide, an armed ranger, in accordance with park regulations you will spend an hour in the company of the gorillas.
HOW MANY GORILLAS WILL YOU SEE?
Over 18 gorilla families inhabit Volcanoes National Park, and only 12 of them are open for trekking. The others are reserved for research. Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park always starts at Kinigi HQ with a briefing. It’s typically done by 8 people (in groups) and you’ll be assigned to a gorilla family for the day.
HOW MUCH TIME WILL YOU SPEND WITH THE GORILLAS?
Your gorilla trekking permit will allow you one hour with an assigned gorilla group. Though it can take from 30 minutes to 9 hours for a gorilla trek, most tourists find them within 3 hours.
THINGS TO DO IN RWANDA, BESIDES GORILLA TREKKING
There are many things you can do after gorilla trekking permits in Rwanda. You can visit Nyungwe Forest – home to chimpanzees and many other primates, or go on Kibinga forest walk or Nyanza safari tour by boat. There are also several hiking trails that don’t require special permits : Ruhengeri Bridge trail , Mahoma trail or Kinigi Bigogwe trail.
Day 1, Sunday:
Arrival Entebbe airport, Uganda
Transfer to Kibale Forest National Park.This Park is home to some 13 species of primates including the red colobus monkeys, chimpanzees and L'Hoest's monkeys as well as 70 mammal species.
Overnight at Chimpanzee Forest lodge or similar
Day 2, Monday:
Chimpanzee tracking, Bigodi swamp walk and transfer to Queen Elizabeth Park
Seeing habituated chimps squabbling and swinging from the trees is an exhilarating experience. Later on, you will have the opportunity to visit Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, which is rich in bird species, vegetation, and wildlife. This is also a great opportunity to support local tourism initiatives which benefit social and economic development in the area.
You will then drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park. This park which boasts one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game park or reserve in the world and also Uganda’s second largest National Park, the 1,978 sq km has everything from open savannah to rain forest. Queen Elizabeth has over 100 mammal species, and an astounding 606 bird species, making it a premier safari destination. Take a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel, 32 Kms long followed by a game drive. This water system has the highest concentration of Hippos in the world and you will get quite close to them. See also crocodiles, buffalos and other game that drink from the channel, also marvel at the abundant ornitho-life that is supported here.
Have a game drive before heading to the lodge for dinner.
Overnight at Twinlakes Safari Lodge or similar.
Day 3, Tuesday:
Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
Bwindi is a home to over half of the world’s mountain gorilla population. Interacting with these gentle giants is one of the most moving experiences that Africa has to offer and should not be missed!
The ancient rainforest of Bwindi spans 321 sq km and boasts 90 mammal species, including a range of primates, as well as 23 Albertine Rift endemic bird species, including the African Green Broadbill, the Bar Tailed Trogon and many others. Relax in the evening and get ready for the following day’s activity.
Overnight at Buhoma Gorilla Camp or similar.
Day 4, Wednesday:
Today after an energizing breakfast, you will embark on your gorilla trek. Before 8 am report to the ranger station for registration and briefing by one of the rangers; the guides will then lead you through the undergrowth, parting thick creepers, to track the gorillas. The trek can take anywhere from half an hour to 7 hours – a reasonable degree of fitness is required as well as a sturdy pair of walking boots. It is an extraordinary feeling sitting in the dense rainforest knowing you are with a few of the last remaining mountain gorillas. Later in the day, you can engage in optional activities including; batwa (pymies) cultural experience, curio shopping, visit communities to mention but a few.
Overnight at Buhoma Gorilla Camp or similar.
Day 5, Thursday:
Departure from Kigali Airport, Rwanda
Drive to the airport for your flight back home.
Airport transfers pick-up and drop-off
Kosher food throughout (optional for private trips)
All accommodation based on two sharing throughout - single accommodation extra
Rwanda Gorilla trekking fees
Golden monkey trekking fees
Professional local guides
Luxury private 4 x 4 Land Cruisers
Meals each day: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Transportations, accommodation, wages, food, insurance, equipment for all staff
All necessary paper works and entry permits
Additional food & drink
2024 Open Trip Dates
3rd - 9th August
For more information regarding private groups
Please contact us below!