3 Day Rwanda Gorilla Trekking & Kigali City Tour
This 3 Rwanda gorilla trekking and Kigali City tour will take you to the Volcanoes National Park for a Rwanda gorilla trekking experience and for an excursion in Kigali city. Rwanda gorilla trekking is an experience worth every penny although Rwanda Gorilla Trekking permits are more expensive than Uganda’s. With only 900 in the world, mountain gorillas are critically endangered, inhabiting the border areas between Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (in comparison, there were only 300 in the wild at the time of Fossey’s death). Out of the three countries, gorilla trekking is most expensive in Rwanda, where 300 of them inhabit Volcanoes National Park.
A Gorilla Enjoying its meal in Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park is best known for the mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei). Other mammals include: the golden monkey (Cercopithecus mitis kandti), black-fronted duiker (Cephalophus niger), buffalo (Syncerus caffer), spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), and bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus). The bushbuck population is estimated to be between 1760-7040 animals. There are also reported to be some elephants in the park, though these are now very rare. There are 178 recorded bird species, with at least 13 species and 16 subspecies endemic to the Virunga and Ruwenzori Mountains.
At the end of this safari adventure, we’ll take a guided Kigali city tour with a private vehicle and visit some of the city’s sights and monuments and teach you more about Rwanda’s history. The tour will include the deeply moving and very well-designed Gisozi Genocide Museum, where more than 250,000 Rwandans who were killed during the 1994 genocide have been buried. There are several parts to the exhibitions, including information about the Rwandan genocide, an exhibit about other genocides around the world, and the Children’s Memorial.
You can also visit the house of Richard Kandt who came to Africa in 1898 to discover the source of the Nile. If you’re looking for some souvenirs, the Caplaki Handicrafts Co-operative, is packed with traditional and modern handicrafts made locally.
Genocide Memorial Centre | Kigali, Rwanda
The Safari Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Rwanda and transfer to Volcanoes National Park
You will be met at the airport by our safari guide who will transfer you to the Hotel booked for you in Ruhengeri near the Volcanoes National Park. You will have lunch and in the afternoon be taken for a scenic drive in the park for 2 – 3 hours to view the splendid volcanic mountain landscapes. You will retire to the lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 2: Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park
You will have an early breakfast and move to the Park headquarters where you will receive a briefing on the rules of gorilla trekking and be allocated the gorilla group you will be trekking. You will after the briefing be led by the ranger guides into the forest to search for the gorillas in the Volcano Virunga Hills and the verdant valley. Once traced you will spend a maximum of one hour observing the gorillas in their natural setting. The tracking will be a 2-5 hour exercise after which you will transfer to Kigali.
Day 3: Kigali city excursion and departure
After breakfast you will visit the Genocide memorial site where thousands of innocent people lost their lives during the genocide of the mid 1990s in Rwanda and listen to the touching narratives of how people were cruelly put to death. You will have lunch and later visit the Presidential Palace Museum before transferring to the airport for your departure flight.
When to go
The dry(ish) seasons, December to February, June to September – though note that it can rain at any time.
Where to stay
In Kigali, the five-star Kigali Serena Hotel is conveniently located (15-30 min from the airport), with double b&b. It has a sister hotel at Gisenyi, on Lake Kivu; double b&b, which can be used as a base for gorilla trekking (90 min to park entrance). Volcanoes Virunga Lodge is more convenient (40 min to 1hr) and has a good reputation but you pay for the spectacular location, which includes all meals and drinks. We can also offer you a variety of other places to stay near the park.
Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Permits
Permits to see the Rwanda Gorillas (US$1,500 for foreign residents) are booked through the Tourism and Conservation Reservation Office of the Rwanda Development Board (Included in the price of the safari and we process them for you). Numbers are limited and permits get snapped up well in advance.
What to take
Dress carefully for the trek: trekking trousers (carry waterproof trousers), layered shirts with long sleeves, waterproof top, walking boots, gloves (gardening gloves are ideal) for grasping stinging nettles, plenty of water, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, insect spray, camera. Porters to carry your backpack and give you a push/pull on steep bits (worth hiring, for £6.50, even if you don’t think you need one) will provide a walking stick, or you may prefer to bring your own pole.