8 Day Trip Overview
This 8 Day safari offers the opportunity to track gorillas in both Rwanda and Uganda, hike the Bisoke Volcano or Dian Fossey site, and enjoy a boat ride on the renowned Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda. The safari will also takes you on a cultural trail of the Batwa forest people who formerly lived inside the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest before it was gazetted as a National Park and to visit the places of historical significance in the city of Kigali.
- Gorilla trek in Volcanoes National Park
- Bisoke Volcano hike / Dian Fossey memorial visit
- Batwa cultural trail in Mgahinga National Park
- Boat ride and nature walk around Lake Bunyonyi
- Gorilla trek in Bwindi
- Visit to Kigali memorial sites
Day 1: Drive to Volcanoes National Park
You will start your 8 day tour by travelling to the Gorilla haven of the Volcanoes National Park, 116km away from Kigali. The drive is approximately 3 hours through the lush green country side of undulating hills many of which have been cultivated with skill. You will have lunch upon arrival and after a short rest go for a nature walk to the twin lakes of Burera and Ruhondo.
Day 2: Gorilla tracking
You will have an early breakfast and join other tourists at the Kinigi Park headquarters at 08:00am for a briefing on the gorilla tracking rules. You will be allocated a Gorilla family to track and guides to lead you to the Gorillas. The tracking experience will be a 2-5 hour exercise and you are allowed to spend a maximum of one hour with the gorillas. You will return to the lodge for a rest before going out to visit the Iby’iwachu cultural village for an exposure to the Kinyarwanda culture. You will return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Hike Bisoke volcano or Visit Dian Fossey center
After an early breakfast, you can either hike Mount Bisoke 3,711m above sea level or visit grave yard and pay tribute to the famous American Primatologist – Dian Fossey who did great work regarding the conservation of Wild Mountain gorillas. The Bisoke Volcano has two stunning cones that were formed after the volcano eruption of 1957 and contains an amazing crater Lake (Ngezi) about 11km from the summit. A walk around the Crater Lake gives you a stunning view of the Virunga ranges in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. The hike takes about 7 hours after which you will return to the lodge for relaxation and memory sharing. The other option will be to hike to the Karisoke Research Centre established by Dian Fossey, an American primatologist who dedicated all her life conserving the primates and pay tribute to her. You will after being taken around this remarkable centre cross over to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.
Day 4: Batwa cultural trail and travel to Lake Bunyonyi
You will have your breakfast and afterwards go for the Batwa cultural experience. The Batwa trail exposes you to the interesting demonstration of the hunting techniques of these forest people, the honey gathering, the preparation of medicinal herbs and the technology of making Bamboo cups. The trail also takes you to the sacred Garama cave which used to be a place of refuge (hiding) for the Batwa after invading and stealing from the neighbouring communities. You will be moved by the sorrowful songs of women echoed by the walls of this light deprived cave that is a reminder of their ancient heritage. After the Batwa trail you will drive 94km to Lake Bunyonyi.
Day 5: Boat ride on Lake Bunyonyi
After your breakfast you will be taken for the memorable boat ride on Lake Bunyonyi. This beautiful lake has 26 islands surrounded by great scenic hills covered a lush green flora which is a perfect habitat for many unique species of birds. In the afternoon you will be driven to Uganda’s gorilla trekking haven of Bwindi.
Day 6: Gorilla tracking in Bwindi
You will have an early breakfast and be driven to the Park Headquarters in Rushaga for a briefing about the Gorilla tracking rules. After the briefing, you will set off with trained guides to search for the gorillas. Tracking gorillas in Bwindi is quite challenging as it involves moving over rugged terrain of steep slopes and valleys which in the rainy season can be very slippery. The tracking can take 2 – 8 hours before you come across a gorilla family and you have a maximum of one hour to stay with them. In the evening you can opt for a community walk among the Bakiga people that live near the park or simply relax at the lodge till dinner time and overnight.
Day 7: Drive back to Kigali
After breakfast you will transfer to Kigali about 4 hours’ drive from Bwindi. The journey is quite charming with scenic views of Kigezi highlands, Virunga Volcanoes and undulating hills of Rwanda. You will have lunch in Kigali and after a short rest be taken to the Genocide memorial at Gisozi to pay tribute to the victims of Rwandan genocide.
Day 8: Visit memorial sites in Kigali
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 retiring for dinner and overnight.