Primates & Gorilla Tour – 7 Days
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This 7-day Primates & Gorilla Tour will enable you to trek Mountain Gorillas in their haven in the Volcanoes National Park and to enjoy the scenic beauty of the volcanic landscapes characteristic of this part of the country; take you to Nyungwe National Park to trek the delightful chimpanzees and other primates; take you to Akagera National Park for game drives and boat cruise, and to visit the genocide memorial sites in Kigali.
- The thrill of trekking Mountain Gorillas in the challenging forest terrain and the humbling experience of coming face to face with them as they feed, play, rest, and bond with their young.
- Viewing the mesmerizing and awesome features of the volcanic landscapes.
- A thrilling encounter with the delightful chimpanzees and watching them as they make awesome acrobatic maneuvers in the tree branches.
- Listening to the horrific tales of the genocide that claimed more than 1,000,000 lives in Rwanda in the 1990s.
Day 1: Arrival in Rwanda, City tour of Kigali and transfer to Volcanoes National Park.
Day 2: Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park.
Day 3: Transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park via Genocide Memorials / Kings Palace.
Day 4: Trekking Chimpanzees and other primates.
Day 5: Tour of Kigali Memorial sites.
Day 6: Transfer to Akagera National Park, Boat cruise & Evening game drive.
Day 7: Game drives in Akagera & transfer to Kigali.
Day 1: Arrival in Rwanda and transfer to Volcanoes National Park
You will be met at Kanombe Airport by your Primates & Gorilla Tour guide/driver who will transfer you to Volcanoes National Park. For those arriving early in the day, an excursion can be arranged for you to visit the Gisozi genocide memorial in the city to pay tribute to the thousands of Rwandese that lost their lives in the 1994 genocide.
You can also visit the Presidential Palace Museum which was the place of residence for the Rwandan president at the time of genocide, Juvenal Habyarimana.
You will later drive to Ruhengeri town just outside the Volcanoes National Park and check in at the hotel/lodge of your booking. Dinner and overnight will at this hotel/lodge.
Day 2: Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park & Visit to magnificent Lakes
On this Primates & Gorilla Tour day, you will track one of the habituated Gorilla groups. You will begin with a briefing on the rules of Gorilla trekking after which you will set off with your guide to find the Gorillas. Your guide will point out signs of previous Gorilla activity, including dung, nests and chewed bamboo shoots.
The time taken to trek the Gorillas can take as little as half an hour to as much as 5 hours! Your trek will be an exciting journey along forested slopes, entwined vines, bushes and bamboo before you eventually find the Gorillas.
Once the Gorillas have been located, you will be allowed a maximum of one hour with them. You will return to your lodge for lunch and some rest after which you will visit the magnificent lakes of Burera and Ruhondo whose deep blue waters are surrounded by high hills from which flow waters that create waterfalls that decorate volcanoes in a spectacular way.
You will choose to have a canoe ride, do a village visit, and go fishing using traditional methods or simply sit back and take-in the breathtaking scenery of the area.
You will return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park via Genocide Memorials / Kings Palace
You will have breakfast and travel to Nyungwe Forest National Park. En-route you will visit the Butare Museum, Murambi Memorial and Nyanza Palace to learn about the history of the Rwanda and its people, listen to the horrendous tales of the genocide in which more than one million people were brutally killed and pay tribute to the victims.
You will check in at the lodge of your booking near the Park for some rest before going out for a tour of the adjacent Tea factory to see how the locally grown tea is processed to become one of the finest products Rwanda has for export.
You will later return to your lodge for Dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Trekking Chimpanzees and other primates
You will have an early breakfast and report to the Park Headquarters for a briefing on Chimpanzee tracking rules before setting out with guides to find the Chimpanzees.
The trekking of Chimpanzees is for 2 hours. You will return to the lodge for lunch and some rest and go out to trek other primates such as Golden monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, Angola colobus, Silver monkey, Hamlyn’s Monkey, Dent’s Mona Monkey, Red-tailed Monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabeys, and Olive Baboon among others.
You will also see various types of birds in the verdant flora of this ancient forest.
You will there after return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Transfer to Kigali and city excursion
You will an early Primates & Gorilla Tour breakfast and set off for the City of Rwanda where you will be taken on excursion to see more of the memorial sites, visit the Muslim community, the colourful craft markets, the Nyamata historical Museum and the monuments that depict the history of Rwanda’s epic history. Dinner and overnight will be at the Hotel of your booking.
Day 6: Transfer to Akagera National Park, Boat cruise & Evening game drive
You will have an early breakfast and travel with your guide to Akagera National Park. The drive to this place is approximately 2½ hours. En-route you will visit Rusumo waterfall and Imigongo, the place of traditional handcraft makers.
You will have lunch at your Lodge and in the afternoon go for a game drive in the Akagera National Park and a boat ride on Ihema Lake to see crocodiles, hippos and various species of rare birds around the Nyirabiyoro Island.
Dinner and overnight will be at your lodge.
Day 7: Game drives in Akagera & transfer to Kigali
After an early breakfast, you will embark on a morning game drive. In a circuit you will visit different lakes where you will see buffaloes and elephants drinking from the water ponds and various species of birds including the Egyptian goose and Fish eager. You will have a picnic lunch in the park then continue with the hills game drive where you will see; impalas, zebras, bush bucks, water bucks, topis, oribis, baboons, giraffes, cape elands and more.
En route you will go through the beautiful rolling hills to the northern exit of the park from where you will transfer to Kigali for dinner and overnight or to the Airport for your departure flight.
Requirements for this Safari
- A Visa for Rwanda which you can get at the airport
- Gorilla trekking permit paid for in advance
- Travel & Health insurance arranged by you in your home country before you travel.
- Yellow fever vaccination (certificate for proof)
- Physical fitness
The Safari package includes:
- Accommodation as per the itinerary
- 4WD safari vehicle
- Bottled drinking water
- Gorilla trekking permit
- Chimpanzee trekking permit
- Canopy walk fee
- Services of an English speaking driver/guide.
- Return airport transfers.
The Safari package excludes expenses of a personal nature such as:
- Other drinks apart from bottled water
- Tips to local guides
- Telephone expenses
- Porter fees while trekking Gorillas
- Personal insurance
Enquire about this safari
What to Expect on a Rwanda Gorilla Safari
For a great gorilla trekking experience, you need to be fairly fit, equipped for the humid, muddy conditions of a rainforest hike, and in good health – gorillas are susceptible to human illnesses but don’t have our immunity, which means a common cold can be deadly to a whole family of gorillas and you won’t be permitted to trek if you are unwell. Even in the dry season, the rainforest is a challenging environment: it’s humid, wet and muddy with some steep slopes, plenty of insects and thick vegetation. It is absolutely worth the effort to spend time with gorillas in the wild, but be prepared to exert yourself on the trek.
Your professional gorilla guide and tracker leads you into the forest’s secret paths, looking for a habituated gorilla family. Once found, you’ll approach the gorillas quietly and settle down to observe them from between 7 and 10m (22 to 32 ft) away. You’ll spend between 40 minutes and an hour with the gorillas, watching the adults forage and groom each other while the babies tumble and play. You’ll be under the watchful gaze of the great silverback patriarch, whose soft brown eyes constantly sweep over his family protectively. Witnessing gorillas express typically human gestures and emotions is a truly profound experience and one of the reasons that gorilla trekking is such a life changing encounter.
You’ll be asked to leave any personal items or bottled water you’re carrying with your porters and approach the gorillas with only your camera. You are not allowed to use a flash and it’s best to use a camera that doesn’t make loud clicks, whirring or other mechanical noises.
Quick links to gorilla trekking tips
- Habituated Uganda Gorilla Groups
- Gorilla Habituation Experience
- Gorilla Tracking – Uganda or Rwanda
- Uganda Wildlife Authority – Gorilla Trekking
- Experiential Gorilla Safari in Uganda
When To Go – Best time to go on a Gorilla Safari in Rwanda
Although a Rwanda Gorilla Safari can be conducted all year round in the Virunga Mountains, due to the somewhat damp seasons experienced by Volcanoes National Park jungle in which these gorillas stay, the majority of tourists prefer visiting in the dry seasons where traversing the jungles is somewhat doable – and that is the months of June to September as well as from December up to February. You can visit at any time of the year, the low season calls for cheaper gorilla permit price.
Temperature & Weather
Up the mountain Forest could be very cold especially in the morning & night. The annual mean temperatures range is 7°C to 20°C with the coldest months being June & July. Hence warm clothing are required, plus wet weather gear because Virunga receives up to 2390mm of rain every year. This is centered on during 2 wet seasons, short rains in March- May & heavy rainfall in the months of September-November. In Virunga, rain often falls as long hours of soft drizzle, instead of short tropical deluge. Our Tour Experts will help you prepare depending on the season.
Volcanoes National Park is located in north-western corner of Rwanda approximately 3 hours drive from the Kigali International airport.
The gorilla permit
The gorilla permit is the second most important document next to your Visa and passport. The Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500, a hefty sum but very much worth it. You should know that some of this money is used to take care of these creatures, help them repopulate and protect them from the rampant poaching.
Acquiring a gorilla permit can be strenuous especially in peak season. We would recommend buying them months in advance to avoid the long cues. The permit per person in most cases is included in the package price, so you’ll not need to hustle acquiring the document.
Once you have the gorilla permit and you’re guided into the jungle, prepare your emotions because seeing the mountain gorillas is guaranteed.
What To Wear on the Gorilla Safari.
Rwanda Gorilla Safari gear guide: Good quality walking boots if trying any hikes or even climbs, warm layers of cloth for the cold evenings and clothing for wet weather remember it becomes cold and wet at this high altitude.
However during the day, the sun is strong even when cloudy therefore always remember to carry and wear sunscreen as well as a sun hat. In addition, you may have to carry along waterproof bags to safeguard cameras plus additional equipment for the hike. Water plus snacks are additional recommended items plus a packed lunch for people doing full-day expeditions.
What else after the gorilla safari?
While in Rwanda, besides visiting the mountain gorillas, you can take a game drive safari across the boarder into Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo National Park or within Rwanda you can visit Kigali City, Akagera National Park and several other Rwanda attractions worth checking out. Most tourists on African trip combine Tanzania safari adventures with gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda in addition to a safari in Kenya or Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking in Tanzania.
Let’s get you started on this trip, right? Request for a quote.