Rwanda Gorilla Trek & Lake Kivu expedition – 4 Days
This 4 day Rwanda Gorilla Trek & Lake Kivu expedition will enable you to trek Mountain Gorillas and Golden Monkeys 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; provide an opportunity to learn about the culture of the Rwandese people from the Iby’iwachu cultural village; to relax, chill and unwind at Lake Kivu; and to visit the prominent memorial sites of the tragic genocide that occurred in Rwanda.
- 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
- Learning about the great work of the American primatologist who pioneered the initiatives to protect and conserve Mountain Gorillas in the volcanic mountains.
- A thrilling encounter with the delightful Chimpanzees and watching them as they make awesome acrobatic maneuvers in the tree branches
- Being treated to the colourful cultural gala of the Rwandese people at Iby’iwachu cultural village
- Relaxing in the serenity of Lake Kivu on a Boat launch
- Listening to the horrific tales of the genocide that claimed more than 1,000,000 lives in Rwanda in the 1990s
Day 1: City tour of Kigali
Day 2: Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes & visit to Iby’iwachu cultural centre
Day 3: Golden Monkey trekking and transfer to Lake Kivu
Day 4: Lake Kivu excursion & transfer to Kigali
Day 1: City tour of Kigali & transfer to Volcanoes National Park
Start the Rwanda Gorilla Trek & Lake Kivu expedition with breakfast and move out to visit the memorial sites scattered in various parts of the city. These will include the Genocide memorial sites where thousands of innocent people lost their lives during the genocide of the mid 1990s, visit the Presidential Palace Museum, and the Nyamata church.
In these places you will listen to the horrendous narratives of how people were cruelly put to death and learn about the history of the country from the colonial periods through to the present time.
You will have lunch and transfer to Ruhengeri town just outside the Volcanoes National Park.
Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge of your booking.
Day 2: Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes and visit to Iby’iwachu cultural centre
Today you will track one of the habituated Gorilla groups. You will begin with a briefing on the rules of Gorilla trekking before setting out with the guides to search for the Mountain Gorillas in the forest.
The time taken to track the Gorillas can take as little as half an hour to as much as 5 hours! Your track will be an exciting journey along forested slopes, entwined vines, bushes and bamboo before you eventually reach the Gorillas. As you trek your guide will point out signs of previous Gorilla activity, including dung, nests and chewed bamboo shoots.
Once the Gorillas have been located, you will be allowed a maximum of one hour with them. You will return to the hotel for lunch and in afternoon be taken to the Iby’wachu cultural village to learn about the Kinyarwanda culture displayed through folk songs, dances, storytelling and drama.
You will retire to the lodge of your Rwanda Gorilla Trek & Lake Kivu expedition booking for dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Golden Monkey trekking, hike to Karisoke Reaserch Centre and transfer to Lake Kivu
You will have breakfast and then assemble at the Park headquarters for a briefing on the Golden monkey tracking rules before going out to track them in the forest. The trekking will take 1-2 hours after which you will return to the lodge for lunch and some rest.
In the afternoon you will hike to Karisoke Research Centre that features an exhibit on Mountain Gorillas and the conservation efforts pioneered by Dian Fossey. It also shelters the Dian Fossey artefacts, a 3D interactive model of the Virunga Mountains and casts of real gorilla nose prints.
Overall, the centre adds a perfect learning opportunity to the facts that people barely know about Mountain Gorillas. You will after being taken around this remarkable centre transfer to Kibuye town near Lake Kivu.
Dinner and overnight will be at the hotel of your booking.
Day 4: Optional activities on and around Lake Kivu and transfer to Kigali
You will have your breakfast and head for Lake Kivu. Lake Kivu is the perfect place to chill out after the tiring Gorilla and Golden monkey trekking and hiking of the volcanoes. For most people, it is simply a place to relax and rebuild energy.
You can take a nature walk, go birding on a boat ride, explore some islands, visit the nearby hot springs, go fishing, or visit the Congo boarder. You can also visit the Ndaba Falls or take a walk around Kibuye town to acquaint yourself with the lifestyles of the inhabitants.
You will later drive back to Kigali.
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
- 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.
Quick Safari Details
Number of people: Tailored
Leaves When: Any Day
Start/End: Kigali, Rwanda
Activities: Road Drive, Gorilla Trekking, Golden Monkey Trekking, Bird Watching, Cultural Gala, City Excursion
Destinations: Kigali, Volcanoes National Park, Iby’iwachu Cultural Center, Lake Kivu
Price: Request a Quote
Best time to go: June to September and December up to February.