Rwanda Primates Safari – 6 Days
On this 6-day Rwanda Primates Safari you will trek Mountain Gorillas in their haven in the Volcanoes National Park; trek chimpanzees and other primates in Nyungwe Forest National Park; visit a Tea factory to learn about how locally grown tea is processed to become one of Rwanda’s popular export commodities; test your guts to withstand the fear of heights at the Nyungwe forest canopy walk; enjoy game drives and boat cruise in the Akagera National Park, 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.
- A thrilling encounter with the delightful chimpanzees and watching them as they make awesome acrobatic maneuvers in the tree branches
- Having ago on the challenging canopy walk, one of the most thrilling Rwanda adventures for those with guts where your ability to withstand heights is tested
- Listening to the horrific tales of the genocide that claimed more than 1,000,000 lives in Rwanda in the 1990s
- Viewing the mesmerizing and awesome features of the volcanic landscapes
Day 1: Transfer to Nyungwe Forest, Butare & Visit to Tea Plantation and Factory
Day 2: Trekking Chimps and other primates & canopy walk
Day 3: Transfer to Volcanoes National Park
Day 4: Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park
Day 5: Transfer to Akagera National Park
Day 6: Full day game drive in Akagera & transfer to Kigali
Day 1: Transfer to Nyungwe Forest via Butare & Visit to Tea Plantation and Factory
You will begin the Rwanda Primates Safari by traveling 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 lunch and in the afternoon go 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.
Dinner and overnight will be at your lodge.
Day 2: Trekking Chimps and other primates & Forest Canopy walk
You will have an early Rwanda Primates Safari breakfast and report to the Park Headquarters for a briefing on Chimpanzee tracking rules before setting out with guides to find the Chimpanzees.
During the chimp trekking you will also come across 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. The trekking is for 2 hours after which you will go for the famous Nyungwe Forest Canopy walk. The canopy walkway is suspended 50 meters in the air between big trees and stretches over a steep and deep valley across a massive forest cover offering breathtaking views across the misty forest.
You will have sightings at eye-level of a number of unique wildlife inhabiting the canopies including birds, butterflies, and several monkey species. For those who lack the guts for the canopy walk you can choose to go for a nature walk around the park, visit homesteads to learn about their traditional settings and activities or relax at your lodge.
Day 3: Transfer to Volcanoes National Park
You will have breakfast and then transfer to Volcanoes National Park. This is a whole day drive of 341km taking about 9 hours. You will have lunch en route and view various wildlife attractions.
You will arrive in the late afternoon and check in at the lodge/hotel of your booking to relax and unwind.
Day 4: Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park
Today you will track one of the habituated Gorilla groups. You will begin with a briefing on the rules of Gorilla trekking. The time taken to track the Gorillas can take as little as half an hour to as much as 5 hours! The trekking will be an exciting journey along forested slopes, entwined vines, bushes and bamboo before you eventually reach the Gorillas.
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 watching them as they feed, play, communicate and bond with their young.
You will return to the Rwanda Primates Safari lodge for relaxation till dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Transfer to Akagera National Park, Game drive & Boat ride
You will have an early Rwanda Primates Safari breakfast and travel with your guide to Akagera National Park. The drive to this place is approximately 2½ hours. On the way 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.
You will have dinner and overnight at the lodge of your booking.
Day 6: Game drive 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.
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