Rwanda Primates & Wildlife Safari – 5 Days
This 5-day Rwanda Primates & Wildlife Safari will take you to Gorilla haven in the Volcanoes National Park to trek Mountain Gorillas; enable you to discover and enjoy the scenic beauty of the volcanic landscapes characteristic of this part of the country; provide an opportunity to trek the delightful chimpanzees and other primates; to have a go at the canopy walkway where your guts to withstand heights will be tested, 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
- An encounter with the delightful chimpanzees and watching them as they make awesome acrobatic maneuvers in the tree branches
- Discovering Africa’s other primates and wildlife, colorful birds, rare plants, and beautiful insects
- A test of your guts to withstand heights at the Nyungwe forest canopy walkway
- 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: Travel to Nyungwe via Butale Kings Palace, Visit the tea plantation & factory.
Day 2: Chimpanzee trekking & Canopy walk.
Day 3: Trekking other primates in Nyungwe forest & transfer to Volcanoes National Park
Day 4: Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park.
Day 5: Transfer to Kigali & City tour.
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Day 1: Travel to Nyungwe via Butare Kings Palace, Visit to tea plantation & factory
You will begin the Rwanda Primates & Wildlife Safari by traveling to Nyungwe Forest National Park. En-route you will visit the Butare Museum, Murambi Memorial and Nyanza Palace.
You will check in at the lodge of your booking near the National Park for lunch and in the afternoon take a tour to 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: Chimpanzee trekking & Canopy walk
You will have an early breakfast and report to the Park headquarters for a briefing on Chimpanzee tracking rules. You will then start the trek in the forest with the guides to find the chimpanzees. 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 forest.
You will return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Trekking other primates in Nyungwe forest & transfer to Volcanoes National Park
You will have an early Rwanda Primates & Wildlife Safari breakfast and make another visit to the forest 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. You will also see various types of birds in the verdant flora of this ancient forest.
You will return to the lodge for lunch and later transfer to Ruhengeri town just outside the Volcanoes National Park.
Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge of your booking.
Day 4: Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park & visit to Bulera and Ruhondo Lakes
This is the Rwanda Primates & Wildlife Safari peak day. 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 trekking is a strenuous exercise through thick jungle on steep terrain that is uneven, wet and often muddy for as many as 2-5 hours, depending on the location of the Gorillas.
Once sighted, you will spend a maximum of one hour with the Gorillas watching them as they feed, play, communicate and bond with their young. You will return to the lodge for lunch and some rest and set off to 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 the volcanoes in a spectacular way.
You will choose to have a canoe ride, do a village visit, 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 5: Transfer to Kigali & City tour
You will have breakfast and set off for Kigali to visit the memorial sites scattered in various parts of the city. The memorial sites will include the Nyamata church and the Rwanda Hotel where people who had sought refuge as the genocide raged were butchered, the Gisozi genocide memorial where the remains of the dead are buried and you will finish with a visit the Presidential Palace Museum which was the place of residence for the Rwandan president, Juvenal Habyarimana, at the time of genocide.
Dinner and overnight will be at the hotel of your booking.
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
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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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Quick Safari Details
Number of people: Tailored
Leaves When: Any Day
Start/End: Kigali, Rwanda
Activities: Road Drive, Gorilla Trekking, Jungle Trek, Bird Watching, Chimp Trek, Culture & History, Game Drive
Destinations: Kigali City, Butare, Volcanoes NP, Nyungwe Forest NP.
Price: Request a Quote
Best time to go: June to September and December up to February.Start Planning Today