Rwanda Gorilla Safari – A 4 Day Safari – From $1,695 Per Person
Day 1: Arrival & Transfer to Ruhengeri
Today you arrive in Rwanda, where you will be met by our tour guide at Kigali International Airport. Our guide will transfer you to a nearby hotel for welcome drinks and a briefing. After lunch, travel north to Ruhengeri and the Volcanoes National Park. The journey is a 3 hours drive taking you through undulating and extremely hilly picturesque countryside. As you near the end of your journey, you will begin to catch glimpses of the Virungas – a chain of 9 impossibly steep and lofty volcanoes straddling the western branch of the Rift Valley from east to west.
Each mountain possesses its own unique character and silhouette, but together they form one of the most isolated and visually dramatic ecosystems in the world. A ‘true island in the sky’, the Volcanoes National Park (established in 1925) was Africa’s first, and it was granted status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The park is home to some of the worlds few remaining Mountain Gorilla, which were first studied here in 1959 by George Schaller, and through the 1960’s by Dian Fossey and her colleagues.
Overnight: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge (D)
Days 2 & 3: Gorilla Tracking in PNV
The next two days activities may be amongst the most exciting and challenging you have undertaken. The Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda are part of a worldwide population of just 790 individuals. The gorillas we are allowed to track belong to either one of seven habituated family groups. For up to five years each, these groups have undergone an extremely delicate process that has gradually brought them to tolerate the presence of humans for a brief period every day and allowed a few privileged visitors to interact with them in the wild.
An early breakfast and you’re off to the park headquarters at Kinigi to register and be allocated your gorilla family for today. Once this is done, you set out by vehicle to the start of on your gorilla safari.
The gorillas are by no means tame, and are completely wild animals. However, experienced guides will accompany you on your gorilla tracking, many of who have been involved in the habituation process themselves. The guides will use their knowledge of the gorillas’ habits and information from the previous day to locate the group’s whereabouts.
Because of this, the time taken to track the gorillas varies enormously, from as little as half an hour to as much as 9 hours before one returns to camp. Once the gorillas are located, your group will be allowed a maximum of one hour with them. This is one of the world’s truly memorable experiences – a look into one of these magnificent creatures’ eyes brings home the bond that exists between them and us. It also brings home the poignant fact that they are on the edge of extinction, and that your presence here contributes to ensuring their continued survival. The hour is often over all too quickly, and you slowly make your way back to your lodge to recount the day’s adventures.
On the first afternoon, there may be an opportunity to visit with the local communities or take a drive out to the scenic Lakes Bulera and Ruhondo. On the second afternoon, you transfer back to Kigali
Overnight: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge/Kigali Serena (B/L/D)
Day 4: Kigali City Tour & Transfer to Airport
This morning you take a city tour of Kigali, and for those who wish to, there is the opportunity to visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. The Centre in Kigali was created by a joint partnership of the Kigali City Council and the UK-based Aegis Trust. It contains a permanent and extremely moving exhibition of the Rwandan genocide and an exhibition of other genocides around the world.
You then relax for the rest of the day to prepare for your flight out (B)