Enjoy a short break to Rwanda, gorilla tracking in the Parc National des Volcans. This is a unique opportunity to interact with these magical primates in their natural habitat.
Many people ask about taking a short overseas trip to see wildlife and this is the one we most often recommend. Our five night trip travels to Rwanda's dense cloud forest, to track a family of mountain gorillas - an exceptional wildlife experience that definitely won't be forgotten!
There’s nothing like a quick trip to an utterly different environment to lift the soul and help you relax and unwind, especially when you’re within eye contact with a silverback!
Depart the UK
Arrive Kigali, transfer to Volcanoes National Park.
On arrival at Kigali international airport you will be met by an expert guide and transferred through the lovely terraced hills that characterise much of Rwanda's landscape. The route climbs gradually to the base of the spectacular volcanoes of the Virunga range – the five peaks that lie along the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo soar high above the verdant countryside. The drive takes around three hours and, depending on your arrival time, you should have time to explore the lodge grounds before dinner.
Accommodation Virunga Lodge, 3-nights
Tracking gorillas in Volcanoes National Park
Early today you set off across the steep, forested slopes of the Virungas to track gorillas in the Parc National des Volcans. Note: gorilla groups can be elusive, and tracking them can take a full day and requires both patience and stamina, especially if it is wet and muddy. Sometimes the trackers find the gorillas within a couple of hours, but equally it may take up to ten hours of tracking off-trail in dense jungle in order to find them. Steep gradients, slippery conditions underfoot, high humidity and regular rainfall add to the challenge, but the exhilaration of a close encounter with these magnificent creatures makes it all worthwhile. Once you have found the habituated group, you spend one hour of contact time with the gorillas – a thoroughly magical experience!
One day’s gorilla-tracking permit is included in the cost of the trip. Additional permits for a second day of tracking should be purchased in advance of travel – these are subject to availability and at additional cost.
Note: For the sake of the gorillas’ well-being, contact time is always limited to an hour, and if you are suffering from a cold you may not be allowed to approach them.
Optional gorilla tracking or other activities
Today you can elect to go gorilla tracking again (subject to the availability of another permit), or choose from various other, gentler but equally rewarding activities. There is much to do here: you can track the endangered golden monkey or trek to Dian Fossey’s grave and the gorilla cemetery, the final resting place of her favourite, Digit.
Other popular excursions include visiting the local school and community projects supported by our local suppliers in Rwanda. At the Roz Carr Imbabazi orphanage you can meet some of the hundreds of children who have been helped by this uplifting project.
Alternatively you can relax on the shores of Lake Kivu, home to some of the finest inland beaches in Africa, or take a guided walk to Lake Bulera and experience local village life. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Transfer to Kigali& & depart
Today you retrace your route back to Kigali, in time to check in for the afternoon flight to Nairobi and onward back to the UK. If time allows, before heading to the airport you may be able to have a quick look at the city, and visit the Genocide Memorial, a moving testimony to this developing nation's recent harrowing history.
You should note: Depending on the availability of gorilla permits, the order of days in the Parc National des Volcans may be reversed. The price of this trip includes a contribution of US$100 per person to support a non-profit organisation set up by our local supplier in Uganda. This trust supports a variety of community and conservation activities in and around Virunga Lodge, which in turn enhance the livelihood of local communities and help to ensure the survival of the great apes. A second day gorilla permit can be arranged (optional, cost approximately US$1,500 per person).