This five night trip to Rwanda gives you the privileged experience of meeting a family of mountain gorillas, in the depths of the dense cloud forests.
This is a unique opportunity to interact with these charismatic creatures in their natural habitat, and a magical experience that won't be forgotten.
Many people ask about taking a short overseas trip to see wildlife and this is the one we most often recommend. 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!
Day1: Depart UK
Day2: Arrive Kigali and transfer to Volcanoes National Park. Track gorillas and golden monkeys
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.
Day3: 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 stamina, especially if it is wet and muddy. However it frequently takes much less time and, if you’re lucky and locate them early, you can even get back in time for a late lunch! 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.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Day4: 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.
Day5: Transfer to Kigali and depart
Today you retrace your route back to Kigali, in time to check in for the afternoon flight to Nairobi. 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. Breakfast and lunch are included today.
Day6: Arrive UK
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$750 per person)
Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 6 daysfrom £4,995 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 4 daysfrom £4,195 pp
Single supplement: From £400
When to go: Jan-Dec: Tours depart from the UK on Thursdays
Parc National des Volcans is part of the Virunga Conservation Area that straddles the borders of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It contains 76 mammal species and over half the world’s 720 mountain gorillas. It was also the site of Dian Fossey’s pioneering behavioural studies.
Where: South west Rwanda
Ideal for viewing: black-fronted duiker, Cape buffalo, golden monkey, mountain gorilla, spotted hyena
Excellent for: Gorilla trekking
Suggested accommodation is shown below.
for further recommendations.
This eco-lodge stands on a stunning remote hillside, and is undoubtedly one of the best places in the area to stay. It has eight stone bandas (cottages), each with en suite bathroom and private terrace affording breathtaking views of the Virunga Volcanoes or the shimmering Lakes Ruhondo and Bulera.