RWANDA GORILLA TREKKING & SAFARIS

Come gorilla trekking with us, or enjoy a longer stay in this endearing country and discover primates in the forests of Nyungwe, the savannah wildlife of Akagera and the landscape of a thousand hills. Whilst gorilla trek short breaks and safari extensions are popular we urge you to consider taking more time to discover Rwanda, you will not be disappointed.

We would highly recommend Rwanda. We found it an extremely welcoming, interesting and diverse country. We would love to return! The gorillas and chimps were amazing! Overall it was a holiday of a lifetime. Thank you for advising us and recommending Rwanda to us. We would recommend to spend an extra day in Nyungwe to trek monkeys... Also visit Akagera to view the whole country. Golden monkey trek was excellent - we would recommend this too!Mr. M. - Shropshire

Suggested Itineraries

Gorillas in Rwanda

3 Days ex Kigali or 5 Days ex UK

Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park - a glimpse of the pretty countryside of Rwanda

Explore Rwanda

12 Days

Scenic Akagera savannah wildlife & shoebill storks - Nyungwe for chimps & colobus monkeys - Volcanoes NP gorillas - hills, scenery & people of Rwanda

In Search of Primates

10 Days

Gorillas of course! - Chimps - Colobus monkeys - L'Hoest's monkeys - Golden monkeys

Selected Accommodation

Just one lodge here at present, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, the most luxurious place to stay when visiting Volcanoes National Park and gorilla trekking. The other upmarket alternative at this location is Volcanoes Virunga Lodge which has superb views over the twin lakes.

Rwanda

For a small country in the heart of Africa, Rwanda is packed with some of the world's great wildlife experiences, an overwhelming beauty in the landscape and some of Africa's friendliest peoples. Now many years on from the genocide of the 1990s, Rwanda is a stable country developing quickly.

The popularity of Rwanda is not hard to discern. The gorilla trekking among the Virunga volcanoes is a short 2 - 3 hour drive from the capital Kigali, making it readily accessible for short breaks from the UK and Europe or as an add-on to a safari in East Africa. However, to do this short trip and only visit the gorillas in their mountain home is to miss so much of this little country.

Approximately one third of mountain gorillas, Gorilla beringei beringei, live on the slopes of three dormant volcanoes in the north of Rwanda on the border with Uganda and the DRC within Parc National des Volcans (PNV) or Volcanoes National Park. The population is increasing and the individual groups are in a state of flux with maturing individuals leaving and sometimes groups splitting. Of course they are also free to wander through the forest and across the borders into neighbouring countries. The mountain gorillas living in Virungas are considered by some to be a separate subspecies to those living in the montane cloudforests of Bwindi in Uganda; however, this has not been confirmed.

Conservationists have split the Virungas gorillas into habituated and non-habituated groups. The habituated groups are divided between researchers and tourists. Currently there are 6 groups which tourists can visit and gorilla trekking can take between 30 minutes to 5 hours or more dependent upon where the group you are visiting is currently residing in the mountains. There are only 56 gorilla trekking permits issued each day and the gorilla groups you may trek are Sabyinyo, Amahoro, Umubano, Susa, Kwitonda, Agashya (or Group 13) and Hirwa. Once you reach your assigned group you are allowed one hour with them.

What cannot really be written in words is the emotional aspect of a gorilla trek, perhaps working hard to climb through the forests and be rewarded with face to face encounters with one of our closest living species. This is a moving and enthralling experience that is like no other. Recognising their features, actions, reactions and socialisation in ourselves is humbling and is perhaps the reason why gorilla trekking safaris are so special. Of course payment for the permits also helps protect this endangered species.

Another endangered primate species also inhabits the bamboo forests of PNV, in fact here and in Nyungwe are the only places golden guenon or golden monkey, Cercopithecus mitis kandti, live. They are a subspecies of blue monkey and currently 2 groups are habituated and visiting them gives you an insight into another endangered primate species and benefits researchers still learning about the requirements of these monkeys. The walk to these monkeys is shorter than to the gorillas and makes a good option for a second trek in the park.

Nyungwe Forest in the south is a very scenic national park of montane forest and home to a number of other primate species including chimpanzees and huge troupes of colobus monkeys. You are also likely to see L'Hoest's along the roadsides. For those keen on bird watching this region has approximately 24 Albertine Rift endemics such as the Regal sunbird. The park now has a choice of accommodation and can be reached from Kigali in a day.

In the east is the rolling lowland savannah of Akagera National Park with its series of lakes and wetlands as well as typical African bush. The park is being restocked and there is an increasing amount of wildlife. Again, like Nyungwe, Akagera is a top spot for birding with papyrus gonalek and shoebill present in the reed beds. In fact Rwanda is a great bird watching destination and combined with Uganda would make a fabulous tour. A day or two on safari in Akagera is a great addition to a tour in Rwanda and highly recommended, especially now that the new tented camp at Ruzizi has opened, making for a comfortable stay in the park.

The west of Rwanda is bordered by Lake Kivu, a very scenic lake with islands, beaches and small lakeside towns including Gisenyi and Kibuye which can make a relaxing place to stay during a tour of the country.

Seasons

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Rwanda Travel Information

CAPITAL Kigali

TIME ZONE GMT +2 hours

FLIGHTS

To: Kigali
Airlines: Kenya Airways, KLM, SN Brussels, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines
Flight time: approx. 9.5 hours

HEALTH

Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis A, Meningitis vaccinations and Malaria prophylaxis are recommended. You should consult your G.P. for up to date and precise details before travelling.

WEATHER

Rwanda is a year round destination although there are two distinct periods when you may experience rains, these are late- April - June and October - November. The rains are usually in the late afternoons and overnight with bright sunny mornings. However, it may of course rain much of the day although this is usually unlikely.

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