Gorillas in the Mist: Gorilla Forests & Golden Monkeys
Kigali & Virungas Volcanoes
There are journeys, and then there are once-in-a-lifetime experiences that few have experienced and many will not believe. This experience is one of them, and its length makes it an excellent addition to other East African countries. Explore the Virunga Volcanoes in search of mountain gorillas, roughly half of the world’s wild population of mountain gorillas in this picturesque and densely forested area. This itinerary is ideal for wildlife enthusiasts who are both repeat and new travelers to the African continent. You will have the life changing opportunity to view mountain gorillas in their natural habitat at the Parc National des Volcans. Kick-start your adventure in Kigali, where excursions include an insightful trip to the Genocide Museum and a journey to the bustling fruit market. Experience lunch at the Hotel Mille Collines (featured in the movie Hotel Rwanda) and take an exhilarating ride through town on the back of a motorbike taxi.
- 5-Day/4-Night Gorilla Trekking to visit the habituated gorillas of Rwanda
- 4 nights deluxe accommodations to include the magnificent Virunga Lodge perched high on a ridge with stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes and the twin lakes Bulera and Ruhonda; and the Kigali Serena Hotel located in the ambassadorial and commercial heart of Rwanda
- Breathtaking wildlife and cultural experiences, including two full days of gorilla trekking; Chose from a wide range of activities from tracking golden monkeys; visiting local villages to see first-hand their efforts of sustainable development and critical initiatives they are undertaking to enhance their futures or trek to Dian Fossey and Digits grave.
- City touring consisting of a visit to the bustling food markets, a pottery project, handicraft shops and the genocide memorial; lunch at the famous Hotel Mille Collines featured in the movie Hotel Rwanda.
- Optional personalized trip extensions to include visiting local villages in Rwanda, Uganda, East Africa or Madagascar.
Itinerary & Destination Background:
Most flights from the USA arrive late in the evening. You will be met at the airport and taken to your hotel for the evening.
Accommodations: Kigali Serena Hotel
Meet your private guide to visit the highly moving Genocide Museum. Your guide will drive you to the beautiful Virunga Lodge where you will enjoy stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes while preparing for the exciting days ahead. Spend your first day trekking among the gorillas of Volcanoes National Park with an expert guide and tracker. Tracking the gorillas on the slopes of the Virungas is a magical experience. The group you visit will be determined based on your fitness level and the location of the various groups in the park the previous evening. Very few travelers are lucky enough to be able to visit gorillas in their natural habitat, and the photographic opportunities available on this journey will astound you. If you are lucky you can get to the gorillas, spend an hour with them, and be back in time for a late lunch! Some gorilla families however are more elusive, and tracking can take a full day, especially when it is wet and muddy. However, falling under the gaze of a great silverback makes any trek seem worth it. Return to the lodge to take advantage of your complimentary massage or watch the vivacious Intore Dancers, who are supported through the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust.
Accommodations: Virunga Lodge
Today provides another opportunity to see the mountain gorillas. A second day of Gorilla Trekking is highly recommended. Why? The first day is filled with awe and excitement- and abundant picture taking! The second trek- take time to marvel in the magnificence of the Silverbacks and their families, watching in silence observing these elusive primates. Relax at the lodge by the open fire on your return.
Accommodations: Virunga Lodge
- Partake in one of the many activities available from Virunga Lodge. These include:
- Tracking the rare golden monkeys (only found in this region of the world).
- Drive to Gisenyi to see Lake Kivu, one of Africa’s Great Lakes. From birds to local businesses, life is always bustling around the lake. You can also visit a coffee plantation on the way.
- Visit Ros Carr’s orphanage where you will have an hour to learn about the critical work done here and play with the enthusiastic children.
- You can also trek to see Dian Fossey’s grave, where the famous primatologist worked at the Karisoke Research Centre.
- Climb the Visoke or Muhavura volcanoes, which provide fantastic opportunities to see Rwanda’s magnificent landscape.
- Visit a local Briquette community project. This project aims to train and support Rwandans in the production and selling of fuel briquettes. These are cheap, environmentally friendly coal-alternatives, which not only help to increase the income of locals but also reduce illegal tree harvesting.
Accommodations: Virunga Lodge
Wake up to savor that view one more time, eat breakfast, and then start the three hour drive back to Kigali. With time permitting in Kigali, your private guide can a tour of this remarkable city including a visit to the bustling market, a pottery project and handicraft shops with lunch at the Hotel Mille Collines made famous by the movie “Hotel Rwanda” which told the story of how the hotel and its staff provided sanctuary for a thousand people during the genocide in 1994. It is truly the real deal. For your last adventure in Rwanda, have your airport transfer on the back of a local motorbike taxi in time for your flight home!
This Journeys-Yacht & Travel Company sample itinerary for independent travel is provided merely as a glimpse of the type of customized travel experiences we create. We would be delighted in developing a travel program for you or a group based on your preferences.