4 days

Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda

Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda

Gorilla trekking in Parc National des Volcans

Kigali's Genocide Memorial - a monument to the courage and resilience of the Rwandan people

Trip rating
  • Your time spent with Rwanda's gorillas, crouched quietly together in the mountain cloudforest, will be an experience that you carry with you always. The people and landscapes of Rwanda provide an extraordinary backdrop to this moving journey.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Kigali - Kinigi Village

    On arrival at Kigali Airport you are met by our local representatives. You must arrive in Kigali before 2.30pm. If your flight does not arrive before 2.30pm, you need to arrive one day earlier and book one night's pre-tour accommodation (additional cost).

    Please make sure you've read the visa information for Rwanda on your pre-departure information before you depart as you're required to apply for your visa before arrival.

    Our tour begins with a drive through the verdant rolling hills of Rwanda. Our accommodation is located in the Kinigi region, approximately 17km from Musanze town (formerly Ruhengeri). The lodge is nestled on the scenic lower slopes of Sabinyo Volcano - one of five volcanoes located in the Parc National des Volcans.

    Mountain Gorilla View Lodge or similar
    Dinner

    Day 2 - Parc National des Volcans (Gorilla Trekking Day)

    This morning we have a very early start driving to the park headquarters where we are briefed on our gorilla trek by the guides of Parc National des Volcans. This 13,000 hectare national park protects the Rwandan sector of the Virunga Mountains and includes a range of six extinct and three active volcanoes that straddle the border with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Bamboo forest is interspersed with alpine moorland, grassland and marshland. In this park, there are ten different gorilla families - Group 13, Sabinyo, Amahoro, Umubano, Susa, Kwitonda which has recently arrived from the DRC and are now settled in Rwanda and the Hirwa group, newly formed from different habituated families.

    Gorilla trekking is highly controlled with only 80 gorilla trekking permits available each day. Once a trekking group encounters one of the gorilla families, only one hour is granted in the presence of the great apes before trekkers must leave the family, however reluctantly.

    The trek can be strenuous and may reach altitudes of almost 3000 metres above sea level. Depending on weather conditions, some of the paths can be slippery and these paths themselves can change depending on the location of the gorillas. Hence it is very hard to predict how long we need to walk for, but a very good level of fitness is recommended for everyone taking on this trek, as it may take anything between 40 minutes and five hours to reach our designated gorilla family. The trackers have already set out and located the gorilla family by the time we start our trek, so our actual time of walking can usually be predicted when we set off.

    Generally the time spent walking is not as long as for a similar activity in Uganda. All this may seem like hard work, but the end result is one you are sure to cherish forever, as to stand so close to these amazing animals is indeed an emotional experience. As lunch can only be taken upon return to the hotel, it is recommended that you bring a few snacks to keep you going throughout the morning. At the end of the day the comforts of the hotel beckon, along with a chance to reflect on what is sure to be a truly memorable day.

    Mountain Gorilla View Lodge or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 3 - Optional Extra Trek - Kigali

    Today is a day of various trekking options. You may choose to visit another gorilla family, see the rare golden monkey or take a hike up to the grave of Dian Fossey and the remains of the Old Karisoke Research Station. These options must be pre-booked and confirmed at time of purchase of the main tour, in order to ensure availability. Gorilla trekking permits in particular can be booked out many months in advance.

    For those who loved the book and/or movie 'Gorillas in the Mist', the Dian Fossey Trek is a good option. Over the course of the morning you follow in Dian Fossey's footsteps on our way to her grave, as well as the graves belonging to many poached gorillas including famous Digit. You are guided around the area where Old Karisoke Research Station was set up by a park guide. Although very little of the station remains, the setting is incredible and one can imagine the incredible life that Dian Fossey led in these isolated mountains.

    For a more leisurely but equally unique experience, trekking in search of golden monkeys is highly recommended. In June 2003 the Nationals Parks Department first allowed permits to walk the trails in search of these rare and engaging primates. This walk takes you to the edge of the forest and watching these unique monkeys play and interact is a mesmerising experience. Please note that the roads leading to both of the above treks are not in the best of conditions, so be prepared for rough and bumpy rides! We then travel back to Kigali late in the afternoon or early in the evening. 

    Dinner tonight is at your own expense and can be enjoyed at one of the many good nearby restaurants.

    Lemingo Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 4 - Kigali

    This morning we are taken on a city tour of Kigali, including the Genocide Museum which was opened in 2004 to mark the tenth anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Whilst the genocide occurred as a result of a complex series of factors, it can only be seen as an absolute tragedy to Rwanda and its people. Time spent at the museum is sure to be emotionally moving, but it is an important way to understand the sheer courage and resilience of the people of this beautiful, tiny nation. We are then transferred to Kigali International Airport, arriving there about midday. Please note that your international departure flights from Kigali today should not be booked to depart before 2pm.

    Any additional post-tour accommodation in Kigali or individual departure transfers are not included and must be pre-booked. The Lemigo Hotel offers a free shuttle service to the Airport. Please enquire with Reception upon arrival if you wish to use this service.

    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of Peregrine‚Äôs expert English-speaking local tour guide
    • Arrival and departure transfers
    • Gorilla trek in Parc National des Volcans, with one pre-purchased gorilla trekking permit
    • Free day in Parc National des Volcans for further optional excursions
    • City tour of Kigali including the Genocide Museum (including entrance fees where applicable)

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Airport departure taxes
    • Visas
    • Meals not specified in the itinerary
    • Insurance
    • Optional tours or activities during free time
    • Tips for your local guides

    Safety Information

    It is recommended that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information prior to your departure.

    Peregrine strongly recommends the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Please leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Most of our hotels will have a safety deposit box, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and Peregrine makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
    Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING CONDITIONS:
    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Be aware that traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home.

    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    SWIMMING POOLS:
    You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.

    BALCONIES:
    Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.

    SEAT BELTS:
    Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.

  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda

    Eve - Buckinghamshire, UK, 01 Oct, 2012
    5
    Overall Rating

    Visiting the gorillas was the highlight of our trip.  Rwanda is a beautiful place and the people in the highlands are of beautiful spirit. 

    Be prepared for some very rough roads and some questionable driving.  If you enjoy dodgem cars then you will enjoy the ride.

    Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda

    Louise - Travancore, VIC, 01 Oct, 2012
    5
    Overall Rating

    Trip Leader Innocent was fantastic, went out of his way to be flexible and welcoming! Accommodation was beautiful and meals were great at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge. We had a fantastic trip and the gorilla trek was amazing. 

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PFRG
Start City: Kigali, Rwanda
End City: Kigali, Rwanda

What to know

At time of booking, an additional gorilla trekking permit, hike to Dian Fossey’s grave or golden monkeys trek may be booked at additional cost and subject to availability. This trip can be run with a minimum of one person provided a solo surcharge is paid in addition to the tour price.

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