Our I day Rwanda Gorilla trekking tour is tailored for visitors who have already lived in Rwanda and want to go for a quick tour of one of the Gorilla families in the Volcanoes National Park.
The Volcanoes National Park is found in Musanze district in the north-western part of Rwanda. The park is characterized by open grasslands, bamboo forests and swamps. The Volcanoes National Park once stretched all the way to parts of the Virunga National Park in the current Democratic Republic of Congo. When the two countries got independence, the park was reduced to its current size. The park sits in one of Africa’s most mountainous zones including five volcanoes – Karisimbi, Sabinyo, Bisoke, Muhavura and Gahinga. Mount Karisimbi is the highest of them all at 4,507 meters. The Volcanoes National Park is bordered by the Virunga National Park in DR Congo and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda.
The Volcanoes National park is home to over 200 species of birds, hyenas, forest elephants, buffaloes and antelopes. The key wildlife attractions are the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. Mountain gorillas, also known as Gorilla beringei-beringei are arguably the most fascinating creatures on earth. They are creatures that resemble and behave like man. Mountain Gorillas live in peaceful and organized families led by a dominant male. The dominant silverback dictates everything that happens in the family calmly but will use force if necessary. Their close resemblance to humans and endangered status is why a gorilla permit in Rwanda costs $1500 even before factoring in accommodation, transport and other expenses. The gorilla trekking experience is worth every penny. You would be one of the lucky few to see the primates in the wild considering that they don’t exist in zoos. Moreover, you get to contribute towards the conservation of these amazing primates.
Like mountain gorillas, the golden monkeys are endangered and live off the bamboo shoots in the park. Golden monkeys are very cute, shy and playful primates. There only enemies are the African Eagle. If interested in the monkeys you might interested in the 3 Days Rwanda gorilla tour and golden monkeys.
The volcanoes national park was the base of a great primatologist called Dian Fossey. She established her base between Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke in 1967 after invitation from Richard Leakey. Dian Fossey helped bring to the attention of the world the plight of the mountain gorillas that were facing eminent extinction as a result of poaching. She went away from concentrating solely on research but also to conservation. As an active conservationist, Fossey went after the poachers with her team of armed guards. Her brutal murder in 1985 is attributed to her strong stance against poachers. She left a great legacy behind and her work continues through the Dian Fossey Gorilla Foundation.
The Rwanda Development Board is responsible for managing the park and its activities. Apart from gorilla trekking, the mountains, golden monkeys and visiting the grave of Dian Fossey, visitors can also tour the Musanze caves, the twin lakes (Burera and Ruhondo) and the Iby’iwacu Cultural Centre in our 3 Days Rwanda Gorilla Tour offer.
Visitors can plan to fly over for a day or two just to track gorillas or combine it with one of the above activities. There are several groups/ families to choose from and it’s important to select one based on your overall fitness. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda can be challenging but the experience of finally seeing mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is beyond what you can imagine. The one hour spent with the gorillas in the wild is indeed a lifetime experience.
Our guide from safari vacations and travel services will pick you from your hotel by 5:00 am early morning to set off for Kinigi where the volcanoes national park offices are located. The drive is approximately 2-3 hours through a beautiful mountainous country side which will confirm to you why Rwanda is referred to as “The Land of a thousand hills”.
You will arrive at the Kinigi offices by 7:00 am in time for the usual briefing from a head guide on the rules and procedures to be followed while watching mountain gorillas. Once you are done with the briefing, you can then proceed to track the gorilla family. Once you spot the gorillas, follow instructions from the guides. Watching mountain gorillas is breath taking. You could spend hours just watching the little ones roll around and play – Unfortunately, you will only have one hour with these mighty apes. Mountain Gorillas are very playful and curious and will often come close you. Once again, while with the gorillas, listen to instructions from your guide and always stay calm. Never make sudden movements.
After gorilla trekking you will descend the forest and head back to Kigali reaching late in the evening to catch up with your flight should it be on the same day.
Lodges and Hotels
Amakoro Songa Lodge:
Amakoro is a luxury Eco-tourism lodge built close to Kinigi in an area with remarkable scenery. The name Amakoro refers to the black volcanic rocks commonly seen around the three volcanoes in the area. Amakoro Songa Lodge has 8 luxury cottages that are made with quality local materials. The rooms are spacious, comfortable and warm with beautiful surrounding gardens. The hotel chefs serve both local and international dishes. All the spices and vegetables in the kitchen are grown from the hotels own gardens or bought from the local market.
Some of the other amenities include massage and an out-door fireplace where visitors gather to party, drink and discuss the day’s events. The lodge also organizes traditional performances from local cultural entertainment teams every evening around the fireplace. Residents can choose to visit the nearby village and take part in traditional dances, tree planting or community cleaning. A guest can request to visit a specific home and learn about life in a rural African home or listen to the old people sharing stories about the country’s past. Amakoro is very close to the park offices and is a great choice for those who have come for gorilla trekking or climbing one of the volcanoes.
Kinigi Guest House:
This budget hotel is built on the lower slopes of Mount Sabyinyo outside the town of Ruhengeri and very close to the park headquarters. The Guest house stands out for its unique scenery and amazing views of the Volcanoes in the park. The Guest house has 20 rooms that are all self-contained and with warm showers. Of recent, they have introduced a VIP room with extra comfort and. The hotel even has dormitories for large groups of students or tourists visiting the volcanoes national park.
\Those with personal tents can camp at the hotel gardens. Hotel staff are very friendly, knowledgeable about the area and will go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. The hotel ensures that the local people benefit by employing them as staff or buy fresh food from their gardens. The hotel prepares tasty local and international cuisines. If one is interested in a particular cuisine, they can order for it in advance. Other amenities in the hotel include a well-stocked bar, restaurant, lounge area and large parking space. Most of the money generated form the guesthouse goes back to the community because it is run by a cooperative for the local women.
This is a mid-range hotel built very close to the volcanoes national park. The hotel has 12 high quality self-contained rooms and 2 separate luxury suites which are built with local material and surrounded by well-manicured gardens. All the rooms have working desks, a verandah, hot shower, televisions, telephones, clean towels and wireless internet among other things. The hotel also has a bar that is stocked with local and international drinks. Businessmen can take advantage of the hotels meeting and conference facilities while on safari, workshop or meeting. Staff in La Palme Hotel are well trained and know how to handle international and local visitors.
Safari vacations and travel services assists clients in arranging and clearly planning of the safari and continues to acquire the chimpanzee and gorilla tracking permits for clients’ behalf, we ensure that no delays or any inconveniences on your trip, we arrange accommodation, and transport with a knowledgeable driver guide from our team.