Trek Africa Expeditions specializes in immersive Rwanda walking tours amidst Africa’s lush natural wonders. Among its renowned offerings are the captivating Rwanda Gorilla Walking Tours and Safaris. This exceptional experience unveils the world of the Mountain Gorillas, the largest primates globally and one of the most endangered species on the planet. The heart-wrenching threats of poaching and habitat destruction have left just 1040 Mountain Gorillas remaining in the wild, with the majority residing in the Virunga ranges, and a precious population inhabiting Rwanda and Uganda.
Distinctive from their arboreal counterparts, Mountain Gorillas are terrestrial creatures, favoring open canopy forests where sunlight bathes the forest floor. Their herbivorous diet includes roots, leaves, vines, stems, and bamboo.
While capable of bipedal movement, Mountain Gorillas are primarily knuckle walkers, ambling on all fours. Females choose their mates based on their protective abilities, and Gorilla groups range from mated pairs to sizable assemblies of up to thirty individuals. Typically, Gorilla “families” consist of approximately nine members.
Male Mountain Gorillas stand tall at around six feet and weigh up to 200 kilograms, while females are smaller, measuring less than five feet in height and weighing around 100 kilograms. Despite their considerable size, Mountain Gorillas exhibit limited territorial range, generally preferring a relatively compact area within their habitat.
Volcanoes National Park is nestled in the charming village of Musanze, formerly known as Ruhengeri. This location is highly accessible via public transport from Gisenyi, Kigali City, or Kigali International Airport. The journey to Volcanoes National Park takes approximately 2-3 hours, enabling same-day Gorilla tracking with a return trip to Kigali. It’s essential to arrive at the National Park headquarters in Kinigi by 7:00 am for Gorilla tracking. Please note that there is no public transport available from Musanze to the National Park headquarters at Kinigi.
Rwanda extends a warm invitation for Gorilla tracking throughout the year. However, some seasons offer more favorable conditions. The dry seasons, spanning December to early March and June to September, are highly recommended for travel. December to March marks an extended dry period, with temperatures occasionally reaching 29 degrees Celsius. Conversely, March to mid-May and July to September are characterized as the rainy seasons.
Rwanda boasts generally favorable weather year-round, but the dry season holds distinct advantages. The dry season promises an excellent climate for wildlife viewing and Gorilla tracking, with minimal rain during the trek and favorable hiking conditions in the rainforest. It’s advisable to pack waterproof clothing, even during the drier months, as the equatorial climate can be unpredictable. Furthermore, the dry season is a peak tourist season, potentially resulting in higher prices for accommodation and other services.
Conversely, some travelers, especially those on a budget, may opt for the wet season. During this period, hotels often offer reduced rates for food and lodging due to lower occupancy rates. Additionally, there is reduced demand for Gorilla permits, ensuring visitors a chance to encounter these endangered species without competition.
Upon arrival at Kigali International Airport, you’ll be greeted by our knowledgeable driver/guide. Your adventure begins with a complimentary tour of Kigali City, a locale adorned with lush green hills, aptly dubbed the “land of a thousand hills.” Explore captivating attractions, including the craft market, Gisozi Genocide Memorial site, and Kigali museum. Following your city exploration, embark on a journey to Ruhengeri, Rwanda’s second-largest town, framed by the breathtaking backdrop of five volcanic mountains, the Virungas. Arriving at your hotel in the late afternoon, savor a delightful dinner and settle in for an overnight stay.
Drive time: 2-3 hours
Kickstart your day with an early breakfast before heading to the National Park headquarters. Here, you’ll meet your ranger guides for an unforgettable Gorilla tracking experience. After completing park formalities, embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to track Mountain Gorillas. Once you encounter these magnificent creatures, you’ll be allowed to spend an awe-inspiring hour in their company. This is truly one of the most breathtaking wildlife encounters on Earth. You’ll come face to face with these majestic giants, mutually gazing into each other’s eyes, a silent testament to the profound connection between humans and Gorillas. Tracking Mountain Gorillas through the dappled sunlight of the mountain forest on the Virunga slopes is a magical odyssey. These magnificent primates are exceptionally rare, with fewer than 900 individuals remaining. You’ll have the extraordinary privilege of approaching them within just seven meters. The trek may be moderately challenging, lasting up to six hours or more at relatively high altitudes. To enhance your enjoyment, we recommend being in good physical condition. Return to your hotel for lunch, followed by dinner and an overnight stay. If time permits, you may also visit the Iby I’wacu cultural village, immersing yourself in the rich heritage of former poachers, and concluding the day with cultural entertainment.
Embark on an early start, savoring a hearty breakfast, and then proceed to the National Park offices for registration and a comprehensive briefing regarding the Dian Fossey grave hike. This trek is one of the most coveted hiking experiences when visiting Volcanoes National Park for a Gorilla safari. The adventure commences with a 30-minute drive from the park headquarters to the trailhead, granting access to the Karisoke research camp. From here, a 10-minute walk takes you to the National park boundary, where your one-to-one-and-a-half-hour journey to the Dian Fossey’s resting place begins. Along the way, you’ll be treated to captivating sightings of forest hogs, forest elephants, a variety of primates, and a plethora of bird species. Hiking to Dian Fossey’s grave is often an excellent complement to other tourism activities in Rwanda, including Gorilla tracking, golden monkey tracking, volcano hiking, caving, and visits to Bulere and Buhondo twin lakes.
After breakfast, bid farewell to your gracious hosts and commence your journey back to Kigali. Take advantage of some last-minute shopping in one of Africa’s most hospitable capitals before arriving at the airport for your onward international flight.
Drive time: 2-3 hours End of service
Contact Trek Africa Expeditions to secure your spots for Rwanda Gorilla Walking Tours and Safaris. Our comprehensive safari packages include Gorilla permits at $1500 per person per trek, accommodation, transportation, and airport transfers. Experience the wonder of the Mountain Gorillas and Rwanda’s natural beauty like never before.