DAY 1: KIGALI AND TRANSFER TO VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK
Your Gorilla Cousins Rwanda guide will meet your flight at Kigale International Airport and give you a brief summary of the upcoming itinerary. Immediately, you will drive to the town of Kisoro, Uganda. You will proceed to the Rwanda/Uganda border by way of Ruhengeri, in Northern Rwanda, and after proceeding through customs and immigration, continue on to Kisoro. The total trip time should be about 4 hours. Your guide will take you to your accommodation in Kisoro, where you will sleep overnight.
DAY 2: MOUNTAIN GORILLA TRACKING AND RETURN TO KIGALI.
After an early breakfast, your Gorilla Cousins Rwanda guide will take you to the Uganda/DRC border, a 30 minute drive. After crossing at the DRC town of Bunagana you will proceed to the Virunga National Park Headquarters. Here you will register for your Mountain Gorilla Tracking and be assigned to a Gorilla Family, after which you will begin your Mountain Gorilla Trek.
When you have exhausted the allotted one hour limit with the Mountain Gorillas, you will reunite with your Gorilla Cousins Rwanda guide, who will then escort you back to Kigali, the route you came the previous day, crossing the DRC/Uganda border and then the Uganda/Rwanda border. If time permits, your guide will take you on a tour of the cultural sites in Kigali, including the Genocide Memorial Center.
VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK INFORMATION
VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK is Africa’s oldest national park and the continent’s most biologically diverse protected area. The park is 3000 square miles in size and includes forests, savannas, lava plains, swamps, erosion valleys, active volcanoes and the glaciated peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains.
Here in Virunga National Park, live one quarter of the world’s endangered Mountain Gorillas; there are two other Great Ape species as well, the Eastern Lowland Gorilla (Grauer’s Gorilla) and Chimpanzees. Virunga National Park is the only protected area in the world that hosts three of the Great Apes. Here in Virunga National Park one can Trek Mountain Gorillas one day, Eastern Lowland Gorillas the second day and Chimp Tracking the third day. Another endangered species, The Okapi, that resembles a zebra but is more closely related to the Giraffe, can be seen in the park. There are also large colonies of hippopotami, forest and savanna elephants, lions and numerous rare bird species.
The park is divided into three distinct areas. The Northern Sector is defined by the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains that border Uganda. The snowmelt from the Rwenzoris is one of the primary sources of the Nile River. Here, along the Semiliki River valley, the Okapis can be found. The park’s Central Sector is defined by Lake Edward, the Ishasha River valley and the Rwindi plains. Lake Edward contains over 50 species of fish as well as numerous bird species. Here by the lake and adjacent Ishasha River valley you will find the park’s recovering hippo population and the highest concentrations of elephant, buffalo and warthogs. The Rwindi plains is the area that the Topi can be found. The Southern Sector is best known for the Mountain Gorillas that live on the flanks of the dormant Mikeno Volcano. Most of Southern Virunga is covered with dense forests, which make an ideal habitat for Chimpanzees and numerous species of Monkey.