DAY 1: ARRIVE IN KIGALI & VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
On the first day of your 6 Days gorilla safaris, your Gorilla Cousins Rwanda tour guide will pick up at the Kigali International Airport and brief you on your upcoming 6 Days gorilla safaris. Your journey will begin immediately you are in the vehicle in the parking lot; heading off to Volcanoes National park, a two and a half hour drive. Time permitting, your Gorilla Cousins Rwanda guide will give you a tour of Kigali city; this will include the Genocide Memorial Center, the most famous attraction in the Capital City.
You will then drive the two and a half hours it takes to Volcanoes National Park and check in at your accommodation. Dinner will be served at your lodge.
DAY 2: MOUNTAIN GORILLA TRACKING & IBYLWACU CULTURAL CENTER
On the second day of your 6 Days gorilla safaris, you will get up early in the morning, be served a quick breakfast at your lodgings and head off to the Park Headquarters of Volcanoes National Park. Upon arrival at the Park Headquarters, you will be served coffee or tea, while a local cultural group entertain you with a local dance and drumming routine. Shortly thereafter, the final paperwork will be finished, and you will be assigned to one of the 10 families of Mountain Gorillas. A short briefing and talk about park etiquette will be given by your Park Ranger and then you will be ready to head off to the track for your search for the gorillas.
You will then drive to the starting point for your tracking. Because the Mountain Gorillas are forever moving about the forest, it could take anywhere from an hour to 8 hours to meet up with the particular Gorilla Family you have been assigned to. There are rangers in the forest following the trail left by the Gorillas in the early morning; these rangers are in constant contact with your Ranger Guide. When the Gorillas are spotted, your Ranger Guide will then be alerted and you will proceed to the exact location that they are at that moment. We highly suggest you take a few snacks with you and water, should you be in the forest for many hours; these snacks you will have to eat either before or after meeting the Gorillas, as it is not permitted to eat in front of them. When you finally meet up with the Gorilla Family, you will be allowed one hour of observing and photographing.
After the Gorilla Tracking, you will return to your accommodation for lunch and a little rest. There is an opportunity for your Gorilla Cousins Rwanda guide to take you to the Ibyiwacu Cultural Center in Kiningi. Here at the Center you can watch local drummers and dancers perform their native music and dance moves. In addition, the local people put on costumes and recreate a traditional wedding ceremony for their guests, a most interesting drama to watch.
Before night fall, you will be returned to your accommodation for dinner.
DAY 3: GOLDEN MONKEY TRACKING & MUSANZE CAVES
After an early morning breakfast on the third day of your 6 Days gorilla safaris, you will be taken to the Park Headquarters, as for the Gorilla Tracking. Again, you will be served coffee and tea while you get an opportunity to be entertained by the local drummers and dancers. Afterwards, you will be assigned to your Golden Monkey Tracking group with a Park Ranger; you will then be highlighted on the tracking procedure and protocol for the Park. After this orientation, you will be taken to the location of the start of the tracking into the forest.
Unlike the Mountain Gorilla Tracking, the Golden Monkey tracking does not take as long, in terms of meeting up with the primates, as they are usually feeding in the Bamboo Forest at the base of the mountain. You will get to spend an hour with the Golden Monkeys, after which you will then return to your vehicle and re-unite with the GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide, who will escort you back to your accommodation for lunch.
After lunch, you will be taken to the Musanze Caves, a short distance from your accommodation. These caves have been used by local people to live in; now they are an attraction for visitors. The largest of the caves is 2 kilometers in length.
You will be taken back to your accommodation before night fall. Dinner will be at your accommodation.
DAY 4: BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST (UGANDA)
After breakfast on the fourth day of your 6 Days gorilla safaris, your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will drive you from your lodge in Volcanoes National Park to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. The route will take you back through Kigali, a 2-hour drive, and then a 1.5 hour drive from Kigali to the Rwanda/Uganda border. After clearing Customs and Immigration, you will proceed to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a 2.5 hour drive. You will go directly to your accommodation.
You will be served lunch at your accommodation. After lunch, your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide is available to take you to one of the local towns near the lodge, where you can immerse yourself in a bit of Ugandan culture. Alternately, if you prefer to rest up for the early morning coming up, that is fine.
DAY 5: GORILLA TRACKING (BWINDI)
After breakfast on the fifth day of your 6 Days gorilla safaris, your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will take you to the Park Ranger station in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for your orientation with the Rangers, giving you some basic information on the Gorilla Tracking and some of the park etiquette. You will then be assigned to a particular Gorilla Family and a ranger-led group. After all the paperwork is done, your Ranger guide will escort you to the starting point for the Tracking to begin. As in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, it is uncertain as to how long it may take for you to meet up with your particular Gorilla Family; this could take anywhere from 1 to 8 hours, depending on where the Gorillas are in the park.
Your accommodation will prepare for you a packaged lunch to take with; this will have to be eaten either before or after your Gorilla encounter, as no food can be consumed when with the Gorillas. You will be allowed to spend up to an hour with the Gorilla Family, after which you will return to your vehicle and be re-united with your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide.
In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest there are many walking trails that you could explore in the afternoon if you would like, alternately, you may just wish to relax at the lodge and enjoy the beautiful views of the Virungas in the distance and the forest around the lodge.
Dinner will be served at your accommodation.
DAY 6: RETURN TO KIGALI & GENOCIDE MEMORIAL CENTER
After breakfast on the last day of your 6 Days gorilla safaris, your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will take you back to Kigali for your onward flight. This will be the reverse of the journey you did a couple of days previously; first a 2.5 hour drive from Bwindi National Park in Uganda to the Uganda/Rwanda border. After clearing customs and immigration on both sides of the border, you will then drive the 1.5 hours to Kigali. Your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will take you to a local Rwandese restaurant in Kigali for some traditional food for you to taste.
If time permits, your guide will take you to the Genocide Memorial Center in Kigali, a museum set up to commemorate the Holocaust of 1994. When the time is right, your guide will escort you to the airport to catch your flight.
End of tour