Brief description of itinerary
From the thrilling gorilla tracking and golden monkey tracking at the volcanoes national park to yet another huge primate safaris consisting of chimpanzee tracking at Nyungwe forest national park giving travelers on primate watch safaris a full package of their Rwanda Tours.
|Tour Rates (Price Person -pp)|
|2||$1975 pp||$2495 pp||$2545 pp|
|4||$1685 pp||$2180 pp||$2230 pp|
|6||$1575 pp||$2045 pp||$2145 pp|
DAY 1: ARRIVE IN KIGALI & VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
In your trip to Rwanda,Your Gorilla Cousins Rwanda tour guide will pick up at the Kigali International Airport and brief you on your upcoming 6-day Rwanda Gorilla Tracking safari. . 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 Rwanda 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
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 for an afternoon forest walk.
Before night fall, you will be returned to your accommodation for dinner.
DAY 3: GOLDEN MONKEY TRACKING & MUSANZE CAVES
After an early morning breakfast, 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: BUTARE & NYUNGWE NATIONAL FOREST
After breakfast, your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will take you to Nyungwe National Forest for you to go on the Chimpanzee Tracking. The journey is about 5 hours in total; you will stop in Butare, the Intellectual Capital of Rwanda on the way; it is about half way between Volcanoes and Nyungwe National Forests. Butare is basically a university city; here there are a number of institutions of higher learning, including a prominent Seminary. Butare is a great cultural pitstop between the Gorilla Tracking and the Chimpanzee Tracking. There are museums to visit, shops to look at and good restaurants.
Lunch will be in Butare; your guide will take you to a Rwandese restaurant so you can try local traditional food.
When you are finished with your tour of Butare, your guide will take you on to Nyungwe National Forest; directly to your accommodation for checking in a rest after the day of traveling.
DAY 5: CHIMPANZEE TRACKING & CANOPY WALK
After breakfast, your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will escort you to the Park Ranger’s headquarters in Nyungwe Forest National Park to organize the last minute details of your Chimpanzee Tracking. The Chimpanzees are very different in many ways from the Gorillas, and how to find them in the forest is no exception; the Chimpanzees are moving about in the trees and on the forest floor….making lots of noise and swinging from branch to branch. It will not take long for the Chimpanzees to find you; a totally different scenario from the Gorillas as well. In many cases they will come and take your hand and walk together on the path or just follow
you along; whatever they are up to it is not unusual for the Chimpanzees to engage physically with you.
The time with the Chimpanzees is an hour or so, and when your time is up the Ranger guide that is accompanying you, will escort you back to your vehicle and you will re-unite with your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide, and return to your accommodation for lunch.
After lunch, your guide will escort you to the track that takes you to the Canopy Walk; a 50 meter suspension bridge which is above the tree tops in the forest. This is quite an incredible experience, getting a bird eye’s view of the forest and its inhabitants.
When you are finished, you will be guided back to your vehicle and your GORILLA COUSINS RWANDA guide will take you back to your accommodation.Dinner is at your accommodation.
DAY 6: RETURN TO KIGALI & GENOCIDE MEMORIAL CENTER
After breakfast, 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.
NYUNGWE NATIONAL PARK
Nyungwe National Park is a natural very dense rain forested in the south west of the country, bordering Burundi and Lake Kivu and Democratic Republic of Congo. Because of Rwanda's high altitude reaching 3000 meters above sea level in some places, it has, what is called a montane rainforest; forming a natural spring source from which river tributaries power their waters into the Congo River in the west and River Nile in the east. Lower altitude levels have bamboo forests, grassland, swamp and aquatic vegetation that support a lot of wildlife. The Park supports 12 primates, in excess of 270 birds, 85 mammals, 38 reptiles and a host of insect species plus over 1000 plant species. Worthy of special mention, is the Angola colobus monkey, now extinct in her original home country Angola, and groups of habituated chimpanzees for tourism activities. Very interesting activities for visitors to participate in, are the Chimpanzee and other primate tracking, bird watching walks, canopy walk. More challenging and needing some high levels of body physical fitness is mountain hikes which are very rewarding and offer both physical and mental relaxation.
Nyungwe offers a set of small trail network that makes visitors into the park explore the dense forest ecosystem and appreciate nature at best including rough and rugged Bigungu peak, waterfalls, Gisakula tea estate and upclose to wildlife. One unique experience that should not be missed is the 50 meter Canopy Walk; a suspended rope bridge on top of the forest canopy. Here one can get a bird eye's view of the forest and the wildlife roaming about within it.
NYUNGWE FOREST NATIONAL PARK ACCOMMODATION
GISAKURA GUEST HOUSE
Gisakura Guest House is located 2 kilometers outside the Nyungwe Forest National park, close to the Gisakura Tea Estate. There are 3 types of rooms, all with hot showers; singles, doubles and triples.
- Next to Gisakura Tea Estate
- Restaurant and Bar
- Gardens with various Orchid and tree species
VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
Volcanoes National Park is the oldest African protected area; it was gazetted a national park in 1925 while still part of great Virunga conservation zone. The purpose of making this a protected area was to save the Mountain Gorillas, which were intensively hunted and on the brink of extinction by poachers. The gorillas were hunted for their bush meat, body parts for medicinal purposes and for zoos. The Gorillas, prior to being confined to the forest, encroached on human crops which angered the local people.
Today Volcanoes National Park in north western Rwanda is part of the greater Virunga region exceeding 8000km2 wide, harboring eight volcanic mountains and three protected areas that extend ebeyond the Rwanda borders into Uganda (Mgahinga National Park) and th Democratic Republic of Congo (Virunga National Park). Massive tectonic forces combined with volcanic activity raised the Virunga region 1200m- 4500m above sea level later on giving rise to high altitudinal vegetation growth of thick bamboo, afro-montane and thickets on the hills.
On the escarpments, valleys and lowlands there are thickets, grassland and swamp vegetation that host various species of wildlife chiefly the Mountain Gorillas and other primates, mammals and numerous species of birds. This region is famous for harboring half of the surviving Mountain Gorillas in the wild on the planet numbering 800 in total. For this reason, the governments in the region are committed to protecting these Silverbacks, their families and their habitat.
Other tourism activities in the Park are tracking elusive but equally rare and endangered, Golden Monkeys an activity that is not as physically challenging as tracking the Mountain Gorillas but rewarding in the same way. Hiking to the top of Karisimbi volcanic mounains at 3800 meters above sea level offers a rewarding exercise for flexing muscles and face off with African rugged terrain. Along the way you will encounter the ever-changing landscapes, a vast variety of indigenous plan life, primates, insects and many different mammals. If you are interested in the culture of the region, there is plenty of opportunities to go on community walks and get a feel of the local African lifestyle. Share traditional food, listen to folk stories and other fascinating tales, a wide range of music and songs, take part in body gyrating traditional Intore dance and enjoy the heartfelt African hospitality. At the end of it all you will appreciate the local community culture, and be a little more “African” than you first arrived.
VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS
GORILLA NEST LODGE
The Gorilla Nest Lodge is located on the foothills of the Virunga Volcano range, providing breathtaking views of the hills and slopes of Volcanoes National Park. It is nestled in a forest of Eucalyptus trees. There was a fire that damaged many of the buildings, but restoration is going on; accommodation is available during the construction. This lodge is a 5-star accommodation.
- Restaurant and Bar
- Terraced views on all buildings.
LA PALME HOTEL
La Palme Hotel is a 3-star accommodation located in Musanze City, outside the Volcanoes National Park.
The restaurant is locally famous for its high quality Africal, French and Oriental cuisines.
- Restaurant and Bar
KINIGI GUEST HOUSE
Kinigi Guest House is located 11 kilometers from Ruhengeri City, at the bottom of Sabyinyo Volcanic Mountain. All rooms have electricity and warm water. There are 4 VIP suites.
- Large flowered gardens on the property
- Panoramic view of Sabyinyo Volcanic Mountain (elev. 4,480 meters)