This fly-In tours in Rwanda will take you to Nyungwe Forest National Park and Volcanoes National Park for chimpanzee and gorilla trekking safari. Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest National Park can be done anytime throughout the year.
Though the best time is during the dry season which is also known as the peak season in the months of June, July, August, September, October, December, January and February because during this period there is less rainfall. On arrival in Kigali, you will be transferred to your hotel for overnight.
After breakfast, your driver-guide will transfer to the airport for your Akagera Aviation charter transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park. Enjoy the views as you fly over undulating Rwanda skies to Nyungwe forest. The most popular activity in Nyungwe Forest National Park is chimpanzee trekking and the canopy walk offering the closer view of the birds, butterflies, primates and the green canopies.
Chimpanzee trekking begins with briefing at 5:00am. The briefing takes place in Uwinka, Gisakura or Kitabi. You need to wake up as early as 4:30am so that you take breakfast and prepare to start the activity. As already mentioned above, the forest is large. The only way to find the chimps is to try and reach them before they head out for the day.
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest can take between 2 to 6 hours or longer. After following/chasing the chimps for a while, they may settle down and allow you to observe them more closely or take unforgettable videos and photos.
While with the chimps you will notice that they behave just like we humans. You will watch them groom each other, mate, breastfeed, play and start fights. Some members of the group are quiet while others are more vocal.
You return to your accommodation for a hot lunch and relaxation. You will then embark on the canopy walk experience and colobus monkey hike.
The canopy walk is unique to East-Africa! It’s a 60 meters high canopy walkway and offers some of the most spectacular rainforest views. The walkway is accessible as part of a specialized guided tour along the Igishigishigi trail.
It is the only one in East Africa. The 60-meter-high strong steel bridge is built on the tree tops to give tourists an aerial view of the birds, primates and endless forest.
There are viewing points/decks along the walk way which offers one opportunity to rest as they marvel at the amazing scenery and wildlife. The activity starts from the visitor centre in Uwinka and takes about 2 hours. A tour through the canopy walkway costs 60 US Dollars.
There are different trails for forest hikes in Nyungwe Forest National Park. If one is to complete all the trails, they would have walked for about 130 kilometres. To complete all the trails, one would need about a week.
The main trails are the Bigugu Trial, Ngabwe Trail, and Canopy trail, Kamiranzovu Marsh Trail, Congo Nile Trail, Bigugu Trail, Igishigishigi Trail, Karamba Birding Trail, Irebero Trail, Isumo waterfall Trail, Imbaraga Trail, Umugote Trail, Muzimu Trail, Rukuzi Trail and Umuyove Trail.
The most popular trails are Bigugu and Igishigishigi. You need to be fit enough to enjoy your nature walk because the terrain is unpredictable.
One thing for sure is that by the time you complete these trails, you would have seen most of the primates, birds, butterflies, rivers, insects and much more.
Fly to Volcanoes National Park for gorilla trekking. Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park is the most popular tourism product in Rwanda. This activity involves hiking through mountainous areas and forests in search of a creature that resembles/behaves like humans. Mountain gorillas are special among the gorilla sub-species because of their endangered status.
You are required to be at the Volcanoes National Park headquarters early in the morning (at 7:00am) for briefing. During the briefing session, the rangers and warden will share information about the park, the gorilla groups, and gorilla conservation activities and how to conduct oneself while with the primates.
After the briefing, your gorilla permits and passports will be verified. After that you will be given a walking stick and allocated a gorilla group based on your overall fitness.
Only 8 people can track a gorilla group in a day. The rangers will take you to different starting points depending on the gorilla group you are allocated. If you have any heavy luggage, you can hire a porter to help out. Porter services go for between 10 to 15 US dollars. The beginning part of the hike is easy because you go through established trails which pass through villages or deforested areas. After a while, the hike become more and more difficult as you enter thick forest.
The rangers may have to use machetes to clear the way for the group. As you hike through the thick bushes, the Rangers will share more stories about the gorilla group and the different species of trees/wildlife in the park. The search for the gorillas in the Volcanoes national park takes between 1 to 4 hours.
While with the gorillas, follow instructions from the rangers. Only start taking photos when you are allowed two. Do not touch a gorilla even when they come close to you. Keep a distance of at least 7 meters from the nearest gorilla. Do not surround the gorillas or make loud noises out of excitement. You are allowed only gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda1 hour with the gorillas.
Don’t miss out on the Golden monkey trekking, organized in the bamboo forests at the base of the Volcanoes National Park. Tourists love hiking along these slopes to observe these fascinating monkeys while they feed and play.
Golden monkey are subspecies of the blue monkey. They have evolved to have golden coats around their back and cheeks making them look good. Golden monkey permits costs $100 per person hence a much cheaper activity compared to gorilla trekking safari experience.
Dian Fossey tomb hike is another interesting activity: Dian Fossey is considered to be one of the greatest primatologists of all time. She was the first to study mountain gorillas extensively hence making the park very famous.
Dian Fossey’s name is also synonymous with gorilla conservation. She fought hard to stop poaching and pet trade within the wider Virunga ranges and it is because of her that mountain gorillas now thrive.
Unfortunately, Fossey was murdered by people believed to have been poachers. Tourists often visit her tomb located between Mount Karisimbi and Bisoke to pay homage. A Dian Fossey tomb hike includes visiting her former Karisoke Research Centre. This marks the end of this tour as you transfer to Kigali for your flight back home.