It was our dream to see mountain gorillas, so we decided to go to Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park located in Musanze for our honeymoon. We have been reading and thinking about this experience for years, and even after building it up in our minds for that long, it absolutely exceeded our expectations. Trekking the gorillas in Volcanoes National Park was definitely the highlight of our trip to Rwanda. It was absolutely incredible.
A honeymoon gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda gives an opportunity to experience what few people get the chance to do observing endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. This 7-day trip includes one day of gorilla trekking in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. Upon sighting the gorillas, you will stay with them for a magical hour as they go about their daily life, feeding, playing, resting, and raising their young. Coming face to face with a giant silver back must truly be one of the greatest wildlife experiences on earth
Track four different species of primates in Rwanda looking for habituated families that will allow viewing up close. Start your trip in the lush Nyungwe Forest tracking chimpanzees and Colobus monkeys and overnight on the shores of Lake Kivu, one of Africa’s great lakes. Walk in the footsteps of legendary biologist Dian Fossey as you observe endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park.
Escorted by RDB team of expert guides and native trackers, you bushwhack through thick vegetation and up steep slopes in search of a family of wild mountain gorillas. We include two days of gorilla trekking, giving you an opportunity to see different gorilla families in different areas of the forest. In addition to gorilla trekking we trek for golden monkeys in the foothills of the National Park.
We arrived at the International Airport, where our guide was ready to meet and pick us after clearing customs and drive us to Kigali Serena Hotel. The following day we departed Kigali with our guide and headed to the Nyungwe Forest; the drive was about 7 hours. Along the way visit Nyanza King’s Palace and the National Museum of Butare where the Kingdom of Rwanda was governed for hundreds of years before colonial interaction in the 20th century. Arrive late this afternoon at Nyungwe Forest Lodge one of the good luxury lodges in Nyungwe forest.
Chimpanzee and Colobus Monkey trekking was the activity to be done that day of our 2 day in Nyungwe forest. Extending for 1,000 square kilometres across the majestic hills of southeast Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park is the largest block of montane forest in East and Central Africa. It is also one of the most ancient, dating back to before the last Ice Age. The forest has more than 200 different types of trees, and a remarkable floral diversity including the other-worldly giant lobelia and a host of colourful orchids. Nyungwe is most alluring for its primates: 13 species in all, including humankind’s closest living relative the chimpanzee, as well as the handsome L’Hoest’s monkey and hundred-strong troops of the delightfully acrobatic Angola Colobus.
The most important ornithological site in Rwanda, Nyungwe harbours almost 300 bird species of which two dozen are restricted to a handful of montane forests on the Albertine Rift. The avian highlight of Nyungwe is the great blue Turaco, an outlandish blue, red and green bird that flits from tree to tree in procession. You can spend the afternoon walking through the canopy walkway overseeing other primates up on trees and many different bird species. Overnight Nyungwe Forest Lodge
We headed out in the morning for about 4 hours’ drive to Lake Kivu, one of Africa’s Great Lakes and 18th deepest in the world. Split between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda this serene lake is surrounded by majestic mountains and makes for the perfect stop over point before continuing on to the Volcanoes National Park. The afternoon is at leisure to explore the town or venture into the lake for a swim or kayak. Overnight Lake Kivu Serena Hotel
The next day we headed out to Volcanoes National Park known as ‘The Land of a Thousand Hills’ stunning vistas greet you this morning as the road winds its way over hills and through valleys on four hour drive to Volcanoes National Park. We chose to spend the morning visiting the Imbabazi Orphanage. Located in the town of Gisenyi the Imbabazi Orphanage was once a flower plantation owned by Rosamond Carr a close friend of Dian Fossey and celebrated humanitarian.
Her home and flower plantation were converted into an Orphanage for children who lost their parents in the Genocide of 1994 and the plantation now provides fresh produce for the orphanage. Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village is located near Volcanoes National Park and offers visitors a look into the traditional lifestyles, activities and art-crafts of the Rwandan way of life.
Gorilla Tracking, Volcanoes National Park was the next activity on our honeymoon gorilla photo trip. The Virunga Mountains in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo are home to the world’s population of mountain gorillas. Some of the gorilla families have been habituated to human presence, and it is possible to visit them in their natural habitat within the forest. Take a short drive to Park Headquarters and meet with local guides and trackers who present an orientation about gorilla tracking ethics.
We spent the day in the Volcanoes National Park searching for the shy apes. The trek with experienced trackers leading the way, can take up to 8 hours although the gorillas are usually found after 2 to 6 hours. Some hiking areas lie at altitudes above 7,500 feet over rough and muddy terrain. The hike can be physically demanding, but the forest and surrounding scenery are beautiful.
Once we spotted the mountain gorillas, the encounter is a most profound natural history experience. Picnic lunches were provided and it is important to take plenty of water. Return to the lodge to share stories and enjoy dinner and overnight was spent at Gorilla Mountain View Lodge.
Golden Monkey Trekking was the last activity we did on our honeymoon gorilla photo safari in Rwanda. The morning was a great opportunity to explore Volcanoes National Park in the search for the rare golden monkeys. There is a search for a golden monkey group of the beautiful primates in the park. After golden monkey trekking we drive back to Kigali and the dinner and overnight was spent at Kigali Serena Hotel.
Before our flight back home, we did a city tour in with an opportunity to see the local life in Kigali. With our local guide, we experienced the real life of Rwandans as we were introduced into this bustling multi-cultural commercial suburb with a typical African flair. We visited a local hair salon, a West Africa Tailor, the Muslim quarter, and the local market where you’ll procure supplies to cook and eat a traditional Rwandan meal in a local home.
In the afternoon visit the Kigali Memorial Centre a powerful reminder of the tragedies that engulfed the country in 1994. In the evening we were transferred to the airport in Kigali for our flight departure back home, it was a lifetime experience to spend our honeymoon gorilla photo safari in Rwanda.