A primate safari in Rwanda and Congo offers you unforgettable adventure in Africa with lots of thrilling lifetime experiences as you trek mountain gorillas in the Virunga Mountains from the two stunning parks of Virunga National park in Congo and Volcanoes National park in Rwanda. The Safari will enable you to participate in the most elegant tourist activities in both Congo and Rwanda with even the test of unique cultural experiences.
Located in northern Rwanda, about 80 km from the capital, Kigali, Volcanoes National Park is Africa’s home to some of the last remaining mountain gorillas and a place where you will be warmly welcomed by smiling locals. Rwanda has bravely risen from a tragic past and stands proudly as a representation of Africa’s irrepressible beauty. Be awe-struck by the profound power of the endangered mountain gorillas.
The park is home to 10 habituated gorilla families open to tourists each single day. Habituated gorilla families in Rwanda include; the Susa group which was originally studied by Dian Fossey and inhabits the slopes of Mt. Karisimbi together and Susa B – the Karisimbi group that broke away from Susa. The Sabyinyo group is the smallest, easy to trek family located along the slopes of Mt. Sabyinyo, the Amahoro group also called the most peaceful of all families and Umubano group which broke away from Amahoro. The Kwitonda group, Hirwa family, Bwenge, Agashya group and Ugenda are all part of the gorilla groups in Volcanoes national park.
This safari starts with a pick up from your hotel/lodge early in the morning after heavy breakfast, then you a driven by your driver guide to the park headquarters as you enjoy the interesting traditional Intore dance and a soothing cup of Rwandan coffee as you await for briefing at 70:30am to 8:00am regarding gorilla trekking etiquette in Volcanoes Park. While at the park headquarters, you will meet other trekkers and you will be divided in groups of eight individuals who are allowed to trek one habituated mountain gorilla group.
After briefing, you will be led by ranger guide to hike through the verdant jungle searching for mountain gorillas. Our budget gorilla trekking tours in Rwanda commences in the general direction of the last sighting of your assigned family group. The activity which will take 2-8 hours needs someone to be physical fit since it involves a lot of hiking the hills and slopping the Valleys. The terrain in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park can be rough and at times muddy and slippery but your experienced trackers, rangers and porters will ensure that the group progresses at a pace that is comfortable for everyone, with frequent stops and opportunities to take in the views and take photographs.
When you eventually meet the gorillas all fatigue is forgotten, the joy of finding your gorilla troop will only be overcome by the amazement of watching the gorillas go about their daily routine., you will be allowed one hour with them, seeing them feed, play and look for their young ones. While staying with the gorillas, you will be required to maintain a distance of 7 meters away, also turn off the flash of your camera as you take pictures. Right after one hour, you will retire back to the starting point and transfer to your lodge for late lunch and relaxation.
After lunch, you will embark on an evening cultural encounter with the local communities around volcanoes national park. The cultural encounter will give you a rare opportunity to interact with the local people in their natural environment, with a taste of their unique culture and traditions. On arrival to the village, you will be genuinely welcomed by the community as special Visitors. After cultural refreshment, entertainment, you will retire back to your lodge for dinner and overnight as you rest for the next activity tomorrow.
The next morning visit Dian Fossey Tomb, the trek offers a unique opportunity to visit the Dian Fossey Tomb and visit the house where this prominent American researcher was killed from and also learn the process of mountain gorilla’s conservation and protection. After the exploring the Karisoke Research Centre, you will embark on transfer Gisenyi at Lake Kivu Serena Hotel for an overnight.
After an early morning relaxed breakfast, you border cross with all the required document including the Congo tourist visa, after clearing everything at the border, you be picked up by the Virunga National Park guide and be driven to the Bukima park station in the Virunga Park area where trekkers assemble at 7:00am to be allocated a gorilla group, be briefed on how to behave while staying with a gorilla group.
After the briefing, you will proceed to the appropriate starting point for the trek to confront the gorilla group you have been allocated. The length of the trek varies depending on movements of the gorillas as well as weather conditions. Meeting these gentle giants in their natural habitat is a unique and wonderful experience. When you meet these ape species, you will be given one hour to observe and take photos and videos of these stunning apes. After the one magical hour allocated, you will retire back to the trekking base and thereafter retreat back to your hotel/lodge for lunch, relaxation for yet another activity tomorrow.
After breakfast, you will transfer drive from your Mikeno lodge to Kibati Patrol Post in Nyiragongo Volcano. On arrival to the hike trail head, Park rangers will lead you with your porters to start hiking to the top of Nyiragongo Volcanoes. Nyiragongo Volcano hike will take you around 6-7 hours to reach the summit of the world’s most active Volcano. The path to the summit of the Volcano is relatively easy but a bit strenuous because of the volcanic stones and rocks, often in hot and uncomfortable conditions.
Along the trial, you may enjoy the views and sights of rare bird species and small mammal species. Upon reaching the top, you will enjoy the views of lakes of hot lava and relax on top of the volcano. The night will be spent in the Nyiragongo summit shelters on the rim of the giant crater, high above the active lava lake.
After an early morning breakfast, you will begin your descent by 7:00am from the summit of Nyiragongo to the head trail in Kibati Patrol Post. Transfer to back to Goma and head back to Kigali International Airport for your departure.