This 12 days Rwanda primates & wildlife safari features mountain gorillas and golden monkey tracking in the Volcanoes national park. The park was base to Zoologist Diane Fossey as she was studying these primates. The trip will also give you a chance to encounter the chimpanzees that dwell in the deep forest of Nyungwe in the south. You will also have a visit to the Rwanda national museum and King’s palace museum in Nyanza before transferring to Akagera national park where you will encounter the big five and a variety of wild life and birds.
Day 1: Arrival and hotel transfer
Upon arrival at Kigali international airport, you will be welcomed by our company representative or driver / guide who will brief you about the tour. Depending on the time of your arrival, you will do a short city tour within Kigali and visit the Kigali genocide memorial site. In the evening, have dinner and overnight stay at your Hotel.
Day 2: Transfer to Volcanoes National Park
Have an early morning breakfast and enjoy another stroll around Kigali city as you drive to Volcanoes national park. The park is well known for its endangered mountain gorillas and Gorilla tracking is the major tourism activity. Arrive in the late afternoon and transfer to your lodge for dinner and overnight. The journey offers amazing views of the Virunga ranges, a chain of eight volcanoes that is shared by three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Day 3: Gorilla tracking and Iby’Iwacu cultural center
Have early morning breakfast, carry your packed lunch, and go for briefing at the park headquarters after which you will set off for the gorilla trekking. The ranger guides will lead you deep into the forest in search for the mountain Gorillas moving across the rugged terrain until you finally meet these harmonious creatures that you will immensely enjoy viewing and photographing for about 1 hour.
The activity in Rwanda can take 3-5 hours depending on the movement of the gorillas and the gorilla group you are tracking. This is a once in a life time adventure and coming up-close with the mountain gorillas is an awesome and exciting moment. In the afternoon after lunch, visit the Iby’Iwacu cultural center. This is a one stop center for all the ethnic groups in Rwanda. The Twa, Hutu and Tutsi are all exhibited, you will enjoy different cultural performances, taste local cuisines and buy local souvenirs as you wish. Returning to the lodge for relaxation, dinner and overnight will be in the late evening.
Day 4: Dian Fossey grave trail or golden monkey trek
You will have breakfast and transfer to the Park Headquarters for registration and briefing about the Golden Monkey tracking or Dianne Fossey grave trekking. You will choose one activity and later set off to start the activity. Golden Monkeys are rare species of primates in Africa and only a few can be seen in the Virunga forests of Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda.
Dian Fossey was an American Zoologist who was murdered in 1985 while on her research about the rare species of Mountain Gorillas and other primates in Volcanoes National park. Her graves are close to her research center. She is considered an ancestor for gorilla tourism in Africa. After the trek, return to the lodge and enjoy the evening at leisure. Dinner and overnight as above.
Day 5: Transfer to Lake Kivu
Enjoy breakfast at will and transfer to Lake Kivu in western Rwanda. Arrive in the afternoon, have lunch and go for a launch cruise on the lake. This will give you spectacular views of the surrounding area while taking in the fresh water breeze with some relaxation. In the evening return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park
After your morning breakfast, you will transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park. Along the way you will visit the new Visitor’s Interpretive Centre to give you more information about the park such as number of primate species found in the park, types of bird species and other tourist activities carried out with in the Park. Check at your Hotel for Lunch and have a relaxed evening as you wait for dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Chimpanzee Tracking in Nyungwe forest
Have an early breakfast, drive to the park headquarters in Nyungwe forest for briefing before going for chimpanzee tracking. It is advisable to carry packed lunch and plenty of water prior to this tracking since it can sometimes last over 6 hours. In the forest, you will not only see chimpanzees to but also variety of animals and birds like the Rwenzori Turaco, Black and white casqued horn bill, colobus monkeys.
Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe takes you to the thick forest, walking in tiny paths, dodging thorny trees and holding onto tree branches for support. On meeting the beautiful chimps, spend one hour watching or following them as they carry on their normal lives. You will take as many pictures as you want provided the camera has no flash. Return late in the afternoon have lunch and go for an optional canopy walk that will give you a chance to have an aerial view of the park.
Day 8: Transfer to Akagera National Park via Kigali
After breakfast, you will depart to Akagera National park via Kigali where you will have a stopover for a local cuisine lunch. Proceed to Akagera national Park which has been recently boosted with the introduction of lions from South Africa and Black Rhinos from Europe. Your drive will take you through the country’s phenomenal landscape (folding hills) which will give you views of the country’s beauty and also the life style of its people. Upon arrival check in at your lodge for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 9: Morning game drive and Boat ride on Lake Ihema
Early in the morning after breakfast, you will go for game drive to catchup with the early risers. The park is now home to the big 5 with the recent introduction of Lions and Rhinos that added to the leopards, elephants and buffaloes. We shall do a half day game drive that will expose you to several wildlife species like the lions, waterbucks, buffaloes, elephants, warthogs, zebras, giraffes, antelopes and many others. Return back to the lodge for a small relaxation and lunch.
After lunch, you will go for a boat ride on Lake Ihema which will offer you with views of the surrounding areas, hills and swamps. Expect to see Hippos, crocodiles and more bird species as well as other animal species like elephants and buffaloes that come around for drinking water in the afternoon. Return back to the lodge for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 10: Nature walk and transfer to Kigali
Have an Early morning breakfast and go for a nature walk to search for different bird species. A nature walk in Akagera national park takes you so close to even the slightest insights of nature like insects, butterflies and others. Return back to the lodge for lunch and drive to Kigali city.
Day 11: Visit Butare and Nyanza King’s palace museum
Early in the morning after breakfast, transfer to Butare town which was the country’s first Capital city. Along the way, you will pass through wonderful and magnificent hills and cultivated countryside. Have a stopover at the royal King’s Palace in Nyanza for a cultural description about the history of Rwanda.
Continue and visit the cultural museum at Rwesero. Proceed and reach Butare town, have a community walk to have close encounters with the locals here, see how they carry on their daily lives and then drive back to Kigali. Lunch will be enroute at any local restaurant of your choice.
Day 12: Departure
Have breakfast and transfer to Kigali International airport for your flight, depending on your schedule.
- Meals & drinking water
- Park fees (for non-residents)
- All activities (unless labeled as optional)
- All accommodation
- A professional driver/guide
- All transportation (unless labeled as optional)
- All taxes/VAT
- Roundtrip airport transfer
- Meals (as specified in the day-by-day section)
- Drinking water (on all days)