7 Day Gorilla Trekking & Nyungwe Forest Adventure
Day 1: Arrival Kigali
You are met on arrival at Kigali airport and transferred to Kigali Serena Hotel where you will overnight in a standard room on a bed and breakfast basis.
A visit to Kigali Serena Hotel offers a rich and vivid immersion into the culture, heritage and traditions of Rwanda.
Set on an enchanting boulevard in the heart of Kigali, Rwanda, in a secure location just a five-minute walk from the CBD, lies Kigali Serena Hotel. A distinctively rich blend of Rwandan heritage, art and culture with contemporary 5-star comfort in 148 sophisticated rooms and suites, Serena Kigali hotel provides a private and peaceful retreat like no other for discerning international diplomats and executives. Amenities include:-
- Pool, Pool Deck and Gardens
- International Conference Centre
- Maisha Spa & Health Club
- Executive Lounge & Bar
- Concierge Services
- The Milima Restaurant
- The Sokoni Café and Bar
- The Executive Lounge and Bar
- Business Centre, travel desk, taxi and limousine service
- Gift Shop, news-stand and travel requisites kiosk
There are a number of smart shopping malls in Kigali city centre with some chic boutiques and coffee shops. But if you’re after something more authentic, take a stroll around one or two of its lively markets, you’ll usually be met with great friendliness. If you like browsing for curios and souvenirs from your Rwanda holiday, pay a visit to the Caplaki handicrafts cooperative, which sells a variety of local crafts.
Alternatively, the lively Nyamirambo area of Kigali is regarded as the most vibrant quarter of the city, known for its excellent tailors and hair salons, as well as its many bars and cafes. As with any city, take care if visiting at night but during the daytime, Nyamirambo Women’s Centre offers interesting walking tours around their neighbourhood that takes in their own craft shop, a typical Rwandan meal and the local market too.
Overnight: Kigali Serena Hotel – Standard Room – Bed & Breakfast
Day 2: Kigali – Gorilla Trekking
This morning you are met at your hotel by your driver/guide with private safari vehicle. Visit the Genocide Museum and enjoy a Kigali City tour inclusive of lunch before heading off to Musanze (previously known as Ruhengeri) to your base for gorilla trekking
Perhaps the city’s best known landmark, and with good reason, is the very insightful and moving Kigali Genocide Memorial standing amid beautiful rose gardens and fountains. The memorial sets out the history leading up to the genocide in Rwanda and also explains other genocides around the world. It includes poignant displays of victims’ photographs and belongings, bringing the realities of the atrocities to life. While it might seem an unusual tourist attraction and can be upsetting, it does help to put into context how and why the genocide happened and to better appreciate just how far the country has moved on together in the intervening years. It also plays a vital role in educating Rwanda’s new and future generations about the genocide.
Other Trips in Volcanoes National Park
Apart from gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park – there are other interesting hiking trails here. Before your visit to the gorillas. One of the more popular routes is to the tomb of Dian Fossey and the Karisoke Research Centre she established, which takes a couple of hours of fairly steep walking. Another beautiful option is a day hike to the crater lake on Mount Bisoke.
Several other primates have made Volcanoes National Park their home too and it’s possible to track two troops of habituated golden monkeys, a totally different experience to gorilla tracking. Golden monkeys tend to inhabit the bamboo forests on the lower slopes, so the walk to reach them is relatively easy. Again, once you find them, you’ll have just an hour in their presence. They’re fast-moving little creatures, and very entertaining as they constantly swing through the bamboo or chase each other in circles all around you. They’re also very pretty, with shiny reddish-gold backs that blend in perfectly with the golden bamboo.
People are as much a part of Volcanoes National Park as its primates and a visit to one of the cultural centres in the area to gain an insight into local life and traditions is not only very interesting but also benefits the local communities and deters them from engaging in negative activities like poaching. Two very good examples are the SACOLA Cultural Centre, with excellent traditional Intore dancing, and Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village, both near Kinigi.
Wildlife of Volcanoes National Park
Even without mountain gorilla safaris, Volcanoes National Park would be fascinating. Its altitude ranges from about 2,500m to the peak of Karisimbi, at 4,500m, resulting in extensive bamboo forests and some of the last remaining afro-montane forest habitat on the planet.
As well as its infamous mountain gorillas, the Park harbours a spectacular array of rare and endangered animals and plants. There is a variety of other primates, including the endemic golden monkeys, forest elephants, buffalo, giant forest hogs (Africa’s largest swine), bushpigs, bushbucks, black-fronted duikers, spotted hyenas, and around 200 species of birds.
Bisate Lodge, adjacent to Volcanoes National Park, combines the bucket-list gorilla trek with a pioneering vision of reforestation and community partnership.
Overnight : Bishops House [ 4 star ] or the luxury Bisate Lodge [ 5 star ]
Day 3: Gorilla Trekking
Today one of the most humbling and enthralling wildlife experiences imaginable awaits your discovery. Coming face to face with an endangered mountain gorilla is something words cannot aptly describe.
Please note that gorilla trekking is strenuous with treks ranging from 45 mins up to eight hours, at high altitudes in hot African conditions.
The thrill of the hour you spend quietly observing these gentle giants once you find them is well worth the hike to get there! Although mountain gorillas are wild animals and it should be noted that sightings cannot be guaranteed, viewing success rates are well over 95%.
Overnight : Bishops House [ 4 star ] or the luxury Bisate Lodge [ 5 star ]
Day 4 : Nyungwe Forest National Park
After an early breakfast, you will set off to discover the primates and scenic splendour of Nyungwe Forest National Park.
Rwanda has possibly the best roads in East Africa, and all major centres are connected by local and luxury transfer services. The 6-7 hour journey (the last 1.5 hours is through the National Park) will take you west, you will soon climb into the mountains of the Nyungwe National Park and down into Gisakura and One &Only Nyungwe House.
The transfer offers a comfortable journey and fascinating insight into the rural towns and scenic landscapes of central Rwanda, including a beautiful arrival into the mountains of Nyungwe National Park.
Nyungwe National Park lies in south-west corner of Rwanda, at the border with Burundi to the south and Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west. Nyungwe National Park is an untouched natural rain forest that is filled with exciting biodiversity The Nyungwe Forest probably is one of the best-preserved montane rain forest in Central Africa.
The Park was established in 2004 and covers an area of approximately 970 km2 of rain forest, bamboo, grassland, swamps, and bogs. The nearest town is Cyangugu, 54 km to the west. Mount Bigugu is located within the park borders.
Nyungwe’s biodiversity is astonishing by African standards, and is one of the most endemic species-rich areas in all of Africa. Whilst the terrain and undergrowth make chimpanzee tracking a challenge, the forest is also home to Rwenzori colobus monkeys including a four hundred-strong semi-habituated group thought to be the largest troop of arboreal primates in Africa.
Nyungwe Forest Natural Biodiversity
The Nyungwe forest has a wide bio-diversity of animal species, making it a priority for conservation in Africa. The park contains 13 primate species 275 bird species, 1068 plant species, 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian and 38 reptile species, 120 species of butterfly and the occasional, ever-changing chameleon hiding in the bushes.
Many of these animals are restricted-range species that are only found in the Albertine Rift montane forests Eco – region in Africa.
The primate fauna include; Rwenzori Colobus, Chimpanzees, L’Hoest’s monkeys, silver monkey, golden monkey, and the owl faced monkey, red tailed monkey, vervet monkey, the olive baboon, and the grey cheeked Mangabey and the three species of bush baby.
Overnight : One & Only Nyungwe Forest House (5 star accommodation) – including all meals and soft drinks
Day 5: Chimpanzee Trekking
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe starts very early in the morning in-order to find the chimpanzees in their nest and to also increase your chances of viewing the chimpanzees since they are wild. The actual trek starts at 5am and therefore, you should be at the park head quarters for briefing by 4:30am.
Nyungwe forest national park is home to a great number of primates, birds and also butterfly species. The park has over 400 chimpanzees, boasting two wild chimp communities located in Uwinka and Cyamudongo A group of well -trained guides lead the clients into the forest in search for chimpanzees.
Although chimpanzee viewing is not guaranteed, these guided walks through the forest will teach you a lot more about the different creatures and wildlife that Nyungwe forest is home to
Trekking time ranges between 2 to 6 hours round trip. This includes the 1 hour of viewing and following the chimpanzees whilst taking pictures
Return to One & Only Nyungwe Forest – overnight
Day 6 : Monkey Trekking & Canopy Walk
This morning after breakfast at the lodge, go in search of grey-cheeked mangabey and Rwenzori colobus monkeys, the latter of which can be found here in troops of several hundred. And there’s no need to trek far to see l’Hoest’s monkeys – you will often see them ambling along the roadside as you drive past.
Return to your lodge for lunch
This afternoon enjoy an optional canopy walk.
Forest hiking trails in Nyungwe
Over 130 kilometres of hiking routes have been created in Nyungwe Forest National Park, allowing visitors to explore its interior and its fascinating habitats.
Walking in Nyungwe is excellent, with trails lasting from one to eight hours. The beautifully named Igishigishigi Trail is one of the shortest hikes yet includes East Africa’s highest canopy walk with spectacular views across Nyungwe Forest, while the 6 hour Bigugu Trail leads you to the highest mountain in the Park at 2950m.
Birdwatching in Nyungwe Forest
The birds in Nyungwe Forest National Park are spectacular. Around 310 species reside here, although as in most tropical forests, you’ll have to look hard for them. Giant hornbills, great blue turacos and red-breasted sparrowhawks are amongst the specials, of which 27 are endemic to this section of the Albertine Rift Valley.
Overnight One & Only Nyungwe Forest
Day 7: Departure
Today we drive back to Kigali. You have the choice of a packed lunch or enjoying lunch in Kigali depending on your flight departure time
If necessary we can add another night in Kigali prior to departure. Or you may be interested in adding an extension to Akagera National Park for further wildlife viewing opportunities
Costs vary according to the time of year you are wishing to travel, as well as your preferred standard of acommodation
Please contact one of our travel professionals for your tailor made quotation
This tour has no set departure dates
Please inform us as to your preferred dates of travel
More Rwanda & Uganda Tours
Don’t believe us, read independent reviews from past clients.
AFRICAN SAFARI SPECIALISTS
Let us design your African safari with a variety of safari destinations – Our expertise includes travel and safaris in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania.
African Welcome Safaris offers a highly personalised service. With a dedicated travel consultant catering to all your travel needs. Our passion is creating your holiday of a lifetime.