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Baby gorilla, Virunga Safari Lodge

Highlights of Rwanda: Gorillas and Chimpanzees

9-day itinerary from £5,480 pp incl. flights

Summary

Short description

A once-in-a-lifetime trip trekking with silverback gorillas in the jungles of Rwanda

Highlights

  • Track gorillas and golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park
  • Trek with chimpanzees among the verdant slopes of Nyungwe Forest
  • Relax, swim and kayak during sunset on Lake Kivu
  • Enjoy traditional meals and fantastic accommodation among Rwanda's nature

In Brief

  • 1 Night Kigali
  • 2 Nights Nyungwe Forest National Park
  • 1 Night Lake Kivu
  • 3 Nights Volcanoes National Park

About

Recommended for:
Activity adventure | All-inclusive | Jungle | Mountains | Photography | Unique & unusual | Wildlife

This spectacular, tailor-made itinerary sees you experience the once-in-a-lifetime event of gorilla trekking deep in Rwanda's thick rainforests. You'll start in buzzing Kigali before making your way to the verdant Nyungwe National Park where you'll track our closest ancestor, the chimpanzee, enjoying canopy walks through the jungle and a stay in a charming jungle villa. Then, you'll head to the pristine Lake Kivu, dotted with sandy beaches and inlets, spending a day swimming and sunset kayaking. Finally, you'll head to the stunning Volcanoes National Park, tracking gorillas and spending some magical time with one of many troops that call the jungle their home.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
UK to Rwanda

Begin your trip in style with VIP airport lounge access before your daytime flight to Rwanda. Then, enjoy a private transfer from the airport to your hotel in the centre of buzzing Kigali, surrounded by verdant hills and valleys. Both recommended hotels offer exquisite dining options with the likes of farm-to-table cuisine and a range of Rwandan and international dishes on offer.

Stay: Heaven Restaurant & Boutique Hotel (Superior) or Kigali Marriott Hotel (Deluxe)

Days 2-3
Nyungwe National Park

This morning, after breakfast, you'll head on the fascinating drive from Kigali to Nyungwe, where green hills stretch all the way to the famous forest alongside hilly roads and rice paddies, intermingled with eucalyptus trees, tea plantations, and villagers walking along the roads. En route we've included a stop to visit to the replica of the 18th century King’s Palace and the 1930s royal residence, where you'll find resident royal ‘inyambo’ (sacred cows) with super-sized horns. The dramatic rainforest of Nyungwe National Park is your home for the next two days; a verdant jungle that's home to 300 bird species and 85 animal species, including our closest ancestors, chimpanzees. The next day will be spent trekking through the dense rainforest, waiting for the screech of the chimpanzees swinging joyously in the trees as you track them along paths accompanied by a guide. You've also got the option to walk along the longest and highest canopy trail in Africa, along deep ravines shaded by the leafy verdure. You'll stay at the luxurious One & Only Nywunge House, situated deep in the jungle. Immerse yourself in nature in your wooden villa among the treetops, featuring open fireplaces and private decks, and enjoy dinners under candlelight accompanied by nature's soundtrack. 

Stay: One & Only Nyungwe House (Deluxe) (re-opens October 2018)

Meals: B L D

Day 4
Lake Kivu

After breakfast, you'll transfer to Lake Kivu, dotted with hundreds of inlets edged by terraced, leafy slopes and sandy beaches. Enjoy swimming and marvelling at the views of the nearby Nyiragongo volcano and its dramatic red ash cloud. We’ve also included a sunset kayaking tour among fishing boats, where you'll navigate across the lake and its lush islands. You'll stay at Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, complete with pool, bar and beach – tonight enjoy an optional buffet-style dinner and evening entertainment. 

Stay: Lake Kivu Serena (Superior)

Meals: B

Days 5-7
Volcanoes National Park

On day 5 the highlight of the trip begins, after a short drive brings you to the stunning Volcanoes National Park – home to several mountain gorilla troops living along the slopes of the five extinct volcanoes. At the Kinigi Gorilla Headquarters the next morning, you'll be welcomed with tea and coffee before being split into small groups according to your fitness level – walks can take anywhere from 1.5 hours to a full day. After a safety briefing, you’ll drive to the park boundaries, then trek through the light bamboo forest along the slopes of the volcanoes into thick bush, shrubs and stinging nettles – one of the gorillas’ preferred foods. Once the gorillas are located and you reach your designated gorilla family, you have an hour to witness these magical creatures; an awe-inspiring experience as you stand moments away from gorillas and their babies. 

You'll stay in either Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel in cosy cabin-style rooms, or Virunga Lodge, a traditional Rwandese-style lodge perched high on a ridge with views of the volcanoes and lake, where you'll enjoy an included 30-minute massage. Alternatively, upgrade to one of the most stunning luxury lodges in the area close to the park head quarters - Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge with its open fire places and dramatic views over Bisake volcano. Your three-night stay also gives you time for an included golden monkey trek, where you'll spend half a day tracking these agile old world monkeys and spotting their bright orange bodies swinging nimbly through the thick forest. Return to the lodge to relax or to enjoy a whole host of activities, such as canoeing among pristine waters, hiking to Bisake volcano’s crater lake via stunning hilly landscapes, volunteering with the local community, and visiting the Karisoke Exhibit that showcases Rwanda’s mountain gorilla conservation success, run by the Dian Fossey international gorilla conservation organisation.

Stay: Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel (Superior), Virunga Lodge (Deluxe) or Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Days 8-9
Kigali to UK

After breakfast, transfer to Kigali where you've got time to explore the city. Visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial site to learn more about the country’s harrowing history of the genocide against the Tutsis in 1994, one of the most gruesome events in modern history. A few years later, Rwanda has re-introduced joint monthly community service that has resulted in an immaculately clean and orderly country. Finally, head to the airport for your overnight flight back to the UK, arriving on day 9.

Meals: B

Pricing

Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

9-day itinerary from £5,480 incl. flights

Superior

Low Season

from £5,480 pp. incl. flights

High Season

from £5,830 pp. incl. flights

Includes:

  • Complimentary UK airport lounge access
  • Return flights from London to Kigali
  • Private airport transfers and transport throughout
  • 2 nights accommodation in 4* (Superior) hotels on a B&B basis
  • 3 nights accommodation in a 4* (Superior) lodge on a full-board basis
  • 2 nights accommodation in a 5* (Deluxe) lodge on a full-board basis including house wines and beers
  • Gorilla tracking permit, chimpanzee and golden monkey tracking permits
  • Visit to King's Palace
  • Kayaking on Lake Kivu


Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

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