gorilla & Chimpanzee experience
7 Days / 7 Nights
- Hike to rare mountain gorilla groups in Volcanoes National Park
- Trek chimpanzees in one of Africa’s oldest rainforests
- Experience local culture along Lake Kivu and in Kinigi
- Walk among endangered Golden Monkeys
- Visit Rwanda’s beautiful tea and coffee plantations
Majestic gorillas, idyllic village life, and memories of a lifetime
Kigali to Volcanoes National Park
Your guide will meet you in Kigali and drive you 2 hours to Kinigi which is located at the base of Volcanoes National Park.
During the afternoon you have the opportunity to visit the newly built Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund where you can learn more about endangered mountain gorillas and their habitats, walk interpretive trails, and even read Dian Fossey’s original letters written in her research station.
You will overnight in a beautiful lodge just outside park headquarters in Kinigi.
After a hearty breakfast and fresh cup of Rwandan coffee, you will go to Volcanoes National Park headquarters where you will be briefed by park rangers before setting out on your hike to a gorilla family. Rangers make a best effort to match you with a gorilla family that suits your level of fitness and preference. Several gorilla families are typically within 45 minutes walking from the trailhead.
Once you reach the gorilla family, you will have an hour to observe them in their natural habitat. The gorilla experience is nearly unimaginable as you walk among these majestic animals.
After your trek to the gorillas you will visit a cultural village in Kinigi and attend a traditional dance performance by Intore dancers. This “Dance of Heroes” is certain to delight with their brightly colored clothes and flowing white hairpieces.
You will overnight again at the same lodge in Kinigi.
Kinigi to Kibuye
In the morning, you have the opportunity to visit another endangered animal in Volcanoes National Park – the Golden Monkeys. This trek is typically 30 minutes from the start of the trailhead which takes you to bamboo forests where you can see the Golden Monkeys as they swing from branches and run right past you.
After lunch your guide will drive you along beautiful Lake Kivu to Kibuye where you will overnight with fantastic lake views.
Today is for enjoying a slower pace at Lake Kivu. After breakfast you can take a boat tour of the nearby islands, including Monkey Island, Napoleon, and to a herder’s island who is well known for his swimming cows.
In the afternoon you can rent kayaks, go for a hike, or lounge by the lake.
You will overnight again at the same hotel in Kibuye.
Nyungwe National park
Today you will visit the Gisakura Tea Plantation to see the entire process – from picking leaves in the fields to going inside the factory to view the sorting and roasting process. The plantation is in a gorgeous setting at the base of Nyungwe’s mountains.
Your overnight will be in a hotel just outside Nyungwe National Park.
You will rise before the sun today for an early start to hike to the chimpanzees in Nyungwe National Park. These hikes are exhilarating as you trek through the rainforest and take in the many bird species and varied flora along your way.
The King’s Palace
Today you will make the journey to Kigali which takes approximately 7 hours traveling through towns and beautiful rolling landscapes. Along the way you will stop in Nyanza, the former heart of Rwanda. The King’s Palace in Nyanza is a reconstruction of the traditional royal residence – a beautifully-crafted thatched dwelling shaped like a beehive. At the back live a few long-horned Inyambo cattle, descended from the king’s herd, whose keepers carefully tend and sing to them, keeping alive a unique tradition. The cattle keeper’s singing is a special highlight.
Overnight in Kigali
- 7 nights in 3 or 4 star accommodation (international standard)
- Full board: breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Knowledgeable driver guides, and safe vehicles
- Gorilla trekking permit ($1500)
- Golden Monkey visitation permit
- Kinigi cultural center and performance fees
- Kibuye islands boat tour
- Gisakura Plantation visitation fees
- Nyungwe National Park entrance fees, Chimpanzee Trek, Canopy Walk permits
- King’s Palace visitation fees
- All taxes (18% VAT)
3 Star Accommodation: USD – $7700 1 person; $7000 per person for 2 or more people sharing
4 Star Accommodation: USD – $11700 1 person; $11000 per person for 2 or more people sharing
This itinerary is fully customizable if you would like to extend your stay and participate in additional treks in Volcanoes National Park, such as hiking to Dian Fossey’s grave site and former research station, hiking Mount Bisoke, or exploring Musanze’s caves. Nyungwe National Park has additional nature hikes, birding and primate experiences as well.