Rwanda Primate Safari 7 Days
This fantastic Rwanda itinerary will take you to 2 of the country’s best National Parks to not only enjoy a thrilling chimpanzee trekking excursion, but also one of the world’s most memorable and exciting wildlife encounters…getting up-close to the famous mountain gorillas. Described by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the most exciting encounters of my life”, this unbeatable experience is sure to impress.
Travelling in comfort in the company of an expert driver and guide, you will enjoy a tour of Rwanda’s capital city Kigali before visiting Butare on your way to Nyungwe National Park for your chimpanzee trekking experience. Following this we will make our way to Volcanoes National Park, home to Rwanda’s famous mountain gorilla sanctuary and the Dian Fossey Foundation, for the experience of a lifetime.
Prices shown are per person, based on 2 people sharing. A single room supplement of $1778 applies for solo travellers. Prices do not include international flights but these can be arranged as part of your package.
***Big discounts available for larger groups
Please note: The gorilla tracking experience will require an average level of fitness.
Namibia Birding and Photography GuideAn accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country. Read more >
Wildlife Guide & PhotographerAndy is a 6th generation Falkland Islander, with a passion for wildlife, plants and photography. Raised in the Falkland Islands, Andy developed a close affinity with the Islands natural environment at a young age. School holidays where spent in the ‘camp’ or countryside with friends and family. For more than 10 years, Andy had the privilege of spending a time on Sea Lion Island, visiting his mother who managed one of the Islands premier tourist destinations. Read more >
Photographer and founder of the Travel Photographer Of The Year awardsA fascination with natural light and a passion with nature, landscape and travel underpin Chris Coe's photography. His images often have a striking simplicity and graphic quality. More recent work has introduced a subtlety with experimentation with both movement and light.Read more >
Falklands Expert & GuideBorn in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. Read more >
Special Guest LecturerExclusive to this voyage, Doug Allan, a multi award winning polar photographer and cameraman, will be your special guest lecturer. Doug has been on over 20 expeditions to Svalbard to film its wildlife, and knows the wonders of this area more than most. Read more >
Special Guest Photography GuideChris was 32 when he finally realised he really did want to be a photo-journalist and walked out on his career in IT sales to become a wildlife photographer Read more >
- Enjoy the ultimate wildlife experience…walking with Rwanda's famous mountain gorillas!
- Exciting chimpanzee trekking experience
- Explore 2 beautiful National Parks and enjoy a waterfall hike
- Kigali city tour and Butare visit
- Wide variety of birdlife
- Spectacular scenery
- Comfortable accommodation throughout
- All accommodation and meals as described in the itinerary
- Gorilla permit for Volcanoes National Park and gorilla tracking experience
- Chimpanzee permit for Nyungwe National Park and chimp trekking experience
- Waterfall hike
- Airport transfer to/from Kigali Airport
- Transportation in a private 4WD safari vehicle.
- English speaking guide driver
- Activities and excursions as shown in itinerary
ITINERARY6 Nights 7 Days
- Day 1 | Kigali
- Day 2 | Kigali to Nyungwe National Park
- Day 3 | Chimp Trekking in Nyungwe National Park
- Day 4 | Nyungwe National Park – Kibuye
- Day 5 | Kibuye to Volcanoes National Park
- Day 6 | Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes NP
- Day 7 | Volcanoes NP & Departure
Upon arrival at Kigali airport you will be met by your driver guide and transferred to the 4-star Lemigo Hotel for your overnight stay. Located in the heart of the city centre, this hotel is a great base from which to explore the city. You can choose to discover the city at leisure this evening or simply relax by the pool or in your stylish bedroom in preparation for the adventures that lie ahead.
Overnight accommodation at Lemigo Hotel with breakfast included.
Kigali to Nyungwe National Park
After breakfast this morning you can enjoy a city tour of Kigali which includes the interesting Gisozi Genocide Memorial Centre. The centre exists as a permanent memorial to those who fell victim to the genocide of 1994 and you will have chance to visit the three poignant permanent exhibitions, the largest of which documents the genocide, and pay tribute to the victims.
After your city tour you can enjoy lunch at Khanna Khazana Restaurant before being collected by your driver to begin your journey to Nyungwe National Park. On the way we will stop in Butare, Rwanda’s second largest city, to visit the national museum and Nyanza, the former Mwami's Palace (King's palace) and the seat of the feudal monarchy. Upon arrival at Nyungwe National Park you will check in to the Top View Lodge and enjoy a welcoming dinner before settling into your comfortable bedroom for a good night’s sleep in preparation for tomorrow’s chimpanzee trekking experience.
2 nights accommodation at Nyungwe Top View Lodge on a full board basis.
Chimp Trekking in Nyungwe National Park
Today begins with a 5am wake-up call for your trek into the forest to get up-close to the chimpanzees that reside in Nyungwe National Park. Located in the South West corner of Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park is an untouched natural rainforest that is filled with exciting biodiversity. Covering over 1000 square kilometres, Nyungwe is one of the world’s most beautiful and pristine mountain rainforests. Home to habituated chimpanzees and 12 other primates species (including a 400-strong troop of habituated Ruwenzori Black & White Colobus), it’s also a birder’s paradise with over 300 species, including 16 endemics, and is home to 75 different species of mammal.
Although we will be on a constant lookout for the other wildlife that fills the park, the main attraction here is the huge numbers of habituated chimpanzees that reside here. Your trekking experience will allow you to observe these fascinating primates up-close as they go about their everyday lives climbing through the trees, grooming, growling, feeding, and taking care of their young. An unforgettable experience that will no doubt leave a lasting impression.
After your trek you will return to the lodge for lunch and the rest of the day will be at your leisure.
Nyungwe National Park – Kibuye
After an early breakfast this morning you can enjoy a long trek through the forest in search of the abundant rainforest birds and other primates that reside here, before getting back into your safari vehicle for your scenic drive over the Albertine (western) Rift, a part of the Great Rift Valleys, to Kibuye. Kibuye is located between Gisenyi and Cyagugu, about halfway down the eastern shore of Lake Kivu which boasts an extraordinarily beautiful inland beach enclosed by steep, green terraced hills and the most serene environment within the central African Region.
Check in to the Moriah Hill Resort Hotel and enjoy a tasty dinner and an evening of relaxation along the riverside.
Overnight accommodation at Moriah Hill Hotel on a full board basis.
Kibuye to Volcanoes National Park
After breakfast this morning your driver will take you north-east towards the stunning Volcanoes National Park and the Mountain Gorilla View Lodge. The lodge is located on the foothills of Mount Karisimbi, one of the volcanic mountains that make up the Virunga Massif, and is a 10 minute drive from the main entrance to the park. Upon arrival at the lodge you can enjoy some time relaxing after your busy morning, and preparing for tomorrow’s exciting adventures.
2 nights accommodation at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes NP
This morning it’s another early wake-up call as the wildlife experience of a lifetime awaits! After an early breakfast you will transfer to the park to begin your gorilla trekking excursion at 7am. Upon arrival the park’s expert gorilla trekking staff will introduce you to the plan for the morning and brief you on what to expect. This will include safety instructions as well as rules for behaviour around these fascinating primates. Depending on your fitness levels and how far you want to trek, you will be assigned a group of 8 people and a gorilla family that you will be trekking to see. A maximum of 80 visitors are allowed to participate in this activity per day, with a maximum of 8 people visiting any one group of gorillas. These rules are stringently adhered to and that’s why your gorilla permit is so important. Your gorilla permit is included in the price of your package and the vast majority of the cost of this permit is delivered directly to the park for conservation efforts and ensuring the safety and ongoing survival of these beautiful animals.
Having been assigned a group, you will return to your safari vehicle for the short drive to the trekking start point where your group leader will go over the plan and rules again before you start your trek through the mountains in search of your allocated gorilla family. This trek does require a relative level of fitness and sometimes it can take longer than expected to find your gorilla family, but the anticipation of seeing these gentle giants in the wild, along with the spectacular views and likely bird sightings on offer, is likely to be more than enough distraction from that. And we can almost guarantee that when you come face to face with these majestic animals the trek will soon become a distant memory!
Porters may be hired for the trek to carry your backpack and gear. The cost is US$10 per person/per day.
Upon sighting the gorillas your group will be allowed one hour with them to watch them as they go about their daily lives; feeding, moving, playing, wrestling and feeding their young – this will be a totally unique and unforgettable experience!
As your exciting gorilla adventure comes to an end you will head back to the lodge for lunch and the rest of the day is at your leisure. You could relax on your private verandah and reflect on the remarkable experience you will have had today before enjoying a delicious dinner and settling down for the last night of your Rwanda primate experience tour.
Volcanoes NP & Departure
The final morning of your exciting Rwanda primate safari will allow you to spend some more time exploring the magnificent Volcanoes National Park. Featuring a rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath, as well as five extinct volcanoes, this spectacularly scenic park is home to 178 recorded bird species, as well as other wildlife such as golden monkeys, bush duiker, buffalo and spotted hyenas. There will be a number of optional extra activities available this morning including golden monkey treks, a hike to Dian Fossey’s grave, a Bisoke mountain hike or a cultural visit to a local village.
After a morning of exploration we will depart from the foothills of the Virunga volcanoes and take a scenic drive back to Kigali for your onward or homeward flights.
Your Itinerary Accommodation
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Volcanoes NP
Located on the edge of the spectacular Volcanoes National Park, this welcoming lodge is set amongst four acres of land on the slopes of Mt Sabyinyo. Offering an authentic eco-lodge experience, guests are invited to make themselves at home in one of the lodge’s 30 spacious chalets made from locally sourced stone and thatch. Featuring comfortable beds, en-suite facilities, seating areas with fireplaces, and private verandas, the chalets are cosy, private and well-equipped.
The main area of the lodge features an on-site restaurant and bar where guests can relax after a long day of trekking through the forest in search of the famous mountain gorillas.
Lemigo Hotel, Kigali
This warm, modern and stylish 4-star hotel is situated in an urban oasis in the heart of Kigali’s city centre, just 5km from the airport, making it the perfect base from which to explore the city or enjoy some relaxation after a long flight. Featuring a gym, large outdoor swimming pool, a spa, a casino and a private cinema, this excellent hotel offers everything you will need and more. The hotel also offers a top-quality fine dining restaurant with a pool front setting, and a beautiful lobby lounge where guests can mingle and enjoy a wide range of beverages.
This stylish hotel offers a wide variety of room types, ranging from standard rooms to deluxe presidential suites. Each well-appointed room features an en-suite bathroom, satellite TV, air-conditioning, and a private balcony.
Moriah Hill Resort, Lake Kivu
Stunningly situated along the west shores of Lake Kivu, this modern beach resort offers good value for money in a prime location just 1km from Karongi town. The hotel features 18 clean and comfortable standard guest bedrooms which offer comfortable beds, a functional en-suite bathroom and a private balcony with views over the lake. There is also an opulent two-bedroom presidential suite which features a large en-suite bathroom with double bathtub, lounge area and kitchenette.
Guests at Moriah Hill can make use of the excellent restaurant which has a terrace for dining overlooking the lake, the on-site sauna, children’s play area, and well-stocked bar.
What Our Customers
We needed some suggestions for our African adventure since, although pretty seasoned travellers, this was somewhere we still needed to tick off our list. The lady we spoke to in your office was most helpful. We had seen ‘gorillas in the mist’ on TV so this was a must for us. She understood our needs and looked after us well – I still cannot believe how close our guide was able to get us to a family of these great apes – we now have lots more jealous friends. Thank you to all involved.
Thanks for all your help – the very detailed briefing and advice really made our vacation in Africa a true ‘Trip of a Lifetime’. Recommendations follow!
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