8 Days Rwanda Gorillas & Chimpanzee Safari
8 Days Rwanda Gorillas & Chimpanzee Safari has been designed to accommodate all your needs in regards to primate trekking. During these 8 days primate safari in Rwanda, you will have an opportunity to track habituated mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park and do chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe Forest National Park.
Highlights of the 8 Days Rwanda Gorillas & Chimpanzee Safari
- Day 1: Arrival in Kigali & Transfer to Volcanoes National Park.
- Day 2: Gorilla Trekking & Iby’ iwacu Community Tour.
- Day 3: Dian Fossey Hike and Visit Karisoke Research Center.
- Day 4: Transfer to Lake Kivu via Gisenyi & an Afternoon Boat Cruise.
- Day 5: Transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park.
- Day 6: Chimpanzee Trekking & Hike to Isumo Waterfalls.
- Day 7: Canopy Walkway
- Day 8: Transfer back to Kigali & Departure.
Day 1: Arrival in Kigali & Transfer to Volcanoes National Park.
- Pickup from Kigali & City Tour: Welcome to Rwanda! On day 1 of your 12 days Rwanda Gorillas Adventure, your guide will pick you up from Kigali international Airport upon your arrival. You will then embark on a short tour of Kigali city where you will visit some key tourist sites such as; Kigali Genocide Memorial, Caplaki Craft Village, the Presidential Palace, Camp Kigali, Nyamirambo Women’s Center, and Kimironko market to mention but a few. You will have lunch in Kigali and later proceed with your transfer to Volcanoes National Park.
- Transfer to Volcanoes: Your transfer to Volcanoes National Park will take about 2⅟₂ hours of driving. The national park is located in the northeastern part of Rwanda in Ruhengeri district. The park is the only safe haven for the endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Upon your arrival in the park, check into your lodge for dinner and accommodation.
Day 2: Gorilla Trekking & Iby’ iwacu Community Tour.
- Gorilla Trekking: Today marks the highlight of your 8 days Rwanda Safari! Have breakfast early in the morning from your lodge. It is also recommended that you ask the chef to prepare for you packed lunch which you will take with you to the pack. Transfer to the park headquarters in Kinigi where your gorilla trekking experience will begin. Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park starts at 8am after a briefing from the head ranger at the park. You are therefore advised to arrive at the park by 7am in the morning. Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes lasts between two to eight hours with an hour to spend with the gorillas once you have located a gorilla group. You will be given time to rest and have your lunch in case you packed some. Later return back to the park headquarters for your gorilla trekking certificate and reconnect with your guide.
- Iby’iwacu Community Tour: After your amazing gorilla trekking experience, transfer to the Iby’iwacu community village for a community cultural tour. The Iby’iwacu village community is located just a few kilometers outside the national park. The community members are reformed poachers who have been integrated into the conservation projects in the national park. Get to mingle with the locals, watch cultural dance performances and even listen to interesting folk tales from the elders of the community. Later drive back to your lodge for dinner and accommodation.
Day 3: Dian Fossey Hike and Visit Karisoke Research Center.
- Hike Dian Fossey Gravesite: Have breakfast from your lodge, grab your packed lunch and head out for a guided hike to Dian Fossey Gravesite. Dian Fossey was a well-known American primatologist and gorilla conservationist. She is famous for her scientific research that she carried out on mountain gorilla groups in both Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. During her stay in Rwanda, Dian actively participated in conservation projects, strongly opposing poaching of gorillas and other wildlife animals. In December 1985, Fossey was found dead in her cabin at a remote campsite in Rwanda. She was buried next to her favorite gorilla, ‘Digit’ and ten other mountain gorillas that died in Volcanoes national park. The hike to Dian’s tomb starts at the park headquarters in Kinigi at exactly 7am. The hike involves a 10-15 minute stroll to the park’s border and then you will hike through the lush green forests, taking about 1 to 3 hours depending on your hiking pace and physical condition. You will then descend the steep mountain taking about 1 to 2 hours before finally coming to Dian Fossey’s Campsite. The Campsite is found at an altitude of about 3,000 meters above sea level.
- Visit Karisoke Research Center: A hike to Dian Fossey’s tomb will also see you taking a tour of the Karisoke Research center, where Fossey carried out most of her research work along with her team of researchers. Later return to your lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 4: Transfer to Lake Kivu via Gisenyi & an Afternoon Boat Cruise.
- Transfer to Lake Kivu: After having breakfast at your lodge/Guesthouse, proceed with your transfer to Lake Kivu. Lake Kivu is one of the great lakes in Africa, and it is also the largest fresh water lakes that lie within the Albertine Rift Valley. You will have lunch enroute.
- Afternoon Boat Cruise: You will get to visit Lake Kivu and take a boat ride on the lake. Get to explore the stunning birdlife around the lake and its surrounding areas. While on the boat cruise, you will get to see some of the spectacular bird species around like; the yellow- billed kites, common waxbill and cardinal wood pecker among others. You will also get to visit the peace island of Amahoro and Napoleon Island which is well known for its bat caves. After your short boat ride experience on Lake Kivu, drive to your designated hotel where you will relax for the rest of the evening. Dinner and an overnight stay at Lake Kivu Serena Hotel.
Day 5: Transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park.
- Transfer to Nyungwe: Have breakfast at your lodge and check out and proceed with your transfer to Nyungwe National Park. You will have a stopover at the Royal King’s Palace in Nyanza for a short tour of the palace, have lunch and continue with your drive to Nyungwe Forest National Park. Upon your arrival in Nyungwe National Park, Check into your lodge/hotel and have lunch. You spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing at your hotel/lodge.
- Visit Gisakura Tea Estate: Later in the evening, you will head out to Gisakura Tea estate. Here, you will be taken through the process of tea growing, harvesting, processing and packaging. You will even get to taste the delicious taste of the final product. Return back to your lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Chimpanzee Trekking & Hike to Isumo Waterfalls.
- Chimpanzee Trekking: This day marks one of the highlights of your 12 day Rwanda safari. Have an early breakfast and then head to the Park’s headquarters in Uwinka where you will be briefed by the park’s head ranger and placed in trekking groups of 8 members per group. Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest national park begins at exactly 8am, so endeavor to keep time and make sure you are at the Uwinka center by 7am. Nyungwe Forest National Park is home to approximately 80 habituated chimpanzees. While tracking chimps in the forest, you might as well spot other primate species such as; the black and white colobus monkey, red-tailed monkey, golden monkey and other monkey species. You will have your packed lunch after your chimp trekking activity.
- Hike to Isumo waterfalls: Have breakfast at your lodge and later head out for a guided hiking expedition to Isumo waterfalls in Nyungwe Forest national park. The Isumo waterfall trail is a favorite hiking trail amongst hikers in the national park. It takes about 4 hours to complete the 10.6 kilometer long circuit. This trail passes through tea plantations and Nyungwe forest leading to the popular Isumo water falls. Visitors hiking this trail can on a good day sight various primate and bird species. Later head back to your lodge/hotel for dinner and a good night’s rest.
Day 7: Canopy Walkway
- Nyungwe Canopy Walk: Wake up early in the morning, have your breakfast and head back to the park’s headquarters at Uwinka Centre. This is where you will begin your hiking trip, which will lead you to the Canopy Walkway. The Nyungwe Forest Canopy Walk is the most exciting and adventurous activity in Nyungwe National Park. This activity is not for the faint of hearts as it involves walking along the canopy walkway, which stretches 160 meters long and extends 70 meters above the forest ground. The Canopy walkway in Nyungwe national park gives visitors a chance to explore the national park from above, as visitors along the canopy walkway can get a panoramic view of the forest canopy. In addition to this, visitors also have an opportunity to see wildlife in the park such as; monkeys, chimpanzees, butterflies and different bird species. Later drive back to your lodge/hotel for lunch and rest for the rest of the evening.
- Community Cultural Tour (Optional): Later in the evening, you can opt to embark on a cultural tour by paying a visit to any of the communities neighboring the national park. You will get a chance to learn more about the Rwandan cultures; watch dance performances and also get to interact with the local people in these communities.
Day 8: Transfer back to Kigali & Departure.
- Transfer Back to Kigali & Departure: Have a relaxed breakfast at your lodge and then check out. Meet up with your guide outside your lodge/ hotel and proceed with your transfer back to Kigali city. Upon your arrival in the city, your guide will drop you off either at your preferred hotel in Kigali or at the airport in time to check-in and board your flight back home.
End of 8 Days Rwanda Gorillas & Chimpanzee Safari