Rwanda - virunga-volcanoes-national-park

Detailed Safari Program

Day 1: KIGALI/VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

Morning hour’s arrival at the Kigali International Airport. Meet and Greet Services by a CATS Africa representative, outside the Airport Arrivals section. After a short briefing, embark on a morning sight-seeing tour of Kigali City.

The history of Rwanda dates back centuries, Kigali has been a part of it for 100 years. Founded in 1907 as a German settlement. Kigali did not become the capital until Rwanda’s independence in 1962 when it replaced the colonial seat of power in Butare.

Visit the Kandt museum, see old Kigali and the craft centres then visit the genocide memorial site. Learn about Rwanda’s history from pre-colonial times to the 1994 genocide; learn about other genocides in the world and how this country has dealt with that past. Tour more and see the new developments in Rwanda; the recovery has been incredible, a testament to humankind’s resilience.

At the end of the city tour, enjoy lunch at one of Kigali’s popular restaurants, or at the Hotel Mille Collines – depicted in the film “Hotel Rwanda”; the hotel became famous after 1,268 people took refuge inside the building during the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. After lunch, depart and drive north-west of the country to the Ruhengeri area – at the foothills of the Volcanoes Mountains.

The Volcanoes National Park lies in north-western Rwanda and borders Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. The National parkis known as a haven for the mountain gorilla and the golden monkey. It is also home to five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains (Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo), which are covered in rainforest stand bamboo. The park was the base for the zoologist Dian Fossey.

Arrive in the late afternoon, for check-in at your lodge. Dinner and overnight at MOUNTAIN GORILLA VIEW LODGE (full board).

Day 2: VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

After an early breakfast, you will be transferred to the park headquarters for registration of your gorilla trek and allocation of the particular gorilla family to visit. After registration and allocation of a gorilla family, the trekkers are put into groups - each group’s Lead Guide briefs the trekkers of the trekking procedures as well as the “do’s and don’ts” while in the presence of gorillas. After the briefing, trekkers return to their respective vehicles for the drive up the mountain to the trek start point, or Trail-Head.

Your trek starts in the cultivated foothills of the Virunga’s offering stirring views in all directions. Trekking can take from two to six or more hours if the gorillas move before the park rangers locate them the next morning. The guides stop frequently to allow trekkers a chance to rest and take photos along the way. When it enters the national park, trekkers will be immersed in the mysterious intimacy of the rainforest, alive with the colorful bird calls, chattering golden monkeys, littered with fresh spoor of the mountains’ elusive buffalo and elephant. Through gaps in the canopy, the magnificent peaks are glimpsed, among the highest in Africa yet easily accessible, beckon an ascent. Weaving through overhanging vines, moss-covered hagenia trees and giant lobelias that thrive in the tropical climate, our experienced trackers, who have spent their entire lives in or close to this forest, soon bring us up close with one of the Gorilla families. Upon sighting the gorillas, you will stay with them for a magical one-hour as they go about their daily life, feeding, playing, resting; raising their young. Coming face to face with a giant silverback must truly be one of the greatest wildlife experiences on earth! The Ultimate Experience!!

At the end of the trek, rejoin your driver-guide and transfer back to your lodge for freshening-up and lunch. Afternoon is at leisure – to simply relax at your lodge, or take up one of the optional activities, such as the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village visit. Rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure at your lodge. All meals and overnight at MOUNTAIN GORILLA VIEW LODGE (fullboard).

Day 3: VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

Breakfast at your lodge. Morning at leisure - one with nature under the shadows of the volcanoes mountains, with opportunity for a second gorilla trek or other of the optional activities available; Or take up the Golden Monkey trekking – the only other member of the primates species residing in the volcanoes.

For the Golden Monkey Trek:

Early breakfast at your lodge. You then be transferred to the park headquarters for registration of your Golden Monkey trek.

Trekking to see the Golden Monkeys is another highlight of Volcanoes National Park. The Golden Monkey is a local sub-species of the widespread Sykes Monkey, also known as the “Blue Monkey” and is endemic to the high altitude forests of the Volcanoes National Park area. The monkeys are playful and inquisitive and often spend their time leaping from bamboo branches or frolicking on the forest floor. Just as with the Mountain Gorillas, visitors are permitted to stay for only 1 hour with the Golden Monkeys.

At the end of the trek, rejoin your driver-guide and transfer back to your lodge for freshening-up and lunch. Afternoon is at leisure – to simply relax at your lodge, or take up one of the optional activities, such as a visit to the nearby spectacularly beautiful and picturesque Twin Lakes of Burera & Ruhondo: Rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure at your lodge, with dinner included. All meals and overnight at MOUNTAIN GORILLA VIEW LODGE(full board).

Day 4: VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK/KIGALI

After breakfast and check out drive back to Kigali and transferred to the airport for your onward flight