Rwanda gorilla and wildlife safari holidays – Do you want to visit mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, colobus, or golden monkeys? Rwanda offers you a remarkable primate safari with no difficulty. This small landlocked country is home to the highest number of primates, which together offer you a memorable primate trekking safari. Primates are key tourist attractions in Rwanda attracting the highest number of travelers from all over the world. Primates especially chimpanzee and gorillas are close relatives to human beings whose human-like characters make them distinct creatures worth visiting. Any Rwanda safari without visiting these primates is undeniably incomplete. Also, some of these primates are highly endangered and hardly found elsewhere in the world. The best places to go for primate trekking in Rwanda are:
Located in northwestern Rwanda, Volcanoes national park is Rwanda’s first stop center for primate trekking. The park is home to 10 habituated mountain gorillas hence the best stop center to visit and interact with the endangered mountain gorillas. Volcanoes is one of the four national parks that shelter mountain gorillas in the whole world. Other gorilla parks include Virunga national park in Congo, Mgahinga and Bwindi forest national parks in Uganda. Also, Rwanda offers luxury gorilla tours due to her costly gorilla permits @ 1500 per permit compared to Uganda and Congo. Each gorilla family is visited by 8 people hence 80 gorilla permits issued every day. Besides gorillas, Volcanoes National park is home to the endangered golden monkeys. Have a close encounter with golden monkeys; enjoy their lively characters at as low as $100 per permit. Endeavor to hike to the graveyard of Dian Fossey, an American primatologist who lost her life to save mountain gorillas that were at the verge of extinction in the Virunga massif. Other attractions to visit in Volcanoes National park include Bulera and Ruhondo twin lakes and Musanze caves. If you are physically fit, enjoy hiking to the top of Mount Karisimbi or Bisoke whose slopes shelter endangered gorillas.
Rwanda gorilla and wildlife safari holiday -Home to the highest population of chimpanzees, Nyungwe forest is a must visit on your Rwanda primate safari. Unlike gorillas, chimpanzees are lively and constantly move jumping across trees at high speeds while shouting at each other as a form of communication. Chimpanzees are a core attraction in Nyungwe forest estimated to shelter over 500 individuals. Interestingly, chimpanzees are visited at $100 for a permit, which is far less compared to $1500 for mountain gorillas. Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest is done in two areas, which are Cyamudongo forest and the main forest. Different chimpanzee communities have been habituated for trekking. Chimpanzee treks in Nyungwe start off from any of the three reception centers at Gisakura, Kitabi and Uwinka depending on where travelers spent a night. The loud screams, hoots, and cracks of tree branches alert travelers where chimpanzees are located. Besides chimpanzees, Nyungwe forest offers travelers with exceptional canopy walk which give you an aerial view of the forest and the Virunga volcanoes. Also, enjoy a forest walk to Kamiranzovu waterfall and other spots in the park. You will enjoy the sweet sounds of birds, which sing endlessly up in the trees making your safari more fun and enjoyable.
Akagera national park.
Akagera is almost unrecognisable today compared to just 20 years ago when it was on the verge of being lost forever. While peace was finally restored in the 1990s after the 1994 Genocide, Akagera’s demise was just beginning. Refugees returning to Rwanda after the genocide were still battling for their own survival and turned to the forests for timber, wildlife for protein and the wild savannas for their livestock. Lions were hunted to local extinction, rhinos disappeared, and the park’s wildlife was displaced by tens of thousands of long-horned cattle. Biodiversity was practically lost, and with it so was employment and tourism. The park’s value was virtually diminished, which makes its story of revival even more remarkable.
In 2010, African Parks assumed management of Akagera in partnership with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), shifting the park’s trajectory from one of oblivion to prosperity and hope. After years of preparation, through effective law enforcement and management, 2017 saw the historic return of 18 Eastern black rhinoceros after a 10-year absence, thanks to the support from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. An additional five captive-bred black rhinos were translocate from Europe in June 2019, with the support of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), to augment the genetic diversity. Two new male lions were also translocated to Akagera in 2017 to enhance the genetic diversity of the growing pride, which has now tripled since their initial reintroduction in 2015. With poaching essentially halted, the park’s key wildlife populations have continued to rise. The park is generating more than US$2.5M in annual revenue, making it 90% self-financing driven by the tens of thousands of people, half of whom are nationals, coming to see its rebirth.
This is Rwanda’s newly opened national park located in western Rwanda shared by Ngororero and Rutsiro districts. The forest is home to numerous white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, blue monkey, and some wild chimpanzees.
Day 1 – Kigali to Akagera National Park
Arrive to Kigali early morning. Drive from Kigali to Akagera National Park, a drive lasting around two or three hours. The journey is mainly on tarmacked good quality roads until the final section.
The 100,000-hectare Akagera National Park is situated in eastern Rwanda, bordering Tanzania, and has been managed by African Parks in partnership with the Rwanda Development Board since 2010. It comprises some of the most scenic savannah in East Africa – open plains, woodlands, lakes, swamp, and grassy low mountains. Akagera has undergone an incredible transformation in the last eight years where poaching has essentially been eliminated and wildlife is now thriving. African Parks reintroduced lions in 2015 after a 20-year absence and reintroduced the black rhinoceros in 2017.
Enjoy an evening boat road across Lake Ihema spotting hippos and many different species of birds.
Stay the night at a hotel in the park.
Day 2 – Full day in Akagera National Park
Wake up early to enjoy a full day safari game drive and boat tour accompanied by an expert guide, driving through the incredible landscape of Akagera National Park. The varied landscape is shown through the different species spotted here. Visitors to the park will be able to view a range of wildlife on expertly-guided game drives, walks and boating trips, including buffalo, lion, leopard, elephant, giraffe, spotted hyena, zebra and more. The park also boasts almost 500 species of birds including the spectacular shoebill with its implausibly massive bill and the near-endemic red-faced barbet.
Stay the night at the same hotel.
Day 3 – Akagera to Nyungwe National Park
Drive from Akagera National Park to Nyungwe Forest.
Along the way to Nyungwe Forest stop off in the Cultural Heritage Corridor of Rwanda and visit the King’s Palace and The Ethnographic Museum
Covering over 1000 square kilometers, Nyungwe is surely one of the world’s most beautiful and pristine mountain rainforests. It’s believed to be one of Africa’s oldest forests, staying green even through the Ice Age, which explains its diversity.
Home to habituated chimpanzees and 12 other primates species (including a 400-strong troop of habituated Ruwenzori Black & White Colobus), it’s also a birdwatcher’s paradise with over 300 species, including 16 endemics, and is home to 75 different species of mammal.
This majestic rainforest is filled with nature and wildlife experiences for you to emerge yourself in. Hiking or even biking the beautiful terrain, tracking the famous chimpanzees, experiencing the canopy walk, witnessing beautiful birds, relaxing by waterfalls are just a glimpse of activities that Nyungwe offers.
Sounds and views collaborate to create a one-of-a-kind wildlife experience. Exploring through the forest, travelers will witness the lush green mountains and cooling mist in a landscape that won’t be soon forgotten.
Experience the only canopy walk in East Africa before heading to your hotel.
Day 4 – Nyungwe National Park
Wake up early to go chimpanzee tracking in the Nyungwe Forest. After a short briefing by your guide, walk through stunning tea plantations before entering the thick luscious forest. There are over 13 species of monkey found in the forest and excellent birding opportunities with over 100 species of butterflies and the occasional chameleon.
The excursion can last from one to four hours but you will definitely hear the chimpanzees from the moment you enter the forest. Once found you will stay for an hour with the chimpanzees, watching them play, fight and eat in the atmospheric forest.
Return to your hotel to relax and refresh.
Day 5 – Nyungwe to Lake Kivu
Transfer along the beautiful coastal road to Lake Kivu, Serena Hotel. The drive lasts around three hours and offers some of Rwanda’s most beautiful scenery. Look out over Lake Kivu’s hundred islands and beautiful shores and you take an evening baot safari on Lake kivu to explore the fresh waters of Rwanda
The Serena Hotel on the north shore of Lake Kivu provides beautiful views of the lake and the Congo region.
Relax by kayaking and swimming in the lake. Kingfisher Journeys organise kayaking, canoeing and mountain biking opportunities around Lake Kivu and the surrounding areas.
Day 6 – Lake Kivu to Volcanoes National Park
Spend the morning relaxing at the Lake before transferring to Volcanoes National Park in the afternoon.
Relax at your hotel near Volcanoes National Park.
Day 7 – Volcanoes National Park
Gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park: Wake up at sunrise and drive the short journey to the park headquarters where briefing, porters and tea and coffee will be given before starting the adventure into the forest. Local ports can be arranged and help with the guide to complete the gorilla tracking experience.
Tracking can be between 90 minutes and the whole morning depending on what family group is assigned. You will spend one hour with the gorillas – sometimes moving around to stay with the gorillas or following them. The guide will ensure you are in the best spots to take the most beautiful pictures and experience the breathtaking experience properly.
Return to your hotel for relaxing evening and refreshments.
Day 8 – Volcanoes National Park to Kigali
Golden monkey tracking: Hikes to see the smaller and nimbler monkeys are a fun and adventurous way to explore the forest. Named because of their bright orange bodies, they are indigenous to the region and more elusive than the gorillas and these fast-moving monkeys will certainly keep you on your toes.
Depending on your onward flight, a kigali city tour, overnight accommodation can be arranged.
Return to your hotel to freshen up and light meal before returning to Kigali that afternoon.
Spend the night at a hotel in Kigali and enjoy the hotel’s delicious food and offerings.
Day 9 – Kigali
Flight departs from Kigali. Contact Great Adventure Safaris to book and enjoy Rwanda gorilla and wildlife safari holiday in a country of a thousand hills.