Day 1 – Volcanoes National Park: Upon arrival at Kigali Airport, you will be met by a representative and taken on a city tour of Kigali, including the genocide memorial and craft centers. After lunch at a local restaurant (on your own account), drive to Musanze (formerly Ruhengeri) at the foot of the Virunga Mountains. Arrive at your lodge for dinner and overnight. (D)
Standard: Gorilla Mountain View Lodge is a moderate mountain lodge with panoramic views of the Virungas. All the rooms are separate cottages with full en suite facilities, hot and cold running water. A comfortable dining/bar and sitting area with a fireplace is especially nice on cool evenings.
Deluxe: Virunga Lodge, set on a stunning hillside, has eight bandas with a panoramic view of the Virunga Volcanoes. Each banda features cozy chairs, tables, and two dressers.
Luxury: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge provides some of the most exclusive accommodations in Rwanda. All ten guest rooms and suites are individual cottages carefully positioned to offer wonderful views of the Virunga Volcanoes. Cottages feature a sitting room, fireplace, dressing room, large bathroom with all modern amenities, and veranda. (includes drinks)
Luxury+: Bisate Lodge, a new lodge near Volcanoes National Park has been very popular before it opened in mid-2017. Lucky guests enjoy views of the Virunga Massif, as well as exclusivity (only six rooms!), incredible service and delectable meals.
Day 2 – Volcanoes National Park: Gorilla trekking day #1! After breakfast, take a short drive (or 45 min from Virunga Lodge) to park headquarters and meet with excellent local guides and trackers who will give a talk on the etiquette of gorilla trekking. Hike into the forest where the gorillas were seen the night before and track from that point. The trekking can take from one-to-six hours and climb to altitudes in excess of 7,500 feet. The terrain is rough and at times muddy. Although the hike can be physically demanding, the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery make the trekking worthwhile. Once the gorillas are located, all fatigue is forgotten, as the experience is often described as being the most profound natural history experience in the world. It can rain at a moment’s notice; therefore, waterproof clothing is essential including, zip lock bags for cameras and film. Enjoy lunch then visit an ex-poachers village. Dinner and overnight at your lodge. (B, L, D)
Note: One hour is permitted with the gorillas per trek. Gorilla sightings cannot be guaranteed. The minimum age is 15 years old. Tracking through the forest can be steep, wet and slippery. Gorilla permits are subject to availability.
Day 3 – Volcanoes National Park: Gorilla trekking day #2! After an early breakfast, return to the park headquarters and visit a different gorilla family. After lunch, return to Kigali and enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure. Overnight at the Kigali Serena Hotel. (B, L)
Kigali Serena is a luxury hotel in central Kigali featuring restaurants, a bar/lounge, spa, gym, beauty salon, swimming pool, and WiFi internet access.
Day 4 – Kigali/Depart: After breakfast, enjoy an optional visit to local markets and craft centers before transferring to Kigali International Airport for your departing flight. (B)
Optional Helicopter Flight from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park: Add $500 to $800 per person one way. Call for details.
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Photo Credit: Rwanda Tourism Board
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