Meet the Gorillas, Uganda & Rwanda

Rwanda, with its rolling mountainous landscapes, lakes and volcanoes was always known for the 'Gorillas in the Mist', as the home of Dian Fossey and as Africa's premier gorilla tracking destination. Recently, Rwanda, has sadly been known for the terrible genocide in 1994 but what most people do not know is that Rwanda has been peaceful and stable since 1995 and the country is now firmly back on its feet; stable and promoting tourism in one of the continent's most beautiful countries. I visited Rwanda in the early nineties having travelled all through East and Central Africa and thought it the most beautiful country I had visited. When I started Farside Africa tourism was still very slow in this central African country but now with the building of new hotels and lodges throughout Rwanda and the popularity of seeing the gorillas, tourism in Rwanda is growing and it is well worth a visit.

A 6 day safari to see gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda

This safari goes to two gorilla parks - PNV in Rwanda and Mgahinga in Uganda, on different sides of the misty Virunga volcanoes where about 350 mountain gorillas make their home. In Parc National des Volcans on the Rwandan side, where Dian Fossey worked, there are four habituated gorilla families. You can track gorillas, climb a volcano or visit the Karisoke Research Centre, take in the breathtaking landscape, or go for walks around the picturesque villages near Volcanoes PNV Camp. On the Ugandan side there is one habituated gorilla family.

[One PNV gorilla permit is included in the cost but the other gorilla trackings require a supplement to be paid at time of booking.]

Accommodation

Gorillas Nest Hotel

This newly opened quality lodge is located close to the Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda. It is nestled under a grove of trees, with all the rooms surrounding a large courtyard. There are comfortable, nicely appointed rooms with en-suite chalets with modern bathrooms and hot water. It has a spacious restaurant with large bar and reception area and friendly service. On a clear day the views across to the volcanoes and surrounding hills are spectacular.

PNV Virunga Lodge

PNV Virunga Lodge is a brand new lodge opened in December 2003. Set on a stunning hillside overlooking the Virunga volcanoes and Lake Ruhondo and Lake Bulera, this is a breathtaking place.

View from PNV Lodge View from PNV Lodge PNV Lodge under construction in 2003

Mount Gahinga Rest Camp

Mount Gahinga Rest Camp nestles in the shadow of the dramatic Virunga volcanoes, on the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.. On the edge of Mgahinga National Park, the Camp is the ideal place for the discerning visitor to stay while gorilla tracking, climbing a volcano, going birding, swimming in the emerald waters of Lake Mutanda or just taking in one of the most breathtaking landscapes of Africa. There are nine thatched bandas and three tents all ensuite.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Saturday

You will be met on arrival at Kigali airport and transferred to the Hotel des Mille Collines/Hotel Umubano for one nights on a B&B basis.

Virunga Mountains

Day 2 - Sunday

You will have an early start from Kigali to the Parc National des Volcans. The journey north goes through the beautiful terraced hillsides that characterise much of Rwanda's landscape, gradually climbing to the base of the awesome volcanoes, sometimes with as many as five peaks visible. Tracking the gorillas through the forest requires patience and stamina, sometimes walking for a few hours in the mud and wet. Finally coming across them in the undergrowth is an inspiring moment. You will spend 2 nights in Volcanoes PNV Camp/Gorilla Nest Hotel on a full board basis.

Virunga Gorillas

Day 3 - Monday

Either go gorilla tracking in Parc National des Volcans (on payment of supplement at time of booking) or climb the Visoke volcano or trek to the Karisoke Research Centre which Dian Fossey set up or visit local communities or simply relax at Camp.

Mount Mikeno from Visoke Volcano Dian Fossey with baby gorillas

Day 4 - Tuesday

Relax or walk near the Camp in the morning and transfer to Uganda after lunch. [Clocks go forward one hour]. Then either visit the emerald-green Lake Mutanda, ringed by the volcanoes and take a walk on the shores and weather permitting, take a canoe to Toyo Island, Volcanoes' private island before continuing to Mount Gahinga or go directly to Mgahinga and do a shamba walk nearby. You will spend two nights at Volcanoes Mount Gahinga Camp on a full board basis.

Lake Mutanda Misty rainforest in the Virungas

Day 5 - Wednesday

In Mgahinga Gorilla National park. Either track gorillas again (on payment of supplement at time of booking) or climb a volcano, go for a nature or shamba walk, or take in the breathtaking landscapes.

The Virunga Mountains A crater lake

Day 6 - Thursday

Leave for Kigali in Rwanda. [Clocks go back one hour]. Time permitting, go for a tour of the city including a visit to the market, the Franco-Rwandan cultural centre and a genocide memorial. Transfer to airport for your onward flight.

This trip leaves as a set date departure once a month or can be tailored into any itinerary within East Africa. Gorillas can be viewed in either or both countries.

Please contact us for more details


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