Visit Rwanda, where you can trek with gorillas and chimpanzees in the Virunga mountains. Start in the capital of Kigali, where you’ll learn about the recent history of this tiny African nation. Next, you’ll head west to Nyungwe Forest Reserve, where you’ll track chimps through the thick canopies before climbing into the vast Virunga Mountains on the border of the Congo. Here, you’ll experience a magical hour with mountain gorillas, after a lengthy trek to meet these fascinating creatures. Staying in luxurious hotels with spectacular views and cosy rooms, this is the most luxurious way to enjoy a trip of a lifetime.
This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements; please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.
Depart the UK from your chosen airport.
On arrival in Kigali, you will be met at the airport and driven to your hotel in the city, checking in for one night.
Enjoy an early breakfast before departing on the scenic drive to Nyungwe National Park via Butare, the second largest city in Rwanda. Here you’ll stop for a tour of the Butare National Museum, one of the finest ethnographic museums of East Africa. It’s a great place to learn about the cultural history of the country. Enjoy lunch in Butare before heading onwards towards the rainforest reserve of Nyungwe. On arrival you’ll check into your lodge for two nights.
You’ll be staying at One & Only Nyungwe House, a one-of-a-kind escape, in the midst of one of Africa’s oldest rainforests. This sumptuous oasis is the ultimate luxury accommodation – think cosy rooms looking out into the treetops, traditional Rwandan art mixed with sleek, modern design and sensational food enjoyed whilst looking out over the misty forests.
It’s an early start today – enjoy breakfast and head out to the trailhead at around 5 am, before embarking on a thrilling hike to see the chimpanzees. The Rwanda chimpanzee population is approximately 500 individuals, all within the Nyungwe National Park. You’ll head these excitable primates before you see them, their hooting calls echoing through the trees. You might also spot some spectacular birdlife, including regal sunbirds and grey-cheeked hornbills.
After lunch, you’ll depart for your canopy walk. Suspended above the lush rainforest, canopy walkways will provide a unique view over the treetops, and a fascinating perspective of the wildlife below. Spend your afternoon and evening back at the lodge, recounting on stories from your day.
After breakfast, you will head off for the scenic drive to Lake Kivu. Part of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Kivu is one of the largest lakes in the country. On arrival at your hotel, you will spend the afternoon at your leisure.
Today, you’ll head off on a scenic drive towards the beautiful, terraced hillsides that show of Rwanda’s mountainous landscape. You’ll arrive at Ruhengeri, the base for all gorilla trekking in the Parc National des Volcans. The town is located close to the Ugandan border, with a constant flow of people passing through. Here, you’ll check into the Sabinyo Silverback Lodge, a lovely, community-owned lodge. It’s a beautiful spot to stay, especially with the cosy fireplaces keeping you snug in the cooler nights, with spectacular views over the surrounding volcanoes.
Another early start, you’ll be driven over to Volcanoes National Park where you’ll register for your gorilla trek. Here, the park staff will determine which group of gorillas you will visit. You will be put into groups and receive a trekking time, based on the gorilla’s location within the park the previous evening. There is a maximum of 96 gorilla permits available each day, with 8 trekkers in each group.
You’ll receive a briefing from your guide, learning of all of the ‘do’s and don’ts’ while in the presence of gorillas, before heading up into the mountains to begin the hike. Trekking can take from two to six hours, as the gorillas sometimes move before the park rangers locate them the next morning. You’ll be able to stop frequently for a chance to rest and take photos as you go.
Your encounter with the gorillas will be so special – coming so close to these magnificent animals is a joy. Whether you meet the majestic silverback or see some baby gorillas playing in the jungle, it will be an hour you’ll never forget.
After your experience, you’ll meet with a driver who will return you to the lodge for dinner.
After breakfast at your lodge, you’ll take a scenic drive back to Kigali from the Virunga Volcanoes, being driven over to the airport for your flight home.
The lush nation of Rwanda is nestled in the heart of Africa, with high altitudes and plenty of rain. The long rainy seasons comes between March and May, with dry weather following from June to the end of September. Another short rainy spell hits in October and November before a shorter dry season from December to February.
Dry seasons are often characterised by light cloud and warmer temperatures, although in a nation this lush, rain is always possible. There are discounts on gorilla permits if you travel outside of the peak months, please ask our consultants if you are interested in learning about travelling to Rwanda between November and May.
If you'd like to get a feel for this trip, read our blog post ‘Why Rwanda travel is on the rise: gorillas are just the beginning’ - written by one of our consultants who has been there.
This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.