Day 1 ‐ Kigale to Musanze (Ruhengeri)(LD)
Our guide will meet your flight at the Kigali Airport. From here you will have a private transfer from Kigali to Musanze
(116km) which will generally take around two hours. This is the closest town to the Volcanoes National park where the
mountain gorilla resides. With 90% of Rwanda’s population involved in agriculture this is a stunning drive as you travel
through the farming districts with their jewel green terraced gardens and start to fully comprehend why Rwanda is
called the ‘Land of 1000 hills’. The main crops grown include sorghum, yams, potatoes, tea, coffee and bananas.
Musanze (previously known as Ruhengeri) is the fourth largest town in Rwanda and sits under a chain of five Volcanoes.
Karisimbi (the largest volcano), is Rwanda’s highest point at 4507 metres. The rest of this range include the free
standing volcanic peaks of Bisoke (watering hole), Mikeno, Sabyinyo (old man’s teeth) , Mgahinga (pile of stones) and
Muhabura (the guide). These combine to form the borders between Rwanda, Uganda and the Congo. The 13,000
hectare Volcanoes National Park Forest that covers these peaks is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is here where the
mountain gorillas reside. The oldest of these Volcanoes, Sabyinyo rises 3640 meters towering directly over the town
Musanze. The volcanoes on the Rwanda side are extinct and each have a crater lake. Nearby volcanoes in the Congo,
also in this chain, have been the sites of recent eruptions and lava flows. The Volcanoes National Park joins Mgahinga
National Park in Uganda and Virunga National Park in the Congo to form a large trans‐frontier park in which around 380
of the 730 or so remaining mountain gorillas in the world reside. The rest of the remaining mountain gorillas are found
in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda. It is in this area of Rwanda where the primatologist Diane
Fossey undertook the first studies in mountain gorilla behavior. Her work to promote the plight of the highly
endangered mountain gorilla has led to the promotion of the current gorilla tourism program in which you will
participate in over the next few days.
Day 2 ‐ Musanze, Gorilla Trek Day (BLD)
Your gorilla trek is sure to be the highlight of your tour. We head to the Kinigi ranger station by 7am, where we are
allocated guides and breifed before heading into the forest. We will track one of the seven habituated gorilla groups in
Rwanda. Habituation of a gorilla group takes a minimum of two years, with daily visits to allow the gorilla group to
tolerate human presence. It is only when the gorillas are completely comfortable with human presence that tourists are
allowed to share the daily hour of contact with them.Only eight poeple are able to track each habituated group. The
walk to find the gorillas may be as short as two hours, but it will generally take 2‐4 hours to find them as their territory
can range up to 40km. The park rangers and guides will clear the way and assist you through the forest. You will need
good fitness to make this walk and the going can be slippery and tough at times. Once the gorilla group is located you
will spend an hour with them as they feed, rest and play.
Sitting with the mountain gorilla is one of the most amazing wildlife experiences you will ever have. A dominant male
silverback can weigh over 200 kilos and is the largest living primate. He will control your meeting as well as deciding
when his group will eat, sleep and move on. His females care for their young with affection and playfulness but also
with discipline. They are very curious, and are capable of making over 25 different vocalisations, including chuckling and
purring. Communication also includes posturing, chest beating and if all else fails ‐ the charge! The privilege of spending
an hour with a family group is an experience that will never leave you. After your hour is up, you will wind your way
slowly out of the forest and back to the camp to swap stories about your amazing experience.
For the gorilla trek please bring walking boots, or waterproof trainers and socks, long pants and a light, long sleeved
shirt. Layers are best, as conditions in the tropical rain forest can change from hot to wet and cold in an instant. Start
with a long sleeved t‐shirt and long pants, thick socks and boots; add a fleece and rainproof jacket and you should be
right for all conditions. Please choose khaki or muted colours to allow you to get closer to the wildlife. Bright colours
advertise your presence and make it more difficult to track game. Anti‐histamine cream is useful if you get too close to
any stinging nettles; the gorillas are immune to these, so often choose this soft place to rest. Gloves can sometimes be a
handy addition. A small day pack is very useful to carry water, lunch and cameras. The day can be a long one but is 100%
Photographing gorillas is allowed, but flash photography is prohibited. Anyone wishing to use a video camera must pay
for a special permit.
If you still have energy left after this trek you may like to visit the colorful Musanze market and wander through the
multiude of stalls selling everything form bananas and beans to brightly coloured materials and of course the kitchen
sink. Other options available are visits to local brickmaking and beekeeping projects, a traditional healer and local
medicinal garden or local school or orphanage. Your guide will discuss with you the opportunities available on the day
should you wish to get out and about in Musanze.
Day 3 ‐ Musanze, Golden Monkey trek and onwards to Kigali (BLD)
This morning you will trek a fully habituated group of 15 golden monkeys in the Volcanoes National Park. The golden
monkey is a rare species of old world monkey now found only in the Virunga mountain range. Now endangered, it is one
of the species on the endangered red list. It lives in social groups of up to 30 individuals usually led by one adult male.
Communication is by calls and visual expressions. The monkey has a golden reddish back and sides, cheeks and tail with
black limbs and can weigh up to 12 kilos in maturity. The golden monkey has a lifespan up to 19 years and females will
generally give birth every two years. Males generally leave the group when they reach sexual maturity only returning
when they are stong enough to lead the group and mate. You spend up to one hour with the group as they forage for
bamboo, leaves and fruits travel play and rest. This is a different experience than the gorilla viewing as the golden
monkeys are fast and nimble and can be harder to spot but the time in the forest with these charming animals is a
highlight. When we return from our golden monkey trek we freshen up then head back to Kigali city where our tour
Day 4 ‐ Kigali City toAirport
Today you spend time Rwanda’s capital city Kigali. Located In the geographical center of Rwanda this city is built upon
the rolling hills surrounding Mount Kigali. Kigali is known as the ‘garden city’ and is resplendent with wide avenues and
many gardens and trees. Once a month every city resident is responsible for reporting to a cleanup team to keep the city
beautiful. Today you will you have the opportunity to visit the genocide memorial. This memorial tells the story of
the1994 Rwanda genocide where an estimated 800,000 people died. The story is told through story boards,
photographs, ID cards, and collections of bones, video artifact and a number of grave sites. The memorial has been
presented in a very moving way and cannot help to affect you. We find the majority of persons visiting this memorial
think their time in Rwanda would not have been complete without a visit here, but please be prepared for tears. It is a
personal choice should you like to visit, if you would prefer not to visit, we will arrange another option for your time in
Kigali. The following report from one of our clients sums it up beautifully.
“As you had said, it is really something worth visiting. My feelings were ripped to shreds with the horror of what I saw
firsthand and the story that they told so well. Even saying that, I wouldn't have missed the opportunity to try to
understand how such a thing can happen, and how human beings can actually destroy others the way they did. Now,
both sides have to live with the pain of the event, and they are so brilliant at getting on with their lives. I can't explain
how strongly I feel about the visit but, knowing that you've also seen it, I'm sure you understand. It now stands out as
one of the most amazing days in all of our month in Africa” Gabrielle Holmes. Australia
We will also take a look around this interesting city and maybe try out your French speaking skills. If time permits before
your flight we will visit the Dancing Pots a chance to learn more about the Batwa people and participate in a traditional
pottery workshop and dancing display. In the afternoon you will be transferred to the airport in time to meet your
The last nights accommodation is not included, please advise if we can assist with a booking.