Arriving in Kigali you will be welcomed by your expert guide who will provide knowledge and assistance throughout your safari. Set off for the Volcanoes Mount Gahinga Lodge and cross the border into Uganda. Be sure to put your clocks one hour forward.
The lodge is located at the foot of the Virunga Volcanoes and near the entrance to the national park. Enjoy your pre-dinner drinks on the terrace with stunning views of the Volcanoes or warm yourself inside by the roaring fire.
The Batwa Heritage Experience offers an interactive tour of the culture and history of one of Africa’s oldest tribes. On your tour, you will gain insight into their traditional life in the forest and even have lessons in hunting and gathering of medicinal plants. On the tour, you are welcome to ask the Batwa questions about their traditional lifestyle, as they explain their religious, marriage and courtship customs. At the Batwa Vocational Centre (established by the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust) you can see first-hand the skills they are learning for self-sufficiency. Here you may even want to pick up a present or two to take home.
Other exciting activities for those interested in the culture and natural history of Mgahinga:
Hike the Muhavura, Sabinyo or Gahinga volcanoes. Mount Gahinga offers a gentler hike through the bamboo forest on the lower slopes and marshy craters at the peak.
Enjoy a performance from the Batwa Dance Group set against the enchanting setting of this volcanic landscape. This wonderful dance display (subject to pre-booking and group availability) is popular with Volcanoes Safaris clients and the local community alike. Learn more about the Batwa’s unique culture first-hand through their oral traditions. This initiative is fully supported by the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust and helps build positive relationships between the different local communities.
Track gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. NOTE: one gorilla permit is included in the cost of this Safari, for checking of the gorillas in Rwanda. (To track gorillas in Mgahinga, additional permits required, upon payment of a supplement and are subject to availability). Tracking in Mgahinga can be challenging due to steep and muddy paths.
A relaxed morning during which you will be accompanied by a ranger to track the golden monkeys through the bamboo forests of the mountains. These pretty primates travel in large groups and are as energetic as they are photogenic, often seen playing in the high branches or foraging on the ground for bamboo shoots.
After lunch, you will drive across the border into Rwanda (remembering to put your clocks back one hour). The magnificent Volcanoes Virunga Lodge is perched on the top of a hill with 360° panoramic views of the chain of volcanoes and Lakes Bulera and Ruhondo. From the terrace you can take in the sunset over the lakes and – weather permitting – enjoy an exhilarating performance from the colourful Intore Dance troupe that showcases the unique Rwandese culture.
It’s an early start for gorilla tracking in Parc National des Volcans, through the enchanting bamboo forest on the slopes of the Virunga range of volcanoes. Checking the mountain gorillas is a very special experience. After a gentle climb of between one and 3 hours, you will spend an hour in the company of these gentle apes before returning to base in time for a late lunch. Some gorilla families can be more elusive, and tracking can take a full day, especially if it is wet and muddy.
There is plenty to explore in this beautiful corner of Rwanda, as you can see from the photos on our website. Choose from one of the optional activities:
Go for a second gorilla trek (additional permits required, upon payment of supplement, and are subject to availability).
Alternative options include:
Trek to the grave of pioneer primatologist Dian Fossey and visit the gorilla cemetery, the final resting place of her favourite gorilla, Digit, and many other gorillas.
Visit Lake Kivu, location of the finest inland beaches in Africa.
Take a guided walk to Lake Bulera, to experience village life.
Tour the former Imbabazi Orphanage and beautiful English cottage gardens. Here you can have tea or lunch with staff and volunteers to learn more about British founder Roz Carr, who lived in Rwanda for 50 years, and the history of the orphanage.
Drive to Kigali, City tour & transfer to the airport
Your safari ends with your journey to Kigali. Depending on the time of your flight, there may be time to tour the city before driving to the airport.