This 4 day Gorillas of Rwanda itinerary starts with a night at the Kigali Serena Hotel in the center of town. The next morning you set off on a scenic 3 hour drive to Virunga, certain to lift your spirits which will be soaring by the time you check in to your Lodge situated against the backdrop of the Virunga Mountains. On Day 3, in the same rainforest that Dian Fossey had her ground breaking encounters with with gorillas, you will get up close and personal with the rare mountain gorilla. It is a truly incredible experience and you will remember it for ever. Return to the lodge for a well earned rest and chat to your fellow adventurers around a warm fire for a sundowner drink. The following day you will drive back to Kigali and enjoy a guided tour of this vibrant city with an optional visit to the Genocide Memorial Museum before transferring to the airport to connect with your onward flight home, or continue the adventure with a safari in Tanzania or Kenya!
Ideally located on one of Kigali’s most charming boulevards, the five-star Kigali Serena Hotel is built around a polished granite atrium, which showcases the very best of Rwandese cultural art. Relaxed yet elegant, the hotel centres on the Executive Lounge and Bar, which opens onto a wide sundeck overlooking the newly refurbished swimming pool. Also overlooking the pool, the popular Milima Restaurant offers a wide range of all-day buffet choices, while the relaxed Sokoni Café offers inside and outside poolside seating. The capital’s natural business hub, the hotel also boasts its own extensive conference centre, 500-seater auditorium and lavish ballroom. The hotel features 148 rooms. Guests can choose from a selection of 60 Standard Rooms, 37 Superior Rooms, 19 Deluxe Rooms, 18 Junior Suites, 7 Prime Rooms, 6 Executive Suites and a luxury Presidential Suite. In-room facilities include 24 hour room service, air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, tea/coffee making facilities, mini fridge, hair dryer, private safe and a flat screen satellite TV.
Bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo in Rwanda, the Volcanoes National Park is best known as a sanctuary for the region’s rare mountain gorillas. Travelers come here to experience a face to face encounter with these intriguing creatures. The park is set high on the jungle-covered slopes of the volcanic Virunga Mountains. Bisate Lodge is located in the natural amphitheatre of an eroded volcanic cone and has dramatic views of the peaks of the volcanoes Bisoke and Karisimbi rearing up through the Afro-alpine forests of nearby Volcanoes National Park. Six luxurious en-suite villas maximise comfort and views while retaining environmental principles and reflecting the culture of rural Rwanda. Each guest contributes to Bisate’s biodiversity conservation and local community projects – making a far-reaching impact on an iconic Critically Endangered species: the mountain gorilla. Aside from tracking one of the several habituated gorilla groups, activities include visiting nearby natural attractions, hiking to Dian Fossey’s grave, and observing the Park’s group of endangered endemic golden monkeys. Walks on Bisate’s property offer birding and participation in the reforestation programme.
Please note that trekking is at altitudes of approximately 7000 – 9000 feet above sea level and does require a minimum level of fitness.
Gorilla Trekking in the Volcanoes National Park offers visitors the unique opportunity of discovering the 10 families of gorillas that live within the national park. This morning you will listen to a briefing by the Volcanoes National Park’s guides on how to behave in the forest and in the presence of mountain gorillas. You are then separated into groups of 8 depending on your physical abilities. Each group is guided by a guide and two scouts who are well trained in emergency situations. You then enter the park for a gorilla trek which will take you until around midday, depending on where you find the gorillas. 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 is important to take plenty of water. Good cameras and a good quantity of fast speed film or memory cards are recommended. It can rain at a few minutes’ notice, hence waterproof clothing is recommended including zip lock bags for cameras and film.
Rwanda’s capital and biggest city stretches across undulating lush hills surrounded by towering mountains, the largest of which is Mount Kigali, rising 1850 metres above sea level. Kigali is the country’s financial, commercial and cultural hub, served by an international airport and featuring a wide range of accommodation options, restaurants and points of interest, including the Kigali Genocide Centre, an atmospheric market and numerous craft shops. With its interesting architecture, busy streets, meandering boulevards, and green hillsides, Kigali is said to be one of the most attractive cities in Africa and is definitely worth a visit.
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