5 Days Gorillas, Monkeys & Dian Fossey
This trip involves Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda, Dian Fossey Hiking, Golden Monkey trekking and a visit to Lake Kivu for a wonderful experience of sights and sounds of the beautiful lake.
Day 1: Pick from Kigali Airport, Drive to Volcanoes National Park
When you arrive, our guide receives and you right away start to drive for three hours North of Kigali to Kinigi through Ruhengeri. Enjoy the rolling hills for which Rwanda is well-known. Overnight at Muhabura Hotel, La Palme Hotel or Mountain Gorilla View Lodge on full board.
Day 2: Gorilla Trekking in the Volcanoes National Park
Get breakfast and transfer to the park offices for briefing and then begin your adventure in the forest of Volcanoes National Park. The reward is great and you have to endure some sweating along the way. Depending on which gorilla group you will visit, your trek may take anywhere from 3-8 hours. Local gorilla trackers follow the location of each of the gorilla groups.
You will be allocated a gorilla group at the park headquarters. Visitors are allowed 1 hour to observe and enjoy the mountain gorillas. To assist with your trek, a local trekking guide or porter will give you a hand along the way. This will surely make your trek more enjoyable and easier, while also supporting the local community.
Few things can compare with the playful fighting of the young gorillas, a mother gorilla caring for her baby, or the adrenaline rush of seeing the massive silver-back giving the term ‘alpha male’ a whole new meaning. After your gorilla encounter, return to your lodge and spend the rest of the day reliving your experience. Optionally, you may decide to go for a nature or community tour around the park. Have your overnight at Muhabura Hotel, La Palme Hotel or Mountain Gorilla View Lodge on full board.
Day 3: Hike to the Dian Fossey Grave
After breakfast, drive to park offices of the Volcanoes National Park headquarters for briefing before the hike begins. You will climb to Karisoke scientific base that was established by Dian Fossey in the saddle area between two volcanoes; Mt Visoke and Mt Karisimbi (from which the name Karisoke is derived). The camp site stands at a highness of around 3000m (over 9000 feet) and was abandoned during the turbulence of the 1990’s. All that remains today is the graveyard where several of Dian Fossey’s favorite gorillas were buried. Dian Fossey is also buried near the graves of her beloved gorillas.
The climb to the Karisoke research camp takes around 3 – 4 hours and takes you through some of the best-looking springs of Hagenia – Hypericum forest in the Volcanoes National Park. The trek starts at 7:00 am from the Park Headquarters in Kinigi, from where you will be driven to the starting point for the trek. After hiking, return to the lodge for dinner and overnight stay. Enjoy your overnight at Muhabura Hotel, La Palme Hotel or Mountain Gorilla View Lodge on full board.
Day 4: Golden Monkey Trekking, Drive to Lake Kivu
Have breakfast and go to the park head offices at Kinigi at 7:00 am for briefing before goring for the Trekking to see the golden monkeys. Golden Monkey trekking is among the ultimate highpoints of Volcanoes National Park. The Golden Monkey (Cercopithecus Mitis Kandti) is a local subspecies of the widespread Sykes Monkey, also acknowledged as the “Blue Monkey” and is widespread to the high altitude forests of the park. The monkeys are lively, officious and inquisitive and often spend their time jumping from bamboo branches and playing on the forest tree branches. Compared the treks to see the Mountain Gorillas, treks to see the Golden Monkeys are in the morning hours and visitors are allowed to stay for 1 hour with the monkeys. After trekking the monkeys drive to Lake Kivu in the afternoon/evening where you will have an overnight. Accommodation at Paradise Malahide, Stipp Hotel or Lake Kivu Serena Hotel on full board.
Day 5: Enjoy Lake Kivu Sights and Sounds, do a Boat Cruise and drive back to Kigali for a short City tour.
Tour Gisenyi town which is located on the shores of Lake Kivu. Lake Kivu is the main fresh water body in Rwanda. You may take an optional boat ride on the lake to the closest islands to discover unspoiled places and sceneries; it’s an interesting experience with feeling of the lake breeze.
As you drive through Gisenyi town, you will have beautiful views of the Nyiragongo Volcano in Congo which is the only still active volcano in East Africa and last erupted in 2002. Later on in the day, you will transfer back to Kigali for a short city tour during which you will visit places like the Genocide memorial and the education Center and the handicraft market. Afterwards, you will be transferred to the hotel in Kigali or to the Airport in case you have an outbound flight.