Rwanda & Uganda Gorilla Discovery
Your guide puts up his hand and motions for you to crouch down – and a silverback gorilla settles down to eat nearby. The experience is just one breathtaking moment of an unforgettable nine-day expedition to the forests of Rwanda and Uganda to track gorillas, golden monkeys, and other wildlife. As you witness primates in their element, tap into your own wild side.
National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Nyamirambo Women’s Centre, Community Walk and Local Lunch, Kigali
National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Mountain Gorilla Conservation Experience, Volcanoes National Park
National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Gorilla Lecture, Volcanoes National Park. Arrival transfer. All national park entrance fees. Genocide memorial entrance. Guided mountain gorilla trek with permits. Golden monkey trek with permits. Guided chimpanzee trek with permits. Local village walk. Safari drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Wildlife boat cruise in Kazinga Channel. Visit to the Equator. Drum workshop. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Get up close and personal with mountain gorillas in their backyard, learn about gorillas during a lecture from one of the head wardens of Volcanoes National Park, enjoy a local lunch at the G Adventures-supported Nyamirambo Women’s Centre, trek through the forest to visit Chimpanzees & Golden Monkeys.
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
1. AGE RESTRICTIONS
Please note that all passengers must be aged 15 years or older (prior to start of travel) to go on this tour – there are no exceptions to this as it is for safety reasons and strictly controlled by the Government.
2. PHYSICAL REQUIREMENT
This trip is rated a level 4 physical requirement- travellers should be in excellent physical condition, without any heart problems and prepared to spend strenuous days in humid rain forests, steep terrain and high altitude trekking for chimpanzee and gorillas, as well as other primates. Please ensure you meet the requirements as described under “physical rating”.
3. TRAVEL DAYS
Travelling can be difficult, as long drives and poor road conditions are the rule as opposed to the exception in both Rwanda and Uganda. Despite this, the diversity and scenery of the African landscape, the local culture and abundant wildlife are all well worth the experience.
4. WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS
G Adventures can never guarantee the sighting of wildlife, especially when it comes to mountain gorillas. However, the mountain gorilla trek is organized to ensure success. Before heading into the jungle, our local guides receive coordinates from trackers on the whereabouts of the gorillas, and the trackers stay with the gorillas until the group arrives.
Please note that if you are unwell with anything contagious, even a common cold, you may be denied any of the treks to ensure the safety of the gorillas, golden monkeys and chimps. This is a national park regulation, and trekking permits will not be refunded if you are denied entrance due to illness.
As it is very dark and damp in the jungle; please ensure your camera equipment is appropriate for such conditions and that you bring dry bags to protect it.
The power supply in Uganda and Rwanda is nominally 240VAC, 50hz. Variable voltage, spikes and sporadic, unexpected, unscheduled power cuts of varying duration can be expected.
8. YELLOW FEVER
Please be advised that it will be required to show a yellow fever certificate upon entering Uganda and Rwanda.
Group Leader Description
The Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will be the group manager and leader. He/she organizes the trip, and will be there to assist you when needed. He/she will take care of the small things so you can concentrate on enjoying your adventure. All of our CEOs in East Africa are experienced group leaders, with a broad knowledge base of the region’s history, cultures, and wildlife. Your leader will be from either southern or East Africa depending on which part of the tour you are on. In Rwanda/Uganda the EO will also drive.
During both treks in Volcanoes National Park, we use an experienced and certified tracking guide, and armed guards to accompany you for your safety.
We also use local guides for some included activities where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting.
Group Size Notes
Max 6, avg 5.
8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 6 dinners
Most of the meals on this tour are included in the tour price.
Vegetarian meals and other dietary requirements need to be specified prior to arrival. Please note all bottled drinking water will be at your own expense.
4×4 safari vehicle, walking, hiking, boat.
About our Transportation
Road travel can be difficult, with long drives and poor road conditions at times. Please take note of the travel times and distances in the above itinerary, and consider that this is often on poor quality, bumpy roads. Despite this, most clients feel that the diversity of the African landscape, culture and wildlife are all well worth the experience. As such, this trip will be operated in 4×4 Land Cruiser/safari vehicle, driven by our CEO. The 4×4s have large windows which slide open for wildlife viewing and photography.
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotel/lodges (8 nts).
My Own Room
Please note if you have booked the My Own Room/Tent option for this tour, you will receive your own single accommodation for all night stops.
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
An arrival transfer is included when you arrive on Day 1, or if you arrive up to three days prior provided that you have booked your pre-accommodation through National Geographic Journeys in our joining hotel. Due to customer experience and quality considerations, all services related to the tour must be continuous.
Our driver will be waiting for you with a National Geographic Journeys sign with your name on it, and they will be waiting for you outside the luggage hall. There most likely will be many signs, so please check carefully for your name. In the unlikely case, you are unable to find the guide after 30 minutes, please call our local representative in Rwanda:
Contact: +250 786 831 900
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, so you may arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day in which no activities are planned.
Your CEO will contact you at the hotel on Day 1 and make sure you are settled comfortably. If you arrive late, they will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning. Your CEO will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
AIRPORT TRANSFER: If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that: Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Office (Nairobi, Kenya)
+254 727 208 832
G Adventures Local Representative (Rwanda)
Cathy: +250 786 831 900
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local operator or local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. Your baggage should be clearly labelled and restricted to one soft compact suitcase, sports bag, or backpack, of medium size, as well as a day pack.
On this trip you may experience several types of weather. It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings. Light, quick-drying, practical clothes are advisable for this trip.
While hiking, your clothes will in all likelihood get very muddy and may not recover to their original state – therefore take old clothing for trekking. Hard wearing clothes, no bright colours, or no army camouflage clothing should be worn. Greens, khaki and similar neutral clothes are recommended.
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Gardening gloves (Highly recommended for gorilla trekking)
• Neutral coloured clothing (Your clothes will likely get very muddy – therefore take old clothing for the gorilla trekking. No bright colours should be worn. Greens, khaki and similar neutral clothes are recommended)
• Smart outfit (For evenings out)
• Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes
• Hiking pants (Convertible/Zip-off and quick dry recommended)
• Snacks (Protein bars, chocolate, dried fruits, candies, energy sweets.)
• Socks (Trekking socks (woollen or synthetic, not cotton).)
• Thermal base layer (Woollen or synthetic, not cotton.)
• Walking poles (Highly recommended.)
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Note: The climate in East Africa varies between the dry and rainy season. Please ensure you bring a windproof rain jacket if you are travelling between April & May, October & November.
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels and lodges for a charge.
Visas and Entry Requirements
All countries require travellers to have a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity), and you are required to acquire the entry visas for each of the countries visited.
East Africa Tourist Visa
An East Africa Tourist Visa allows the holder to move freely between Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda with only one Visa, and is valid for a period of 90 days. It also acts as a multiple entry Visa, so if you leave any of the above countries, you do not need a new Visa to re-enter (provided it is within the 90 day validity period). These need to be applied for in advance, and a confirmation letter received from the Rwanda immigration department if the first point of entry is Kigali, Rwanda. You should contact the foreign Embassy (of the country you will be entering through) for more details. The cost is 100USD per person.
Please see below for more information:
Most nationalities need to apply for visa “facilitation” prior to visiting Rwanda. Please check the Rwanda immigration department’s official website – www.migration.gov.rw – which nationalities need a visa and which ones do not – it is VERY important to do this as travellers without the correct documentation with them will NOT be allowed to board their Rwanda bound flight. The visa facilitation is also applied for on this website and you normally get a confirmation in 3-5 working days. Please make sure you apply for this at least a month before your intended arrival to Rwanda. Bring a copy of the visa approval sent to you (VERY important) and pay for the visa at point of entry. Current cost for a 15 day tourist visa is US$ 50 per person (June 2015) – payable in US$ cash only. Please be aware that the US$ notes has to be from 2006 or newer, older notes are NOT accepted for payments in Rwanda.
- Please be advised that a valid yellow fever vaccination card is mandatory for entry into Rwanda.
Visas for Uganda for most nationalities must be obtained through an Electronic Visa application online in advance, and a payment of $50 USD cash will have to be made upon arrival to the border.
LIST OF COUNTRIES WHOSE NATIONALS DO NOT REQUIRE TO PAY FOR A VISA TO ENTER UGANDA:
Angola, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Burundi, Comoros, Cyprus, Eritrea, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Italy (Diplomatic Passport holders only), Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Swaziland, Tanzania, Vanuatu, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Nationals of these countries are issued gratis (free of charge) visas upon their arrival.
- Please be advised that a valid yellow fever vaccination card is mandatory for entry into Uganda.
This information is accurate at the time of writing, and please contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements and costs, regarding these, and the other countries visited, or see your travel agent. It is your responsibility to have the correct travel documentation.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
The local currency in Rwanda is the Rwanda Franc. In Uganda it is the Ugandan Shilling.
There are several foreign exchange bureaus in Kigali offering similar rates, the most widely accepted currency is US$. Your CEO will inform you where you can change money throughout the tour and approximately how much money you will need for each country. That said – most everything is included in this tour – we recommend that you bring enough USD cash with you, to cover for any additional drinks/snacks and souvenir shopping.
The easiest foreign currency to exchange for locally for any of the local currencies is the $US; however the British Pound and Euro may also be exchanged as well. Please note that due to past problems with forgery, $US notes that are older than year 2006 are not accepted in Africa. Larger note ($US 50, $US 100 etc) can be difficult to change in some places, but will gain you the best exchange rate.
If you plan to buy your visas at borders, you will need to bring $USD cash to pay for these visas. Please note you cannot use the local currency or any other currency to buy these visas- they must be purchased in USD.
Please do not bring Travellers’ cheques to Africa. They are difficult if not impossible to exchange in many places.
Visa/Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. it is harder to find machines Mastercard/Cirrus cards. We highly recommend that if you hold a Mastercard, you obtain a Visa card prior to departure and travel with both. This is also useful should somethingunforeseen happen to one of your cards during your travels. While there are many ATMs in the major centres, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Africa. Check with your bank.
Credit cards can be used in major cities and towns ONLY but please do not rely on them as a method of payment because they are generally not widely accepted. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. The majority of our optional activities can also be paid by credit card. Your CEO will advise on these.
Please note that in many areas there may be occasional power-outages, where there will be no electricity for hours at a time. In addition, ATMs outside of larger centers often run out of cash or can be out of order unexpectedly. These factors could affect your ability to access money from ATMs. As such, please do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money.
A combination of foreign currency and debit/credit cards for cash advances is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com.
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
USD40, usually included in most international air tickets.
Tipping is an expected, though not compulsory, component of your tour program. The gesture serves as an expression of appreciation for exceptional service, and amounts given are up to your discretion.
Tipping is one of the most direct ways that you can have a positive economic impact within the African community. Although it may not be customary for you, it is an important source of income for those in the tourism industry. Giving a tip should be a seen as a formal ‘thank you’, and the action should in no way be awkward.
The best method of tipping someone that has served the whole group is to plan in advance, and not rush when it comes to saying goodbye. A suggestion would be for each group member to contribute anonymously by putting their tip into an envelope. This often works the best and the group should gather to present the gift to the recipient(s), offering their thanks and showing their appreciation. This method brings the action out into the open, allowing for a friendly and appreciative interaction between the group and the recipient(s).
You may use the following as a guideline, all given in a per person format:
Driver/Guide: $5-10 USD (per day)
Gorilla Trekking Guides: $10-15 USD (per day)
Gorilla Trekking Porters: $20 USD (per day)
Restaurant/café servers: 10% of the cost of the bill
Please see the itinerary for information on optional activities, descriptions and estimated pricing.
We recommend you contact your family physician, or your local travel clinic for the most up-to-date health information at least one month before departure. Travellers should also carry a basic first-aid kit and hand sanitizers/antibacterial wipes on their travels. Medical facilities are basic throughout these countries. For your own safety, we strongly recommend that you advise your tour leader of any medical condition that may affect you while travelling with the group. Your tour leader will be able to inform you of local health advisories (e.g. drinking water quality). Please ensure you have all the inoculations recommended by your doctor.
Yellow Fever Certificate Note: (Updated: May 2017)
It is compulsory to show a valid Yellow Fever Certificate if you are travelling to the following G Adventures-visited countries from a Yellow Fever endemic country:
- South Africa
For some of these countries, proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is also required for passengers who have travelled more than 12 hours through the airport of an endemic country. If other countries not endemic to Yellow Fever have been visited after visiting an endemic country, then a Yellow Fever certificate may still be required on entry. Please check country-specific regulations before your departure.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that is present in some regions in Africa. Risk of malaria can increase during periods of heavy rain, during the rainy seasons, and in densely populated areas of Southern & East Africa. To prevent malaria, we recommend speaking to your doctor about taking preventative medication (prophylaxis), combined with regular use of insect repellent spray/cream. Please check updated travel health advisories specific to malaria before your departure.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
Trip Specific Safety
Please exercise caution in the cities and always take a pre-arranged taxi if you go out at night.
At all times, please abide by all National park/reserve rules and always follow interactions from guides/trackers specifically, these are set to not just protect the wildlife but also to protect you.
Please refrain from taking photos of police stations, airports, bus stations, immigration are border crossings, army barracks and personnel, or any government building. It is against the law and will result in the minimum of your film and camera being confiscated.
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at:
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at email@example.com and we will send it on to you.
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Minimum age of 15 years for this trip.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides, experienced gorilla trackers, park rangers.
PRODUCT_LINE: DRGNG, ID: 23747
Day 1 Kigali
If you arrive early, take some time to explore the city, known for its pleasant, friendly atmosphere. Kigali also has some interesting and historic sites outside of the city. If you want more time to explore, we recommend booking a pre-night.
Please remember that this is a developing area and as such, accommodations/service may not be of similar standard to which you are used to in your home country. There also can be differences in service levels between different countries in East Africa. As well, interruptions in electricity and water can be common and internet/wifi is often only available in large cities. We appreciate your patience and understanding as well as your sense of adventure.
A/C is not available in the accommodations used on this trip. In general is not a concern as it does cool down at night and depending on location fans or screened windows are available.
4×4 safari vehicles are used to better navigate rough roads but important to note that vehicles do not have A/C.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Kigali/Volcanoes National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)
Volcanoes National Park borders Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains can be found here. The volcanoes and highlands of the park are covered in lush rainforest and bamboo (a favourite snack of the gorillas). While the most famous resident is the mountain gorilla, there’s plenty of other wildlife roaming around: buffaloes, bushbucks, golden monkeys, hyenas, numerous bird species, and some elephants call this place home.
Altitude note: Volcanoes NP – approx 2,000 m (6,550 ft)
Genocide Memorial Visit
Nyamirambo Women’s Centre, Community Walk and Local Lunch
Day 3 Volcanoes National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)
Enjoy a trek into the national park with a ranger/guide to view a unique and endangered species, the golden monkey. Watch these playful and lively creatures in their natural habitat. After, visit the Karisoke Research Center, which was founded by Dr. Dian Fossey in 1967. Meet with a resident researcher and enjoy a tour to learn learn about their ongoing work in the protection of mountain gorillas. In the evening, expand your understanding of gorillas through an in-depth lecture from one of the head wardens of Volcanoes National Park.
Proper hiking attire must be worn – you will be trekking in a rainforest with lots of vegetation, undergrowth, nettles and normally a rather muddy terrain.
Only 1 hour is spent with the Golden Monkeys to ensure their protection and conservation.
Please note that if you are unwell with anything contagious, even a common cold, you may be denied any of the treks to ensure the safety of the golden monkeys. This is a national park regulation, and trekking permits will not be refunded if you are denied entrance due to illness.
The order of activities over Days 3 and 4 can change depending on permit scheduling.
Golden Monkey Trek
Mountain Gorilla Conservation Experience
Day 4 Volcanoes National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)
Approximately 800 mountain gorillas exist globally in the wild today. They are found in Rwanda, DRC, and Uganda. In DRC and Rwanda, gorillas live in similar ecosystems/areas. The gorilla species found in these three areas are called highland gorillas.
In Rwanda there are ten habituated gorilla families that are open to visits – the visit to a gorilla family is done once per day, with a maximum 8 trekkers per group and the duration of a visit is limited to one (1) hour with the gorilla family. The time spent with them is limited due to conservation considerations and to minimize impact on the day-to-day life of the gorilla family you are visiting. It is important to be well prepared for the trek — you never know if your total trek will be short or long. The total duration of a trek can vary and be anything between 4 and 9 hrs in length depending on the location of the gorillas, which are constantly moving. You will mainly walk where there are no paths apart from the occasional buffalo or elephant trail.
Touching the gorillas is not allowed (although in some cases they may touch you). Making loud noises or sudden movements is also not allowed. You should attempt to keep a distance of 7m from the gorillas, however the gorillas themselves are unaware of this and will often get very close, in which case you should try to slowly move away. At all times you must abide by the instructions of the trackers and rangers.
Please note that porters are available at approx. $10USD per person. The porters are all hired from local villages and not only can carry your day pack, but assist you with a welcome hand over difficult spots. Regardless of your fitness level, we highly recommend hiring a porter as some tracks can be very muddy and elevation can affect even the most fit person. It also provides employment and supports the local community.
Mountain gorillas share 98% of our DNA and are prone to catching human illnesses. Please note that if you are unwell with anything contagious, even a common cold, you may be denied any of the treks to ensure the safety of the gorillas. This is a national park regulation, and trekking permits will not be refunded if you are denied entrance due to illness.
Proper hiking attire must be worn – you will be trekking in a rainforest with lots of vegetation, undergrowth, nettles and normally a rather muddy terrain. Minimum age for gorilla trekking is 15 years old.
Please note that depending on the size of our group and when permits are confirmed, we may be split into 2 trekking groups and you may be trekking with non-G travellers.
Iby’iwacu Village Visit
Day 5 Volcanoes National Park/Queen Elizabeth National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)
Queen Elizabeth National Park is characterized by open savannah, large areas of swamp around Lake George, the extensive Maramagambo Forest in the southeast, and the forested Kyambura Gorge along the border with Kyambura Game Reserve.
There is little accommodation inside the national park that fits our upgraded service level. Most of the mid-range lodges are adjacent to the park but it can often take approx. an hour to reach the park gates due to poor road logistics and conditions. For this reason there is a lot of driving to get to/from activities within the national park area.
Border Crossing (Rwanda – Uganda)
Day 6 Queen Elizabeth National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)
Explore the lush Kalinzu Forest Reserve with a ranger on a trek in search of chimpanzees who call this protected area home. This afternoon drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park for a wildlife drive with possible sightings of buffalo, elephants, giant forest hogs, hyenas, leopards, lions, and warthogs.
The order of activities over Days 6 and 7 can change depending on chimp permit scheduling.
Proper hiking attire must be worn – there are trails but we can at times go off trail, to search out chimps. Vegetation and be thick with undergrowth, nettles and often in muddy terrain.
At all times you must abide by the instructions of the trackers and rangers.
Please note that if you are unwell with anything contagious, even a common cold, you may be denied any of the treks to ensure the safety of the chimps. This is a national forest regulation, and trekking permits will not be refunded if you are denied entrance due to illness.
Kalinzu Forest Chimp Trek
Queen Elizabeth National Park Wildlife Safari Drive
Day 7 Queen Elizabeth National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)
Embark on a morning wildlife safari drive for more wildlife viewing inside the park. In the afternoon, take a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel to view birds, hippos, and, with a bit of luck, elephants or big cats.
Queen Elizabeth National Park Wildlife Safari Drive
Kazinga Channel Cruise
Day 8 Queen Elizabeth National Park/Entebbe (1B, 1L)
After breakfast, head to Entebbe with a stop at the Equator and a visit to a royal drum maker’s workshop.
Drum Makers Workshop
Day 9 Entebbe (1B)
Depart at any time.
We recommend booking post nights if you want more time to explore Entebbe and the surrounding area.