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Location – Kigali | Ruhengeri

Duration – 5 days | 4 Nights

Day 1 - Arrival in Kigali

On arrival at Kigali International Airport, you will be met by your driver/guide and be transferred to your hotel in Kigali.
Overnight: Great Seasons Hotel / Lemigo / Mountain Gorilla View Lodge (HB)

Day 2 – Kigali City Tour and travel to Ruhengeri

After breakfast go for a morning city tour visiting interesting spots which may include: the craft market, Gisozi genocide memorial site, Kigali museum. Stop for lunch in the city before being transferred to the twin lakes of Bulera & Ruhondo. These beautiful lakes are located at the base of the volcano of Muhabura and close to the border with Uganda. They are surrounded by steep hills and large waterfalls with a backdrop of the Virunga volcanic mountains. They are spectacular and not to be missed.

From the viewpoint, you will drive to Ruhengeri, the second largest town in Rwanda, with its stunning backdrop of five volcanic mountains – the Virungas- arriving for dinner and overnight at your lodge. Ruhengeri is best known as being the home of Rwanda’s mountain gorillas.
Overnight: La Palme Hotel / Mounatin Gorilla View Lodge / Sabyinyo Silverback lodge (FB)

Day 3 – Gorilla Tracking

You will be up early on the morning of your Gorilla Tracking for a good breakfast in preparation for the day’s physical activity. You will report for registration at the ranger station by 8 AM. After a briefing by the rangers, your gorilla trek will start. The trek usually takes between three and six hours so a reasonable degree of fitness is required, as well as a strong pair of walking boots or shoes. The rangers will guide you through the fields, up the gentle slopes of the volcanoes and into the bamboo forest. The mountain gorillas are under 24 hour monitoring for their own safety, so you’re almost guaranteed to see them. The rangers monitor each gorilla family by keeping in close radio contact.

In part due to gorilla tourism, the population of gorillas is slowly increasing but the species remains critically endangered. Gorillas and humans share almost identical genetic material and their health must not be compromised by coming into contact with human diseases (via our food, for example). To reduce transmission of disease from humans to gorillas, you will also be advised to keep a distance of 7 metres from the gorillas.

Once you have located the gorilla family, you will be asked to leave all your belongings to one side, and approach the gentle giants, just with your camera. The guides will interpret the animals’ behaviour for you. Females and their young, young males and even a dominant Silverback may be seen: feeding, playing, interacting with each other, or just sleeping! You will never forget your encounter with the gorillas. They will be quite curious to see you! You are allowed exactly one hour with the gorillas before returning to base.

Tracking the mountain gorillas is a physically demanding experience. In the afternoon, you may want to rest, or you may wish to go on a village walk, visit the local market or visit the grave of famous primatologist Dian Fossey of “Gorillas in the Mist” fame who studied the gorillas of this area.
Overnight: La Palme Hotel / Mounatin Gorilla View Lodge / Sabyinyo Silverback lodge (FB)

Day 4 – Golden Monkey Tracking and intercultural exchange

Entering dense bamboo interspersed with open glades, you will make your way deep into the golden monkey territory of Volcanoes National Park. Ranger guides will lead you to the habitat of groups of ‘habituated’ golden monkeys – monkeys that have become accustomed to human presence. Although viewing is kept to a maximum of one hour, travelers can get an up-close look at the golden monkey in its natural habitat. Adult monkeys frolic in plain view, feeding on bamboo leaves and leaping from branch to branch. Females carry their young, completely comfortable among onlookers.

In the afternoon, optional activities may be a visit to the Iby’iwacu cultural village to watch a cultural dance, meet a local medicine man, or even discover the house of a local king. These cultural activities are popular with visitors and offer alternative incomes to reformed poachers. Another option is to take atrip to the local brewers to understand the chemical process behind brewing local beer from bananas. Just for fun, you can even join the women in squeezing the juice out of the bananas and drink a glass of juice. Other activities you may learn about are basket weaving, an important cultural activity in Rwanda. Through your visits, theactivities support the local community financially. Later return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Overnight: La Palme Hotel / Mounatin Gorilla View Lodge / Sabyinyo Silverback lodge (FB)

Day 5 – Depart

After breakfast your guide will be waiting to pick you up for the two hour transfer drive to Kigali International airport for your flight home.

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