Virunga Lodge is stunningly located at 2,200m with views out towards the Virunga Volcanoes and Lakes Ruhondo and Bulera.
|5 Days||Year Round||Rwanda||Tailor-Made|
During this safari you have the opportunity to track the endangered mountain gorillas of Rwanda twice whilst staying in the rustic luxury of Virunga Lodge, affording some of the most dramatic views in the region. Following your time with these amiable primates you spend a morning at the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project learning about the trials and tribulations that they face on a daily basis in the fight to save mountain gorillas.
On your last day you can visit a village that has embraced eco and cultural tourism; meet a traditional healer, learn about the local produce and try out the locally made instruments. This safari is only five days an can easily be joined with a wildlife safari in Kenya or Tanzania, or even some relaxing beach time.
This two hour drive undulates over Rwanda’s extremely hilly and picturesque countryside, and as you near the end of your journey, you will (weather permitting!) begin to catch glimpses of the Virungas - a chain of 5 impossibly steep and lofty volcanoes straddling the western branch of the Rift Valley from east to west. Each mountain possesses its own unique character and silhouette, but together they form one of the most isolated and visually dramatic ecosystems in the world. A 'true island in the sky', the Virunga National Park (established in 1925) was Africa's first, and it was granted status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The park is home to some of the worlds few remaining Mountain Gorilla, which were first studied here in 1959 by George Schaller, and through the 1960's by Dian Fossey and her colleagues.
Overnight: Virunga Lodge (D)
The gorillas are by no means tame, and are completely wild animals. However, experienced guides will accompany you on your gorilla tracking, many of who have been involved in the habituation process themselves. The guides will use their knowledge of the gorillas' habits and information from the previous day to locate the group's whereabouts. Because of this, the time taken to track the gorillas varies enormously, from as little as half an hour to as much as 9 hours before one returns to camp. Once the gorillas are located, your group will be allowed a maximum of one hour with them. This is one of the world's truly memorable experiences - a look into one of these magnificent creatures' eyes brings home the bond that exists between them and us. It also brings home the poignant fact that they are on the edge of extinction, and that your presence here contributes to ensuring their continued survival. The hour is often over all too quickly, and you slowly make your way back to your lodge to recount the day's adventures. On one of the afternoons there may be an opportunity to visit the local communities and the bustling market town of Ruhengeri or take a drive out to the scenic Lakes Bulera and Ruhondo. Return to the lodge later in the afternoon to relax, have a hot shower and reflect on the days activities.
Overnight: Virunga Lodge (B, L, D)
Today, head to the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project headquarters in Ruhengeri. It is here, to ensure their healthy future, that a huge amount of time and effort is put into caring for these critically endangered primates. Spend time with the staff learning how the gorillas are monitored, how life-saving medical care is provided; how health studies are conducted and how veterinary medicine and ecosystem health is taught. You will tour around centre with one of the doctors and watch a presentation about gorilla conservation. In the afternoon, you will visit the Iby’ Iwacu Cultural Village. Here, the local communities have embraced the eco and cultural tourism concept by stopping poaching to raise their income levels through a participative approach as an incentive for conservation. Meet the traditional healer, see how local produce is grown and have hands on experience with the local musicians. You then depart Volcanoes National Park and make your way back to the capital city.
After breakfast, the day is yours at leisure. You are finally driven to the Kigali International Airport for your international flight back home.
A tailor-made safari is one designed according to your specific requirements, including budget, dates, personal interests, the number of people travelling, and more. This itinerary is just an example and can be refined and altered to make it perfect for you.
Talk to one of our specialists for further details on our Rwanda gorilla safaris.