These Camps are lavishly furnished and decorated with large tents at the heart of the wilderness offering a combination of excitement and comfort to guests who visit the accommodation facility. There are 8 spacious tents with each of them featuring en-suite bathrooms with showers, private veranda, serene bedroom, living/seating area and dressing room. There is a dining area where full-board meals are offered and a bar is present at the site.
There is also a restaurant and well equipped kitchen that is managed by qualified chef who prepared both local and foreign cuisines for guests as well as committed and hospitable waitresses who serve food and drinks on time. The bar is well stocked with all kinds of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. The accommodation facility is popular for the serene environment and a perfect place to unwind after a tiring gorilla trekking day and you can enjoy open fires that bring the true taste of a traditional African night. Any guest who visits the Mantana Tented Camp agrees that it offers standard facilities that suit guests accompanied with hospitable staff especially the waiters/waitresses who deliver timely services without delay.
Besides in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mantana Safari Company also owns beautiful Lodges in other Parks such as Mantana Tented Camp in Kibale Forest National Park at about 2 kilometers before Kanyanchu Park Headquarters, Mantana Lake Mburo Tented Camp situated within Uganda’s smallest savannah National Park-Lake Mburo National Park.
In conclusion, Mantana Tented Camps within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a magnificent and lavish accommodation facility for tourists who visit the country for gorilla trekking safaris. Some of the facilities to enjoy include 8 spacious tents with en-suite bathrooms, dining area where full-board meals are served, a well stocked bar with all kinds of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, well equipped kitchen that is managed by qualified chef who prepared both local and foreign cuisines for guests as well as committed and hospitable waitresses who serve food and drinks on time.
Rwanda’s tourism sector has stood for long mainly because of the unique tourist attractions and the most exciting tourist activities in the Volcanoes National Park. The park is located in Musanze province, northwestern part of the country. It is mainly credited for its remarkable five of the eight Great Virunga Volcanoes which include Gahinga volcano, mount Bisoke, Sabyinyo, Muhabura and Karisimbi; the unique endangered mountain gorillas, Rivers and Lakes, Caves and others. Volcanoes National Park was gazetted around 1925 which makes it one of the ancient conversational areas in the whole of Africa. There is a lot more in offer for visitors to excite their minds while on safari to this protected area.
Below are some of incredible tourist activities for you to engage in Volcanoes National Park.
1- Mountain gorilla trekking
Mountain gorilla trekking adventure in Volcanoes National Park plays a crucial role towards Rwanda’s tourism sector. About ten (10) families have been designated for visitor to catch a glimpse of these unique creatures while they are still in their natural habitat. Among others include the Susa A family, Sabyinyo, Amahoro, Hirwa, Ugenda, Agashya, Kwitonda, Umubano, Karisimbi and Bwenge among others. Like any gorilla destination, trekking permit is a must to have in the Rwanda Volcanoes National Park and permits are obtainable at $1500 per tourist. One permit allows you to track one habituated group in a group of eight visitors. Permits are accessible through a local tour operator or through the Rwanda Development Board head office. Your trek takes you from one hour to eight hours but this will depend on your speed, nature of the habitat and location of the gorilla family that will be allocated to you to track. Volcanoes National Park is about 2 to 3 hours’ drive from Kigali International Airport.
2- Golden monkey tracking
Besides tracking mountain gorillas in Rwanda, the Volcanoes National Park is where silver meets gold! The golden monkeys are a few fascinating creatures that are worth tracking while on safari in Rwanda. They are largely found within the Great Virunga Mountains ranges of Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. The golden monkeys are a sub species of the Sykes monkey also famous as the blue monkey. There are 2 groups that have been habituated for visitors to track all of which consist of 80 individuals. The adventure begins at 7:00am local time. For lifetime experiences with these striking creatures, permits can be purchased at $100 per visitor. The trek can last up to four hours with only one hour of face to face encounter with the primates. Most of these unique species largely live within the bamboo forest of Volcanoes National Park and can be sighted playing or feeding.
3- Bird watching
Volcanoes National Park is exceptionally one of the Important Birding Areas (IBAs) in Rwanda. It refuges more than 200 unique species of birds with mainly the Albertine rift endemics. The notables for you to spot include the Rwenzori Turacos, Rwenzori double collared sunbird, Handsome Francolin, strange weaver, dusky crimson wing, collared apalis, archer’s ground robin, Grauer’s rush warbler, red faced woodland warbler and many more. Birding safaris can be combined with primate safaris in Volcanoes National Park while you are on safari in Rwanda.
4- Dian Fossey tomb hike
The Dian Fossey tomb hike is one of the remarkable activities and experiences that you shouldn’t miss out while on safari in Volcanoes National Park. This adventure allows you to explore more about Dian Fossey’s conservation life. She is credited for devoted work to save mountain gorillas that today the world boasts about. She is credited for her book which later turned into “Gorillas in the Mist” movie. This mainly talks about Dian Fossey’s life and her research camp in the Volcanoes National Park. The treks usually take up to 3 hours where you find the beloved gorillas “Digit” and her resting site. She established Karisoke research center to help her research work around 1967 and she carried out research on mountain gorillas for 18 years. Unfortunately, she was mysteriously murdered in 1985. The hike to the tomb site rewards visitors with the stunning features and wildlife species, birds and not to forget primates. This lifetime adventure currently costs $75 per person.
5- Volcano hiking
Volcanoes National Park offers refuge to several volcano mountains which are worthy hiking while on safari in Rwanda. For hikes life changing hikes, you can climb Mount Bisoke which features the most beautiful Crater Lake on its top. The adventure takes visitors up to (7) seven hours plus the two that you spend while descending back to the starting point. The hikes start at 7:00am with briefing from park official and then you will be assigned a guide. Mount Bisoke stands at 3711 meters above sea level and it features a number of stunning floras, and offers opportunity for visitors to catch a glimpse of the remarkable views of Virunga Volcanoes and the Crater Lake “Ngezi.” The hikes are less strenuous and even a person without experience can hike through it.
6- Hiking through the Karisimbi Mountain
This volcano features as the highest out of all the 8 Great Virunga Volcanoes. It stretches up to 4507 meters above sea level and features as the sixth highest in Africa. To hike to its summit, you need two days and above where you will first camp around 3700 meters and catch a glimpse of stunning Mount Bisoke. The second day takes you to the summit and return to where you started from. The hike rewards visitors with views of many geographical features, vegetation and sceneries. This mountain was named after amasimbi which denotes white shell in Kinyarwanda due to its white capped summit. The trek is breathtaking compared to Bisoke Mountain but the experiences thereafter are worthy it.
7- The twin Lakes walk
Rwanda comes with twin like Lakes that join each other. They include Lake Bulera and Ruhondo. The hike to these Lakes rewards visitors with magical views of not only the Lakes but also the Russumo waterfalls. You will also meet local residents paddling the canoes while others riding the wooden boats. The walk also comes with views of several bird-life like cinnamon breasted bee eater, common moorhen, paradise fly catchers, and stonechat, grey throated tit, long crested eagle, African marsh harrier and many more. This activity can be done in the morning and afternoon.
8- Cave exploration
Musanze caves feature among the few most historical sites in Rwanda. They are situated within Musanze town just adjacent to Volcanoes National Park. The caves have existed for over 65 million years and they have 31 entrances and extend up to 21 kilometers inside. They were formed from the flow of Basalt layers of Lava that spread form Virunga Volcanoes of Sabyinyo and Bisoke. The musanze caves offered home to many people as well as storage of supplies and food by the kings of Rwanda during the war time. The exploration lasts for two hours and visitors pay $50. It can be done in the afternoon with an escort. Other caves include the Busasamana caves which are located one kilometer and links up to many other caves such as Kazenze, Mudende and Busasamana regions. There is also Mugongo cave for you to explore and all these are among the famous 52 caves.
9- Buhanga sacred forest nature walks
Buhanga forest lies outside the Volcanoes National Park boundaries. Buhanga sacred forest features the rarest flora and diverse historical and cultural experiences of the Rwandan traditions. It is believed that most monarchical kings of Rwanda used to bath around the forest prior taking over kingship and at the end the site was referred to as a sacred place and people never cultivated on it or even cut down trees. It is also believed to sometimes change colors during certain seasons which mark the year. The walks through this forest can be done in the morning or afternoon. The trails are made of Lava stones and they extend throughout the forest.
10- Cultural encounters
For cultural experiences, visitors can pay a visit to Iby’Iwacu cultural village. This a local community project set forth by ex-poachers at the park but today they have chosen to support conservation and protection of mountain gorillas and other wildlife species. The project was largely to transform poachers from their acts to support conservation efforts in the park. You can combine cultural experiences in this village with gorilla trekking safaris and explore more on traditional styles.
In conclusion, Volcanoes National Park rewards visitors on safari in Rwanda with a number of exciting and unforgettable experiences given its distinct activities that are worthy participating. However, access to the activity centers requires a strong 4x4 car due to the nature of the roads. To those on self drive tours, you can hire a 4x4 car in Kigali at good price and recommended cars include Land cruiser, Rav4 and others.
Gorillas are one of the majestic animals in the world one can ever meet. Due to the fact these animals are so intelligent in the way they live their lives. Although some people look at them as beasts that can endanger human life, this is not the case they are wonderful animals are peaceful and herbivorous animals that cannot feed on human flesh.
The mountain gorillas are so wonderful to meet as they bring one close to nature in such a way one can easily fall in love with way they lead their lives and you can feel so petty for the people who destroy their homes. Gorillas live in very organized family, for example you can never find a gorilla on its own in the jungle. Each and every gorilla has a family it is attached to and in the family it might be a father, a mother, a child in the family or a relative to the silver back.
These gorillas are found in the small country of Africa called Rwanda located in the eastern part of the continent. This country has embarked on conserving these gorillas which has given opportunities to the people who would love to see the gorillas in their environment. People have not disappointed to the chance give to them as many people throughout the year visit this country for gorilla trekking safaris.
Rwanda has seven habituated gorilla families that can be watched by the tourists. These gorillas are found in volcanoes national park on Virunga ranges that is share by Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This Virunga region holds 480 gorillas half of the world’s mountain gorilla population (480) and the part that is found in Rwanda of the Virunga has 320 mountain gorillas. This makes Rwanda to having a third of the world’s mountain gorilla population.
Mountain gorilla trekking experience is incredible as one does not need to travel for long distances to see the gorillas and the gorillas in Rwanda are seen clearly and easily as the volcanoes national park forests are not so thick. Visitors strictly spend one hour with gorillas as they watch them move around, feed, play and at times the young gorillas come near the visitors with an intention of playing. The visitors are also able to take wonderful pictures and videos in the jungle.
Mountain gorillas are one of four the subspecies of gorillas and the other being the western lowland gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas and the cross river gorillas. All gorillas are primates and classified as apes due to their well developed brains, digits on the endings of the limbs and also do not have a tail at the back. The other apes are mankind, orangutans, gibbons and chimpanzees and this means that gorillas are also among the closest cousins of mankind. These gorillas are called the mountain gorillas due to the nature of their habitats. The mountain gorillas live in forested mountain ranges of Virunga and Bwindi Forests in the east central African region. The three countries with the mountain gorillas are Rwanda, Uganda and DR.Congo.
There are less than 900 mountain gorillas left in the world today. Uganda has the biggest percentage of gorillas almost inhabiting a half of the total population and the rest of the countries share the rest. Mountain gorillas are regarded as endangered species of animals by the international union of conservation for nature (IUCN) and this means they will get extinct in the forthcoming generation if conservation efforts are not made. The decrease in the population of mountain gorillas is due to habitat loss where by the local people are settling in areas where the gorillas stay.
Diseases are also a major factor for the decreases as very many helpless gorillas die of epidemics. For instance in the early 2000s, hundreds of gorillas died due to the outbreak of Ebola in Congo and some parts of southwestern Uganda. The Ebola was transmitted to the gorillas by the local people who were infected since the gorillas have almost the same immunity as mankind. Other causes of fall of gorilla population are civil wars that are occurring in the forests of Congo and also poaching of the gorillas for bush meat.
However, measures have been put in place to conserve and protect the gorillas from getting extinct as protected areas have been put in place like Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda, in Rwanda there is volcanoes national park and Congo Virunga national parks. Also different organization plus the governments of the three countries have come up to protect the mountain gorillas. One way of protecting and conserving the gorillas is visiting them in their protected areas since it creates awareness of how important gorillas are to people as they bring joy and excitement in their lives and also the some money paid to see the gorillas is injected in the gorilla conservation work.
There are very many online tour operators that you can contact to book yourself a gorilla trekking safari and have fun with the mountain gorillas in their natural environment before their extinction. A gorilla permit goes from 600 us dollars in Uganda, Rwanda 750 us dollars and DR. Congo 400 us dollars.
There are very many people out there who would like to see the gorillas in their natural environment. I guess you have seen gorilla caged in the zoo and they are normally two or three in the cage. All I can tell you is that these gorillas do not interact as they are supposed to.
Gorillas are nomadic animals which move from one place to the other looking for feeding areas in the jungles and are social animals which enjoy company of very many gorillas that is around 8-10 gorillas in the group. In the jungle is where they feel more comfortable as they independently do their own things other than being restricted like the way they are kept in the zoos.
The life span of a gorilla is normally 45 year in their natural habitat but a gorilla in captivity only spends 35 years on earth according to by the World Wildlife fund (WWF). This means that gorillas have more life when they are in the jungle where they feed on more organic and nutritious foods of the wild fruits, tree shoots, stems, leaves, flowers, vines and the small vertebrates.
In the jungle is where these gorillas normally express their natural intelligence in the way they lead their lives. This is why they are among the closest cousins of man. Due to their intelligence, many people have traveled to their natural habitats to see the gorillas.
There are many kinds of gorillas in the world from the western and eastern lowland gorillas, the cross river gorillas to the mountain gorillas. Gorillas are found in ten African countries; that is, the countries in the western, the central and eastern parts of Africa.
But for our case we shall enlighten you on the mountain gorillas that are found in Uganda, Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of Congo. Here we find over 20 habituated gorilla families available for tourism purposes, mountain gorilla trekking is one of the main foreign exchange earner for those countries.
Rwanda has seven habituated gorilla families found in volcanoes national park in the Virunga region which is straddles Rwanda, Uganda and the DR.Congo and Uganda has ten habituated gorilla families in Bwindi impenetrable national park in the southwestern part of the country and one habituated family at Mgahinga national park in the Virunga region. A 5 day African gorilla safari can combine Bwindi and Volcanoes National parks with 2 gorilla treks in both gorilla destinations.
The only way to see these amazing animals is by taking a gorilla safari that are normally organized by various tour companies and these have affordable tour packages and this can be proofed by going to the internet.
The other way to trek the gorillas, one may get in the Rwanda and Uganda, hire a car in Uganda and take a gorilla tour safari on your own. In other words, it is a self drive gorilla safari.. This is the most adventurous experience one can ever encounter.
Gorilla tours are truly awesome as one get in touch with nature and one of man’s closest cousins in their natural environment.
Tours to see the mountain gorillas in Africa have become one of the leading and most adventurous activity in the world. Thousands of visitors to Africa visit Volcanoes National Park Rwanda to take part in the daily gorilla tours to see these gentle giants in their natural habitat.
While on your gorilla tour in Rwanda, never miss adventurous trek to the peak of mountain Karisimbi, requiring on 2 days and 1 night camping in the mountains.
About Mountain Karisimbi in Rwanda
Mount Karisimbi is the highest of the eight volcanoes in the magnificent Virunga Mountains. It has a huge dome, now dormant, that dominates the range, more in girth than in height.
Karisimbi means White shell in Kinyaruanda, which refers to its often white-capped summit. Interestingly, this cap results not from snow but from hail and sleet which accumulate in the higher elevations from its frequent storms.
Mountain Karisimbi is situated in Volcanoes national Park which is also known as the Parc National Des Volcans, located in northern Rwanda, less than 2 hour drive from Kanombe International Airport.
Mountain Karisimbi stand at an elevation of about 4507m above sea level. The mountain is situated along the border between Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda on the western branch of the Eat African Rift valley.
Climbing Mountain Karisimbi is a strenuous and it requires a minimum of 2 days hike. The climb starts early in the morning taking 6 hours and involves navigating through the Bisoke side before reaching the first stopping place at an altitude of 3,700 metres for overnight camping before finishing off the journey the next day.
The hike to the summit of Mountain Karisimbi rewards the view of several bird species, monkeys and some times mountain gorillas to lucky visitors. As you climb Mountain Karisimbi, be a ware of rain which can come at any time due to the altitude. Therefore, it is advisable to move with rain Jackets.
Some level of fitness is needed to climb mountain Karisoke and it is wise to hire porters to help you carry your day pack and hiking equipment. No prior climbing experience required.
You need 4-5 day safari package in Rwanda to combine gorilla tracking and mountain Karisimbi climbing and the itinerary can be as below in brief;
Proposed Itinerary for Gorilla Tour and Mt. Karisimbi Hiking in Rwanda
Day 1: Kigali city tour, lunch, Transfer to Volcanoes National Park
Day 2: Gorilla Tracking, afternoon relaxation
Day 3: Start Mt. Karisimbi hiking, overnight camping in the mountains
Day 4: Reach the summit, descend to the base, relax at your lodge or drive back to Kigali where the tour ends.
Other Tour Activities around Virunga Region
Your visit to Virunga region not only rewards you with mountain gorilla tracking but also other interesting tour activities such as golden monkey tracking, community tours around the Virungas in Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo, forest hiking, visiting the tombs of Dian Fossey, Mt. Bisoke hiking, Trekking the active volcanoes of Nyiragongo and Nyamurangira in DR Congo and many others.
The things to do in Rwanda are not many, but so unique. The country is long passed its war torn days and now is one of the safest countries to visit in Africa. I was blown away when I first arrived in the country because it didn’t feel like Africa at all, it felt like Germany. Unlike other Eastern Africa countries there is strict law and order, there isn’t any garbage on the streets, and lawns are manicured to impossible perfection.
The country is extremely small and there is one thing that everyone knows you can do in Rwanda, gorilla trekking. I would implore you to get to know the people of the nation as they have been through very tumultuous times and have risen above that to create a very unique place in Africa.
Kigali city tour
Kigali is the capital city of Rwanda, very unique and very clean, strategically located in the heart of Rwanda; Kigali is a gorgeous city with great weather. In Kigali, you can visit Gisozi Genocide memorial museum to know more about the 1994 unrest in Rwanda. If you come to Africa and fail to reach Kigali, you have really missed a lot. Other genocide memorial museums around Kigali include Nyamata and Ntarama churches, located 30 - 35km from Kigali city.
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park
Gorilla trekking is the climax of all safaris in Rwanda – visiting Rwanda with out reaching mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park is a big mistake. A very unique experience when you can get inches away from Gorillas is something that you can’t put a price on. The largest groups of gorillas are in Uganda but you can also have a great experience in Rwanda. Volcanoes National Park hosts ten habituated Gorilla groups which are set for tourism. These include Susa, Group 13, Hirwa, Ugenda, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Umubano and others. Every gorilla group is tracked once by 8 people maximum per day. This aims at reducing human impact on the gorilla habitat.
To go gorilla tracking, you must have a gorilla permit, obtained in advance because their demand is very high throughout the year. Each gorilla permit in Rwanda costs US dollar 750 for foreign non residents, US dollars 450 for foreign residents living in East Africa excluding Rwanda, US dollars 375 for foreigners living in Rwanda, US dollars 300 for East African residents (Ugandans, Kenyans, Tanzanians, Burundians and 30.000 Rwanda Francs for Rwandans.
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe National Park
Chimp trekking is the second thought for activity after mountain gorilla trekking in Rwanda. Rwanda’s chimpanzees are found in Nyungwe forest national Park. The park is known for its rich biodiversity and being the most endemic species- rich area in all of Africa. Other primates include the Grey-cheeked mangabeys, blue monkeys, ververts, golden monkeys, baboons, Red tailed monkey, L’Hoest’s monkeys among others. Here we currently have only 2 habituated Chimps groups and tracking activity starts early at 5am from the park headquarters. Each Chimpanzee tracking permit costs US dollars 90, booked through tour operators or Park offices directly.
Forest and Canopy walk
Also takes place in Nyungwe National Park, with about 4 trails where you can take a guided walk in the forest. Each trail takes different duration. We also have adventurous canopy where one gets a fantastic view of the forest and birds.
Rwanda is famous for protecting a variety of wild animals and birds – Akagera national Park is situated in Eastern region of Rwanda. Boat cruise on Lake Ihema leaves a lot to be desired.
Part of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Kivu is the border between Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. A great relaxing region where tourists are safe to visit and swim (ask locals where) and it’s also extremely picturesque. Make sure that you try to visit cities like Kibuye, Goma and Gisenye near the DR Congo border. On Kivu Lake, we have a boat ride to the hot springs, or to the coffee Island.
Butare or Huye
This is the cultural hub for the country and was once the most important city before 1965. Here you will find a great national museum that will show the great history of Rwanda and also it’s entrance into the modern world. Visit the nearby Nyabisindu (Nayanza) where you can find the impressive royal palace of Rwanda’s fuedal monarchy.
Dian Fossey’s grave yard
The American researcher Dian Fossey set up a research center high in the Virunga volcanic mountains midway between Karisimbi and Bisoke, naming it the Karisoke Research centre. Now all that remains are some foundation stones and signs detailing what were there. She is buried there next to her beloved mountain gorilla digit. A guide leads the strenuous 3-4 hours hike. You will need at least good 6hours to do the round trip, allowing time to explore.
Gisenyi is a bustling market town on the edge of Lake Kivu and not far from the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo (worth a wander to if you have a spare half hour to see the bustle of truckers and coaches sorting out visas to cross into or from Goma). There are hot springs just out of town and also the major brewery that brews the local Primus beer and has a license to brew Guinness. You can visit on weekdays by prior arrangement.
Golden monkey tracking in Volcanoes National Park
These elusive cheeky creatures hang out quite low down in the park, so are a good warm up for the gorillas. At $ 100 a permit they are also considerably cheaper. You will get a guide to accompany you and tell you facts about their habitat and habits.
Rwanda National Ballet
Watch a performance of the Rwanda National Ballet, famous for its traditional dancing and singing.
Climb the Virunga Volcanoes between Ruhengeri and Gisenyi. Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the most commonly climbed volcano from Gisenyi. The Parc National des Volcans region is composed of volcanic mountains, of which two, Nyamuragira and Nyiragongo, across the frontier in the Democratic Republic of Congo, are still active. These are best trekked rather than climbed, and are still for the intrepid. In Rwanda we have Mout Bishoke hiked in one day, and Karisimbi that requires two days.
Rwanda is a small land locked country making part of the East African community. The country is emerging up as one of the leading tourist destination in Africa. Among the places to visit in Rwanda include Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe Forest and Akagera wildlife park as well as culture and genocide museums. The magnificent Volcanoes National Park Rwanda is the leading tourist destination in East Africa due to presence of the endangered mountain gorillas. Gorilla tracking is the most popular tourist attraction into the country.
It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Below are the top responsible travel tips for Rwanda
1. Be considerate of Rwanda’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. Descent dressing is highly recommended. In other words, visitors to Rwanda are advised to dress modestly and respectfully- Clothes which cover body parts are highly recommended especially in worshiping places.
3. Ask permission, remove your shoes and cover your shoulders with a jacket or wrap before entering a place of worship.
4. To protect the environment, avoid polythen bags or papers and try to avoid buying bottled water. Carry a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.
5. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings and thanking will help break the ice.
6. Shop for locally made products like crafts and wooded materials. In doing so, you are supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
7. Avoid supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals and birds.
8. Always seek permission before taking photos of people, businesses, and buildings among others. Without people consent, please do not take photos.
9. When on community visits or home stays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals. However, if you are visiting orphanages, please give to the needy.
10. Respect Rwanda’s recent history. Try to avoid discussing politics, ethnicity or genocide because some Rwandans would not like to remind about their past bad experience.
11. Always follow instructions when trekking primates like Gorillas, chimpanzees, golden monkeys, colobus monkeys among others.
12. Always listen to your safari guides’ advise and try to ask where you have not understood.
13. Try to keep time set to start any activity. Gorilla trekking and chimpanzee trekking starts in the morning at around 8am among others.
I and my 4 friends had a wonderful moment in Rwanda with African Jungle Adventures Limited! We booked a 5 day Rwanda gorilla tour package going to Nyungwe National Park for primates / birds and Volcanoes National Park for mountain gorilla tracking. We also visited some genocide memorial museums in Rwanda like Bisesero, Gisozi in Kigali and Murambi technical school along the highway from Nyungwe National Park to Kigali city. Baker was our tour guide and he made our safari experience unforgettable!!
Our gorilla trip started on 15th to 19th of April, 2015. Our flight from South Africa delayed and we arrived in Kigali a bit late at 11:20am, Baker our tour driver from African Jungle Adventures was already at Kigali International Airport waiting for us. He warmly greeted and welcomed us to this part of the world. Because we were a bit late for our drive to Nyungwe National Park, he got for us packed lunch in Kigali, then we set off in our comfortable 4×4 Land cruiser to Nyungwe National Park. We never wanted to drive late at night. This is about 5hours drive. We had brief stops at Nyanza King’s Palace and Murambi genocide memorial museum! We were so shocked with what we saw at Murambi genocide site, this was a technical school where many people gathered during the genocide, they were expecting to be safe in this school yet it was a trick to get them all killed. The Army with guns and machete came and massacred all children and adults who sought security in this area. We had to shade tears on what we saw (see photo below). Workers of this place / destination guides are genocide survivors and narrated to us all that happened before, during and after the genocide around Murambi.
You can see blood on the walls of classes. people massacred included children, students, youths and old people and were all buried in mass graves. The top of mass graves were turned into volley ball pitch by French Soldiers and started playing volley ball from there as a way to hide evidence!! Genocide survivors reported. After the genocide, mass graves were dug and bodies preserved in classes for all people allover the world to witness what happened in Rwanda. My dear, it was terrible!!
We had to continue with our journey to Nyungwe Forest, the staff of Nyungwe Forest Lodge was already waiting for us, we arrived by 7:25pm, welcomed us, we had dinner and overnight. The lodge is very amazing, its the best lodge around Nyungwe National Park.
The next day we started early at 4:30am, we had breakfast and continued for Chimpanzee tracking adventure in Nyungwe Forest. The walk in the forest was quiet adventurous, the jungle grounds were so slippery, I went on falling down and all am friends were laughing at me! Chimps in Nyungwe forest are so fast and you must be also fast to see them. I have ever been in Kibale National park in Uganda and found chimps in big numbers. Kibale offers great views than Nyungwe forest. We returned to the lodge, relaxed as we waited for lunch.
I and my boy friend stayed behind for massage, we took a guided walk in the tea plantations and nearby communities. the other friends went for canopy walk adventure. The other activities you can do around Nyungwe National Park include bird watching with over 300 species, guided forest walk with different forest trails, not forgetting colobus monkey tracking. It was reported that Nyungwe National Park has about 13 primate species. This marks the end of our day 2 of our safari in Rwanda.
The next day we had a longer drive to Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, a home to some of the world's remaining population of mountain gorillas. We checked-in Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge on the edges of Volcanoes National Park. We had a relaxed evening, dinner and overnight.
On Day 4, we start our day with mountain gorilla tracking. We had breakfast at Sabyinyo lodge, then we assembled at the park headquarters (with our packed water and scacks) at Kinigi for a briefing about gorilla trekking experience in Parc National des Volcans as well as group allocation. The park has 10 habituated gorilla groups, some are close, some are far. Because we had to return to Kigali after gorilla tracking, our tour guide requested the park warden to assign us to a nearby gorilla group so that we return early and drive back to Kigali. The drive to Kigali is between 90 and 120 minutes drive.
We are assigned to Sabyinyo group and the trek was quiet easy. We had fun with the gorillas, we took fantastic photos and video. This was the highlight of our safari in Rwanda. After 1 hour with the gorillas, we had to descend to the base, boarded our vehicle, we returned to the lodge for lunch and hit the road back to Kigali. We were awarded certificated to surviving the trek. This is a must do when you visit Africa. On my next vacation, I will combine gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda, its such amazing experience.
Tips to successfully enjoy a gorilla trek in Rwanda
Start with heavy breakfast because the trek is strenuous.
Carry enough water and snacks in your day pack
Hiring a porter is highly recommended. He will assist carry your day pack, pull and push you when you get stuck during the trek. Also this is direct creation of employment to local people, thus, reducing the problem of poaching.
Proper body protection wear is so important. Recommended are long sleeved shirts / blouse, long pants, hat, garden gloves, hiking boots up to ankle level and insect repellent.
Above all, you must follow instructions from the guide during the trek and when with gorillas.
Many tourists take gorilla trekking as safari to make the long dreamt experience with the bristly giant beasts yet this excursion is more than that. Gorilla trekking particularly in the moist Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an interesting experience that gets you closer to the unknown wilderness where your expectations and hopes are kept high for almost a whole day knowing what time you will meet the mountain gorillas.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest being a natural forest with both montane and lowland forest is shockingly a meeting point for people and the believed human precursors the Mountain Gorillas. They are believed to be human ancestors / precursors because they share 98% of the human characteristics. Not only do you get to meet the primate kingdom owner additionally different subjects like the olive baboons, vervet monkeys, grey checked mangabey, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys all living in harmony. This forest additionally allows the existence of bird territory where by it hosts over 348 species of birds. You can clearly see different bird species on your gorilla trekking trip. In the event that you were searching for a specific bird during your birding safari in Uganda, you are liable to freely achieve your goal from this bio diversity rich forest which was even recognized by the African Bird Club as the richest African birding destination.
Before organizing your meeting with the gorillas, you need to book a gorilla permits which allow you to enter the national park and be part of the gorillas’ day life. Even id you have a fortune and the 8 gorilla permits for a specific gorilla group are sold out, you are not permitted to meet the gorillas. You must have a gorilla permit that allows you participate in gorilla trekking.
Regardless of the possibility that you have paid for your gorilla permit and you develop an infectious illness you may be refunded in case you report for the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) before hand with evidence. There is a definite no meeting for you with the mountain gorillas. Various tourists, dream about this great experience particularly those that have had an opportunity to watch the movie “gorillas in the mist”. At the point when this opportunity strikes, you may have a lot of anxiety and excitement.
Gorilla safaris normally have pre tour advice where by you must be fit to trek the edges and get down the valley additionally the hand capped can track gorillas with the help of a sedan chair. When you take the normal trek, you need to get extra support from a walking stick or contract a porter for assistance in case you cannot carry on.
Like any one heading for a special meeting, gorilla trekking has special clothes that you must wear to get comfortable. Long trouser, garden gloves, a rain coat, long sleeved shirt, sun screen jerry, insert repellent, energy bite make your safari more interesting. The gorilla trekking rules also have to be keenly followed by all trekker in light of the fact that mountain gorillas just like people get agitated despite there renown serene behavior.
On meeting the gorilla group, the dominant silverback normally keeps in the hiding to look at your intensions of visit. At last when he is agreeable with your interaction with his enviously guarded family, he emerges to meet you and shows all aerobatic styles to show his majesty. In the event that you show that you are terrified, he may notice and keep teasing you. You must cooperate in and take as many photos as you can for remembrance without touching any member of his family.