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 from 15th to 19th of April, 2015. Our flight from South Africa delayed and we arrived in Kigali a bit late at 11:20 am, 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 was turned into volleyball pitch by French Soldiers and started playing volleyball 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 all over 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 7:25 pm, 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 4:30 am, we had breakfast and continued for Chimpanzee tracking adventure in Nyungwe Forest. The walk in the forest was quite adventurous, the jungle grounds were so slippery, I went on falling down and all am friends were laughing at me! Chimps in the Nyungwe forest are so fast and you must be also fast to see them. I have ever been to Kibale National park in Uganda and found chimps in big numbers. Kibale offers great views than the Nyungwe forest. We returned to the lodge, relaxed as we waited for lunch.
I and my boyfriend stayed behind for massage, we took a guided walk in the tea plantations and nearby communities. the other friends went for a 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 long drive to Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, 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 snacks) 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 the Sabyinyo group and the trek was quite easy. We had fun with the gorillas, we took fantastic photos and videos. 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 certified 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 an amazing experience.
Tips to successfully enjoy a gorilla trek in Rwanda
Start with a 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 a 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.