Overnight in Nairobi
Spend the night in Nairobi, Kenya, at the end of the Kenya extension.
Trek the forests of the Virunga Mountains to encounter Rwanda’s “gentle giant,” the mountain gorilla. Few animals in Africa have as many legends circulating around them as the mountain gorilla – their enormous size, extraordinary strength, and the fact that they live in deep, dark, mysterious forests of lush vegetation have contributed to this mystique. Only about 1,000 mountain gorillas remain in the wild today, giving you a special opportunity for this rare experience. These social apes and their large appetites may have you observing youngsters playing, the silverback eating by stripping leaves from huge branches, friendly grooming between pals, or tiny babies nursing from their mother. Bringing mountain gorillas to light, Dr. Dian Fossey dedicated her life to their future and was immortalized in the book-to-film adaptation “Gorillas in the Mist.” You will walk away with unforgettable memories and amazing photographs.
• Come face-to-face with individual mountain gorillas as they interact within their family group.
• Trek through lush forest along the slopes of inactive volcanoes in Virunga National Park, Africa’s oldest national park.
Itinerary updated: September 2019
|Feb 27||Relax before departing for Rwanda.||Ole-Sereni Hotel, Nairobi|
|Feb 28||Fly from Nairobi to Kigali and then drive to the Virunga Mountains.||Mountain Gorilla View Lodge||B, L, D|
|Feb 29||Gorilla trek.||Mountain Gorilla View Lodge||B, L, D|
|Mar 1||Gorilla trek and then return to Kigali.||Kigali Serena Hotel, Kigali||B, L, D|
|Mar 2||Kigali city tour and Genocide Memorial Centre visit before flying home.||B, L|
|Mar 3||Arrive home.|
Spend the night in Nairobi, Kenya, at the end of the Kenya extension.
Meet our local operator’s representative at the hotel to transfer to the Nairobi Airport for your flight to Kigali. Your Primate Safaris guide will meet you at the airport in Kigali and take you to lunch. Then drive about 2.5 hours through Musanze and the Virunga Mountains in a spacious Land Cruiser, arriving at the Mountain Gorilla View Lodge in time for dinner.
After breakfast, drive to the Volcanoes National Park Headquarters where you’ll meet your two park guides before driving to a trailhead to trek to your gorilla group. You may hire an agile porter to help you carry your photo equipment and water. The trek to your gorilla group can take one to three hours of hiking each way with your time limited to one hour with the group. Your park guides will go over safety rules and body language required when visiting gorilla groups, but you’ll soon realize that this is one of the most exhilarating and moving wildlife experiences you will ever have.
The trackers already know where each group is located. To reach the group, you may climb through several vegetation zones – farms, bamboo, luxuriant hagenia, and hypericum forest with twisted gnarled trees covered in soft emerald mosses, lichens, and epiphytes. Watch out for stinging nettles!
As you approach the group, the lead guide will grunt as he edges forward to announce your arrival so as not to startle the gorillas. The silverback is usually lazily lying in thick vegetation and watching while one or more females are often close by and unperturbed by your presence. We hope you’ll have the wonderful opportunity to watch the young gorillas play fighting, climbing trees, and wrestling, making the hour pass by very quickly.
After gorilla trekking, depending on the time of day, you may be taken sightseeing before returning to the lodge.
Your grand gorilla finale will dawn today. You’ll drive to the park headquarters to meet your park guides to trek to your gorilla group. After you spend your hour immersed with the gorillas and watching their behavior, you will return to Kigali.
Take a city tour in Kigali and visit the Genocide Memorial Centre that explains Rwanda’s promise for the future: “Such atrocities will never happen again.” After your visit and depending on your flight schedule, either go back to the hotel for a dayroom (not included) or transfer to the Kigali airport and fly to Nairobi to connect with flights homeward.
Trek the forests of the Virunga Mountains to encounter Rwanda’s “gentle giant,” the mountain gorilla.
|Type||Cost Per Person|
|Extension cost, double occupancy||$7,000|
Costs are per person, double occupancy, not including airfare (except flights from Nairobi to Kigali on February 28), singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.
All reservations require a non-refundable deposit of $1,500 per person to pre-purchase the gorilla trekking permits. The remaining balance will be added to your main trip balance. The payment schedule and cancellation policy are the same as for the main safari. See main safari itinerary for complete terms and conditions.
|Payment||Due Date||Amount Per Person|
|Deposit||Due now to reserve your space||$1,500|
|Final||Due with the Tanzania safari||Remaining Balance|
The pre-purchased gorilla trekking permit deposit cost of $1,500 is non-refundable and non-transferrable. A limited number of permits are issued per day for the different gorilla families. You will be in a group of eight people along with two guides and gorilla trackers. Your permit will allow you one hour with the habituated gorilla family you visit each day.
It is the dry season with less daily rainfall, but showers are possible. The temperatures range around 70°F (21°C) during the day and 60°F (16°C) at night. The altitudinal range creates climatic variations, so expect rain and mist in the upland forests while the sun shines at the base of Volcano National Park.
Gorilla tracking can be arduous, so be prepared and equipped accordingly. Expect a one to three hour hike each way to see gorillas in dry or muddy conditions over coarse terrain. Walking sticks are provided and porters are available for hire. The high elevation may also affect hikers. The base of the park sits at 7,500ft above sea level (2,300m) and rises to 13,500ft (4,100m).
Airfare, except flights listed as included, is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical and contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you.
Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Arrive in Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) near Arusha, Tanzania, in time for an overnight on February 6. For most, this means departing from home on February 5. Depart from Kigali on the evening of March 2.
Flights we book for you: One-way flight between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi and Kigali International Airport (KGL) on February 28. The cost of this booking is included in the trip cost.
You’ll travel in 4×4 Toyota Land Cruisers similar to those on your Tanzania and Kenya trips. It takes about 2.5 hours to drive from Kigali to the Virunga Massif, which hosts Volcanoes National Park.