Search for the gorillas that traverse the Virunga Mountains for the heart-pounding thrill of observing these giants in their natural habitat. The intimate experience of coming close to these gentle giants as they interact, play and nestle into the forest foliage can be life-changing and unforgettable.
Day +1: En Route from U.S.
Day +2: Arrive in Kigali, Rwanda
After arriving, meet your host for the transfer to the Kigali Serena Hotel for a restful evening.
Overnight: Kigali Serena Hotel
Day +3: Kigali / Kinigi
Morning sightseeing today includes a tour of the Genocide Museum. Enjoy lunch in Kigali before the drive to the Mountain Gorilla View Lodge where you can rest and prepare for tomorrow morning's trek.
Overnight: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge (B,L,D)
Day +4: Kinigi / Volcanoes National Park / Morning Gorilla Trek / Kigali
After an early breakfast, we begin the gorilla trek. Mountain gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park is one of the most exciting natural history opportunities in all of Africa. To be so close to these amazing animals can truly be a life-changing event. Experienced national park guides will lead you through the thick forest in search of one of the habituated gorilla families that traverse the Virunga Mountains. Upon finding the group, we will have one hour with them to observe and capture remarkable photographs.
Following this memorable adventure, return to Kigali for the evening.
Overnight: Kigali Serena Hotel (B,L,D)
Day +5: Kigali / Flight to Arusha / Main Program Begins
After breakfast, take the group flight to Arusha to join fellow travelers to begin the main program. (B)
Note: Trekking will involve walking and climbing hills in tropical forests on uneven and sometimes rocky, steep and/or slippery ground at a moderate, unhurried pace. Park regulations state that the maximum time that can be spent with the gorillas is one hour. The time spent searching for the gorillas does not count as part of the hour.
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Pre-tour space is limted, so it's recommended to reserve early for best availability.
We expect that guests on this program be in very good physical condition with the ability to walk up and down hills in tropical forests on uneven and sometimes rocky, steep and/or slippery terrain. The forest can be humid and paths may have heavy vegetation. A degree of physical fitness is necessary as you may need to pull yourself up steep slopes by grasping onto branches or bushes, or even get a boost. Porters can be hired at Volcanoes National Park to assist you with trekking and to carry your equipment. Contact Orbridge's Guest Services department if you would like to reserve a porter.
Trekking can take anywhere from 1-5 hours, depending on how long it takes to find the gorillas. It is advisable to bring an energy bar and bottled water. Also keep in mind that you will experience varying altitudes to which you may not be accustomed, from 5,100 feet in Kigali to 7,000-9,500 feet while gorilla trekking.
Kigali Serena Hotel
While in Kigali, you will relax in style in the five-star Kigali Serena Hotel on one of the city's most charming boulevards. Relaxed yet elegant, the hotel's pan-African style, wide sundeck overlooking a large outdoor pool and lovely tropical gardens will be a peaceful retreat while you enjoy your time in Rwanda's capital city.
Room Amenities: King or twin beds, air conditioning, flat-screen satellite TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, safe, minibar, coffee and tea maker, and en suite bathroom with sundries (shampoo, conditioner, and soap) and hair dryer.
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge
On the edge of Volcanoes National Park, the Mountain Gorilla View Lodge’s location is an ideal base from which to trek the Virunga Mountains and its habituated groups of Mountain Gorillas. Its friendly staff and collection of individual cottages will make you feel at home, and its beautiful views will remind you of adventures in store for you. Each cottage has a fireplace (wood and charcoal or space heaters provided on request).
Room Amenities: King or twin beds, sitting area, coffee and tea maker, bathrobes and slippers, safe, and en suite bathroom with shower, sundries, and hair dryer.
Pre-tour rate is per person based on double occupancy except where noted as Single, in U.S. dollars. Single availability limited. Airfare from Rwanda to Tanzania on day +5 is included. Airfare otherwise not included. NOTE: In lieu of a pre-tour deposit, the gorilla trek permit fee is required to guarantee availability. The gorilla trek permit is purchased at the time of reservation at a cost of $1,500 per person. The gorilla trek permit fee is non-refundable and non-transferable.
- Accommodations at Kigali Serena Hotel and Mountain Gorilla View Lodge (or similar)
- 3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners
- Excursion transportation, all park fees, and one gorilla trek permit
- Temporary membership in the Flying Doctors Service
- Airport transfer for guests arriving on the suggested flight
- Internal airfare from Kigali to Arusha for the main program