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Rwanda Safaris and Tours

Rwanda “the land of a thousand hills” has become one of the most visited destinations in Africa. The small beautiful country located in East Africa is endowed with amazing sceneries, lots wildlife and primates and of course very beautiful and hospitable people.

Rwanda safaris offer a varied range of activities for tourists to savor be it gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park, primates and chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe, wildlife safaris in Akagera or simply chilling out along the Lake Kivu beaches.

The Rwanda Gorilla Tours have always stood out as the most enjoyable and sought after safaris in Rwanda. There are less than 900 mountain Gorillas left in the world, and these can only be found in 3 countries; Uganda, Rwanda and Congo but Rwanda stands out as the most accessible and safest destination for visitors to visit the Gorillas. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda lasts between 1-5 hours after which you spend 1 hour with the Gorillas in what is termed the ultimate wildlife encounter in Africa.
There several other activities you can do while on a Rwanda Safari other that just visiting the Gorillas, these include Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest which is also home to 13 other primates species, you can also opt to visit wildlife in Akagera which boasts of herds of elephants, Buffaloes, Sitatunga, birds, leopards, 11 antelope types, hippo, giraffes and lots of others. Rwanda also has a unique culture and history which you can explore in the several cultural and historical centres.

Dream to leave in the country which is so far the cleanest, good looking with great apes and wild animals.  Rwanda is a smallest country so far in the East African countries. It is near the nations geographic center in a region of rolling thousand hills with a series of valleys and ridges joined by steep slopes. Rwanda is a landlocked country situated in central Africa. It has got so far five volcanoes, 23 lakes and the numerous rivers where by some form the source of the river Nile.

The Rwanda safaris have got a lot of activities that they offer to their clients and these include the gorilla trekking in the volcanoes, the chimpanzee trekking in nyungwe forest national park, golden monkey trekking, hiking of mount bisoke, Birding game viewing and so on.

Golden monkey trekking

Have you ever witnessed how it feels like when travelling and you get lost in the right direction? Wow here comes a journey that will make you experience the above situation. Travel to Rwanda in nyungwe forest to trek the beautiful golden monkey.

Golden monkey trekking refers to hiking and walking through the jungle of volcanoes national park to trek the golden monkey families and this activity is mostly done in Rwanda and Uganda.

 

What to know about golden monkey trekking and the characteristics of golden monkeys.

The golden monkeys are known of their distinctive and special characters that most of the monkeys do not have. Golden monkey trekking is mostly done in Uganda, Rwanda and the democratic republic of Congo. In Rwanda it is done in the Volcanoes national park and in sabinyo. Golden monkey trekking in Rwanda is divided mainly into two groups where by the first group is that located in sabinyo and the other group is located in the Volcanoes mountain

Sabinyo has the largest group of golden monkeys and they are over 80 to 100 monkeys. It is well known that this the most visited group in Rwanda and it at the same time attracts many tourists  who enjoy seeing these monkeys .The other group is that in the volcanoes mountain , this group is said to have had slightly a smaller number of golden monkeys and therefore it attracts few tourists compared to the sabinyo .

  • Most people can easily identify the golden monkeys by their yellow patches filled all over their bodies.
  • These golden monkeys have their noses different from others
  • They have their nostrils pointing upwards. This is a very unique character because no other primate has the same character.
  • The golden monkeys have golden orange spots on their fur coats
  • They feed on bamboo trees, shoots and their branches
  • They always     look for ripe fruits in the forest and the insects on the ground.
  • The monkeys are very playful and active in the jungle and therefore this makes it very easy to find them once you come for trekking.
  • These golden monkeys are too curious and like jumping from one tree to another and therefore this makes it difficult to take photos once you find them.

Golden monkey trekking

The trekking of gorillas starts at exactly 7 am in the morning in the volcanoes mountain. It starts with a briefing at the headquarters with your tour guide who will brief you about the way how you will trek and find out the monkeys in a shortest time without being disturbed. From their the journey will begin to the jungle with the help of your trained guide to help you find these primates. These golden monkeys are difficult to find because they are too small and they are always playing within the trees. Therefore, to get these primates easily, you will follow the fresh bamboo shoots that were left behind when they were eating. This will help you to easily find these primates. Once you find these golden monkeys, you are allowed to stay with them for over one hour.

Cost of permit for golden monkey trekking

When trekking golden monkeys, the number of people is not limited as that of gorilla trekking. There fore if you at one time decide to go trekking in the sabinyo or in the volcanoes mountain, the golden monkey permit is at 100 US dollars per person. For one to get the permits, you are recommended to pay at the Uganda wild life authority and   Rwanda development board. The golden monkey permit does not need to be booked   in advance. Rather you can even decide to pay or book on the day of trekking. The permit for golden monkey trekking includes all the park entries, ranger guide fees and the time to be spent with the primates once you get them.

NOTE; You have got high chances for spotting the golden monkeys unlike the gorillas which is luck to allocate them.

NOTE; once you start trekking and you don’t find the monkeys, you are refunded back your money with immediate effect.

 What to carry when going for golden monkey trekking

  • Carry Insect repellent net to help you be safe from the mosquitoes, tsetse flies and other dangerous insects
  • Put on Shirts with long arms or long-sleeved clothes to help you from the insects biting you in the jungle.
  • Carry a rain you start your journey to the trekking jungle, the condition there may not be favorable for most of the clients, therefore you need to prepare early enough and carry some of the things to help you during your journey and these include;
  • Carry a jacket to help you from direct rain fall
  • A stick to help in giving you support while hiking to look for the golden monkeys
  • Carry a hat on your head to help you from direct sunlight which can make your trekking stop
  • Remember to carry a camera and take   photos of the golden monkeys
  • Come along with your porter to help you carry your luggage long the way.
  • Pack your simple snacks to help you once you feel hungry during your journey
  • Carry your boots and good shoes that will help you to pass though the slippery slopes of the jungle and avoid falling.

 

Chimpanzee Trekking In Rwanda

Have you tried to wake up one day and feel like travelling to see and trek some chimpanzees but un fortunately u have not got a place where to trek them? well there is no more worry again here I bring you the common country and area where the chimpanzees are trekked and that is non other than  Rwanda  and  specifically it is  done in nyungwe forest.

Chimpanzee trekking  is an activity where travelers with the help of the trained tour guide will lead you in to the  jungle following  the trail left by a habituated chimpanzee family and when you  find them, you are allowed to spend some time with them experiencing their  behavior for almost one hour. Chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda is mostly done in the nyungwe forest which is the largest, long stretch montane rainforest in Africa at the moment. This forest has attracted many tourists, researchers and scientists who have come to see the primates found in this forest and get to know more about them. such as the chimpanzees, gorillas and monkeys. This forest is also part of the wider nyungwe national park which includes cyamudongo forest. The nyungwe forest does not only have primates but it also has some other attractions like the bird species which are over 310 species in the sanctuary, these birds include, purple breasted sun birds, Rockefellers sunbird, red collared mountain babblers and the Ruwenzori turacos.

Chimpanzee trekking in nyungwe forest.

This is so amazing, the trekking starts very early in the morning at 5 ; am  after taking breakfast. It begins with a briefing at the headquarters at uwinka   with the help of the trained tour guide. Then from there the journey begins to the jungle following the foot prints of the chimpanzees, this will help you to get the chimpanzees in a very short time. Once you get  these primates you are  allowed to stay with them for over an hour getting used to their culture .The chimpanzees  are man’s closest friends , they almost share everything in common, and they have many of our  traits , they are intelligent apes and humans at the same time.

Rwanda has three places where these chimpanzees are found for example nyungwe national park [nyungwe and cyamudongo forests] and the gishwati mukura national park. The chimpanzees here have been kept for captivity for over 60 years. The park almost has 400 individual chimpanzees and 13 primate species in total. Two chimpanzee communities have been partially habituated in nyungwe national park where by many of them have gone to nyungwe forest [60 individuals] while the rest have gone to cyamudongo forest and those are 3o individuals. However, you have to put in mind that its not a guarantee that you have to see the chimpanzees in the nyungwe forest, but once you don’t see them, you are advised to take it easy. Nyungwe forest has other animal species like the faced vervet monkeys, Rwenzori colobus, black and white colobus monkeys to mention but a few.

Characteristics of chimpanzees.

  • They are too noisy
  • They are very mobile
  • They are too stubborn for life in that they like playing all the time.

Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda

Travelling to the volcanoes national park in Rwanda to trek for the gorillas will leave you speechless then turn you into a story teller to other people after seeing the gorillas in their natural habitats.   Volcanoes national park does not only have gorillas     but it also has other primates like the golden monkeys, chimpanzees these also make many tourists to travel and trek them. Country wide, the mountain gorillas are found in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. When it comes to Rwanda specifically, we find the mountain gorillas in the volcanoes national park which is 2hrs and 18 minutes without traffic jam from Kigali to the volcanoes where the mountain gorillas are trekked

The volcanoes national park in Rwanda was first gazzeted as a national park in 1925 and is the oldest national park on the African continent .It was gazzeted in order to protect the mountain gorillas from poachers .In 1925 , the volcanoes national park was extended from Rwanda into Congo .This park is found in northwestern Rwanda ,it covers 160km2 of the rain forest and encompasses five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga mountains ,namely kirisimbi ,bisoke ,muhabura gahinga and sabinyo .It boarders Virunga national park in Congo and mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda .It is a home to the mountain gorillas and the golden monkey and was a base for the primatologist dian fossey .

Trekking mountain gorillas in the volcanoes national park

 Volcanoes national park in Rwanda has got   over twenty families of the mountain gorillas comprised of around 280 individual gorillas living on the slopes of the Virunga volcanoes, and of the twenty families, twelve families are visited with the ten being visited each day. It is also known that Rwanda gorillas are divided into 2 groups that is those for study purposes and researchers only. These groups include the Beets me and the Pablo’s shidas which have the highest n3umber of the gorillas. There are also ten gorilla’s families where by these are for tourism purposes only. Among these groups are; ugenda umubano, Susa group, karisimbi, sabinyo, hirwa, amahoro, bwengye, the agasha group and the kwitonda.

NOTE; As Adventure in the wild safaris, we always recommend our clients who are  interested in  trekking the mountain gorillas in their natural habitats to book sabinyo silver back lodge  for their  stay because it is just a    15-minute drive from the volcanoes national park headquarter which is the starting point for the gorilla trek.

The trekking of mountain gorillas in the volcanoes starts very early at 7 am at the headquarters with a short briefing about the rules and the regulations   of how to trek the gorillas.  From there you will be divided into a group of 8 members who will be allowed to enter into the jungle.   While in the jungle you will be helped by a trained ranger who will help you tress the gorillas since they sometimes graze from far in the jungle. Once you start the trekking put it at the back of your mind that it is not a guarantee that you will find these primates. If you find them well and good, if you don’t then is fine. Do not blame anyone for not having seen the gorillas.  The trek takes something like 1 to 5 hours looking for the gorillas. Once you find these primates, you will be allowed to stay with them for over an hour relaxing with them and taking photos.

Rwanda Gorilla Groups 

The Susa gorilla trek

The Susa gorilla trek

The Susa gorilla trek was researched by dian fossey, it got its name from the river Susa which used to flow in the home range of these mountain gorillas. This family is really interesting and it has attracted many visitors from different places who wish to see the family particularly. However, this is the most difficult family to trek because it is found far in the mountains and therefore visitors find it harder for them to trek them. This group is very interesting with a family size of 28 gorilla individuals with three silverbacks. This group is known for its twins that is the impano and the byishimo which are prettier and playful hence making many tourists interested. Here the tourists get to see the mother of twins Nyabitondore take care of the twins, breast feeding them and carrying them.

The sabinyo gorilla group safari

The sabinyo gorilla group safari

This group can be easily reached and it is known that has the strong silverback called guhonda. This silver back is very massive big and impressive. In comparison to other gorilla families, sabyino has the smallest number of members.

Sabyino derived its name from the sabyino volcano which actually means the teeth of the old man.

Bwenge gorillas in the mist trek

Bwenge gorillas in the mist trek

Bwenge gorillas in the mist trek is a family which consists of 11 members including the silver back.  This family is   found on the slopes of karisoke volcano. The group has faced a lot of challenging times and these   include the death of six infants. However, this group is becoming strong with two successful births in the past couple years as well as a strong silver back leader. For one to visit this gorilla group, you need over 3 hours because it is not that near to trek within just one hour because it is located quite far. And the other reason is because the trails in this area where this gorilla family is found are slippery, muddy and steep. Bwenge was the silverback that led the group which was established in 2007 after he left his birth group and was joined by other females coming from other gorilla groups .

Hirwa group trekking

Hirwa group trekking

Hirwa group trekking means being a lucky one. This group has got over nine individuals, the first one is the silverback, three adult females, two sub adult females as well as 3 babies. This group is termed as the newest gorilla group, strong and it is so caring to an extent that it usually safeguards its members.

Amahoro gorilla tours

Amahoro gorilla tours

The name amahoro means peace. This means that the amahoro gorilla tours is a peace full group. It has got seventeen members that is the silver back, two adult females, 2 juveniles, 2 sub adult males and 5 babies. Amahoro gorilla later lost members to the ubumwe family led by Charles.

Ugende family gorilla adventure

Ugende family gorilla adventure

This group lives in Rwanda karisimbi area and it is comprised of the gorillas and the silverbacks. The ugenda family gorilla adventure simply means being on the move. It was called this name because it was constantly moving place to another. This makes it very difficult to be trekked by most clients because it is not settled on one place.

Kwitonda family gorilla adventure

Kwitonda family gorilla adventure

This family in the volcanoes comprises of over 18 members led by the kwitonda silverback. The name kwitonda means the humble one. This family has got over 2 silverbacks plus a black back. The kwitonda family   moved too far in the democratic republic of Congo making it difficult and challenging to be trekked by the tourists.

Umubano gorilla safari group

Umubano gorilla safari group

The family Umubano gorilla safari was named that name which simply means   neighborliness. This family consists of eleven individuals that is a silverback, a sub adult male, three adult females as well as six babies. The Umubano group were initially members of the amahoro group however after sometime they separated going into ubumwe the dominant silver back led by Charles. As time moved on Charles grew up into an adult silver back just as ubumwe, he then decided to fight and eventually called ubumwe. This fight went on for some time at the end Charles was able to win the couple of the females from ubumwe hence forming a group. Since then there was no fight again but just interactions and respect.

Karisimbi family gorilla trek

Karisimbi family gorilla trek

This is believed that   this family separated from the Susa family and its today that it is   referred to as a Susa b or the karisimbi group. For those who are good at hiking he volcanoes, you are recommended to trek the karisimbi family because it grazes from far. This  family is comprised  of 15 individuals and they are usually found on the slopes of mountain karisimbi volcano ,the highest peak of Rwanda .Therefore it seems this family formed its home in the higher mountain of karisimbi caldera making it difficult for the visitors to hike and find out the gorillas for trekking .

What to carry as you go to trek the mountain gorillas.

When setting off for your trip, remember to carry the following things while you are going to hike to the volcanoes to trek the gorillas; un umbrella, a rain court, a hat, a jacket,   long sleeved shirts, and the trousers to avoid coldness and the small branches in the jungle that may hurt you while trekking. We advise you to carry all the above because the weather changes and sometimes it is not conducive to the human beings.

What to expect on your gorilla safari in Rwanda?

Upon your arrival at the park entrance, you will be welcomed and checked in by the staff who will direct you to the lodge where to have an overnight. On this day, you will not do any activity since you will reach late. You will then have to rest as you wait for the next day.

You will have to wake up very early in the morning prepare yourselves, have morning tea and then you will be picked by a guide who will transfer you to the volcanoes national park which is just a two-hour drive from the kigali to the park. You will first be briefed  by the ranger guide, you will be divided into groups of 8 and you will be given the rules and the regulations of trekking such as the do not mimic the gorillas, do not feed them do not come too close to them, do not make too much noise because they feel angry and end up attacking you.

From there you will be given guidelines on the dressing code while entering into the jungle for example,

Remember to wea long trousers, long sleeved shirts, cape, hat and so on. From there you will enter into the jungle and start the trekking. Once you get them, you are given ample time of over one hour as you are taking the photos.

Price and costs for the gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda.

The gorilla trekking in Rwanda costs 1500 dollars per person and it is a one-day trek, you should put this in your mind that part of your contribution goes to conserving these mountain gorillas.

Things to do

Hiking mountain bisoke.

Hiking mountain bisoke.

Hiking mount Bisoke is an exciting and adventurous activity that can be done by even inexperienced hikers or the first-time hikers. This hiking will take you over 6 hours to reach the top of the volcano.

Birding

Birding

This simply refers to the observation of birds in their natural habitats. Birding in Rwanda is done in almost all the national parks such as the Akagera national park, the Nyungwe national park, the volcanoes national park to mention but a few. The bird species in Rwanda include the Ruwenzori Turaco, the strange weaver, Ruwenzori Batis, Regal sunbird, the purple breasted birds and so many others.

Adventure sports

Adventure sports

These activities are carried out in Rwanda in the Akagera national park, Nyungwe national park, Volcanoes national park, and Gishwati Mukura national park.

These activities include cycling, kayaking, hiking, canopy walkway, caving, and so many others.

Cultural encounter

Cultural encounter

This simply means the interaction between two or more people who work according to the different social norms.

Rwanda has got the Ibiwacu cultural village which is found in Ruhengeri on the out skirts of the volcanoes national park. This cultural village offers community walks to all clients who have come for the trip. While in this village, clients get to know a lot of things such as cattle raring, mock hunting, the banana beer making and so on. The Ibiwacu people always make crafts and get money this acts a source for survival.

Why visit Rwanda?

Set off on a once in a life time journey into the beautiful, clean, and enjoyable country which is none other than Rwanda. Rwanda is a very nice place to visit because it has got very many tourist things and animals such as the    great apes of Rwanda like the   gorillas and chimpanzee trekking adventure. Rwanda has got many reasons as to why one should visit it.

First of all, Rwanda is known as the land of a thousand hills, stunning scenery and warm, friendly people who offer unique experiences in one of the most remarkable countries in the world. The country is blessed with extra ordinally biodiversity with incredible wildlife living throughout   its volcanoes, montane rain forests and sweeping plains.

The undeniable beauty

The undeniable beauty

Rwanda is mountainous, diverse, and just all around gorgeous. Jungles, savannas, volcanoes, lakes, and forests are just a few hours apart, and this little country packs in the beauty. Rwanda is called the land of a thousand hills for a reason and in between activities, don’t forget to take in all the breath-taking views and sunsets.

Wildlife in their natural habitats

Wildlife in their natural habitats

Rwanda is a protective, conservation and wildlife success story, and a home for wildlife encounters and national park visits are very many in number. The Virunga Mountains, a range that spans Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, are homes to half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. Clients, tourists and travelers visiting the country can visit gorilla families in the wild and aid their conservation. Other than gorillas, Nyungwe National Park is home to chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, and more than 300 different bird species. Since lions and rhinos were reintroduced to Rwanda in 2015 and 2017 respectively, Akagera National Park once again has Africa’s ‘Big Five.

The location

The location

Here you will consider Rwanda a jumping off point for the rest of East Africa.  It has got a good location which   has got quick buses and planes to Uganda are fairly inexpensive and getting to Nairobi, Zanzibar, Addis Ababa, and the Serengeti plain is easy. Feeling adventurous? Cross the Rwandan border into the democratic republic of Congo to hike the Nyiragongo volcano, home to the largest active lava lake on earth.

The fantastic weather

The fantastic weather

Rwanda has got a temperate tropical highland climate with lower temperatures than the equatorial countries due to its high elevation. Kigali in the center of the country, has a typical daily temperature range between 12c and 27c with little variation through the year. Rwanda has got a very nice and moderate weather which is cool and hence attracting a lot of clients. Rwanda has got two seasons where by rain comes twice a year and that is in October to November and February to may and it has also got two dry seasons

Where to stay while in Rwanda.

Mountain gorillas nest lodge

Mountain gorillas nest lodge

Mountain gorilla nest lodge is a luxury lodge that has attracted many clients and tourists from different countries. This lodge has got well trained staff which provides good services, all the types meals which are both full board and half board depending on what the clients asked for or ordered for.    The lodge is located in the northern part of Rwanda in musanze district. It offers a family and well sized magnificent accommodation that is at Hannah’s cottages.  The lodge has got   a balcony which offers a great view of Rwanda’s hills and the slopes of the volcanoes national park. The lodge has got rooms which are all ensuite with bathrooms, showers, and toilets inside.

Sabinyo silverback lodge.

Sabinyo silverback lodge.

This is a lodge with six cottages, two suites, one family cottage, double rooms, single rooms and standard rooms. This lodge has got well trained and caring staff which provides its clients with meals that are both full board and half board depending on what they asked for and they ordered for. The lodge has got very nice rooms which are fully furnished and well renovated with all the types rooms inside. The lodge has got ensuite rooms which are spacious comprising of   double, single, standard and twin rooms.  These rooms have hot and warm water inside .They also have showers inside .The lodge  has a bar which is well filled with all the types of drinks that the clients may like .They have a campsite which allows the visitors to set their tents and have a rest at night .They are provided with fire at night by the rangers which provides warmth and protection from the wild animals at night.  The rooms have a balcony which gives a great view of the foothill of the Virunga ranges and the volcanoes rolling hills of the countries around.

NOTE; You are advised to book your accommodations just like 3 months before your real date of flying for the trip or trekking.

Rwanda National Parks

Akagera national park.

Akagera national park.

This is the only haven for savannah wildlife animals in the republic of Rwanda. Akagera national park has recorded over 8000 large animals, with over 100 Africa bush elephants, more than 80 Roth’s child giraffes, over 15 lions and about 25 black Easter rhinos and so on.

Nyungwe national park.

Nyungwe national park.

This park is one of the oldest rainforests in Africa. It is rich I biodiversity and spectacularly beautiful inclusive of a small population of chimpanzees as well as 12 other primate species including the L’ Hoests monkey endemic to the Albertine rift.

Gishwati mukura

Gishwati mukura

Gishwati mukura national park has got forests which sit on the ridge that divide the Congo and the Nile water catchment areas. This park is located in western part of Rwanda and covers an area of 13.2 square miles. Gishwati mukura national park was formed by merging the mukura and gishwati forests which lie between the Akagera and the volcanoes national park in Rwanda.

Volcanoes national park.

Volcanoes national park.

This national park is located in western Rwanda and it covers 160 km of the rain forests and encompasses five of the 8 volcanoes in the Virunga mountains namely karisimbi, bisoke, gahinga, muhabura, and the sabinyo. The park boarders Virunga national park in the democratic republic of Congo and mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda.

The volcanoes national park is a home to mountain gorillas and the golden monkeys and it was the primatologist dian fossey.

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