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Overview

Encounter Gorillas in the Mist on a Boundless Journeys Custom Rwanda Safari

There is no experience quite like seeing a mountain gorilla in the wild—and there’s no place quite like Rwanda to see these majestic primates. It’s a country that experienced great tragedy during the genocide of 1994. But the last 20 years have seen an incredible transformation that is a testament to the resilience of its people, and the pride of this beautiful nation.

Explore the many sides of this beguiling country on Boundless Journeys’ custom tours of Rwanda, which can best be described as "exclusive, low-impact, and epic." Our experienced naturalist guides will introduce you to the native wildlife, including hundreds of species of birds, and dozens of species of mammals and primates. Encounter gorillas in the mist… in the middle of a pristine forest.

Along the way, you’ll stay in accommodations ranging from five-star hotels to cozy lodges, all beautifully situated in the very best of locations. Boundless Journeys partners with Rwanda’s most respected logistics teams, ensuring that your customized safari is thoughtfully planned and well executed.

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Suggested Itineraries

SUGGESTED ITINERARIES FOR RWANDA

Based on our years of designing custom safaris to Rwanda, we believe that the combinations below deliver the best experiences in each region. Our Boundless Journeys trip specialists can further customize these options to match the interests of your group, and can mix and match the experiences below. Don’t worry: If you don't see what you are looking for, there are many more options to explore! Give us a call at 1-800-941-8010 to start the conversation.

Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda

Regions Visited:

Kigali

As the capital and largest city of Rwanda, Kigali is the cultural and economic hub of the country, and one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. Although it was once an epicenter of the Rwandan genocide of 1994, it is a testament to the resiliency of its 1,000,000+ population that Kigali has rebounded so successfully from such a tragedy.

Today, Kigali is a pleasant surprise for travelers, with its lush hillsides, lively markets, up-and-coming restaurants, bars, and cafés, and bustling streets that are spotlessly clean.

Volcanoes National Park

Just two hours from the capital city of Kigali is Volcanoes National Park (officially "Parc National de Volcans" or PNV for short). It’s celebrated for its spectacular beauty, native wildlife like golden monkeys and forest elephants, sights like the Musanze Caves and the Iby’lwacu Cultural Village, and its six active and three extinct volcanoes.

Of course the main reason people come here is for the population of endangered mountain gorillas. They were made famous by the legendary gorilla advocate Dian Fossey, as depicted in the autobiographical movie Gorillas in the Mist, which was filmed throughout Volcanoes National Park. Be sure to visit the tomb of this extraordinary woman and one of the many conservation non-profit centers that are now based here.

Follow mountainside paths through mist-shrouded forest to come face-to-face with the magnificent mountain gorilla in its natural habitat, in Rwanda's beautiful Volcanoes National Park.

Kigali | Volcanoes National Park

Day 1: Arrival in Kigali
Day 2: Transfer to your lodge near Volcanoes National Park; optional Kigali city tour or hike near the twin lakes of Burera and Ruhondo, two shimmering volcanic crater lakes located high in the Virungas
Day 3: Mountain Gorilla trek; ex-poacher's village visit or explore Musanze caves.
Day 4: Option for second Mountain Gorilla trek, optional Golden Monkey trek, or guided tour of local markets in Musanze (formerly Ruhengeri) and Kinigi; afternoon return to Kigali
Day 5: Depart from Kigali at leisure

Great Primate Safari

Regions Visited:

Kigali

As the capital and largest city of Rwanda, Kigali is the cultural and economic hub of the country, and one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. Although it was once an epicenter of the Rwandan genocide of 1994, it is a testament to the resiliency of its 1,000,000+ population that Kigali has rebounded so successfully from such a tragedy.

Today, Kigali is a pleasant surprise for travelers, with its lush hillsides, lively markets, up-and-coming restaurants, bars, and cafés, and bustling streets that are spotlessly clean.

Lake Kivu

On the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo lies Lake Kivu, one of the African Great Lakes. This fresh water lake sits upon a rift valley and is heated by volcanic activity in the area, which explains its average temperature of 75F (24C). Surrounded by majestic mountains, tea plantations, and local farms, Lake Kivu is popular for swimming, fishing, kayaking, windsurfing, and other water sports, as well as island hopping.

Nyungwe Forest National Park

In the southwest corner of Rwanda is the incredibly pristine mountain rainforest of Nyungwe Forest National Park. It’s believed to be "one of Africa’s oldest forests, staying green even through the Ice Age" – which may explain its spectacular biodiversity.

It is home to over 300 bird species, hundreds of orchids and butterfly species, and over 75 species of mammal, including 13 different primates like the Rwenzori Colobus Monkey and the Grey-Cheeked Mangabey. Popular activities include chimpanzee tracking, bird watching, canopy walking, and hiking along the 80+ miles of trails throughout Nyungwe Forest.

Volcanoes National Park

Just two hours from the capital city of Kigali is Volcanoes National Park (officially "Parc National de Volcans" or PNV for short). It’s celebrated for its spectacular beauty, native wildlife like golden monkeys and forest elephants, sights like the Musanze Caves and the Iby’lwacu Cultural Village, and its six active and three extinct volcanoes.

Of course the main reason people come here is for the population of endangered mountain gorillas. They were made famous by the legendary gorilla advocate Dian Fossey, as depicted in the autobiographical movie Gorillas in the Mist, which was filmed throughout Volcanoes National Park. Be sure to visit the tomb of this extraordinary woman and one of the many conservation non-profit centers that are now based here.

An extended Rwanda experience for those who want to delve deeper into iconic primate encounters.

Kigali | Nyungwe Forest National Park | Lake Kivu | Volcanoes National Park

Day 1: Arrival in Kigali and city tour
Day 2: Transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park; visit Nyanza Royal Palace and museum en route
Day 3: Colobus monkey trek and tea plantation tour
Day 4: Transfer to Gisenyi on Lake Kivu; visit local markets en route
Day 5: Morning at leisure at Lake Kivu; afternoon transfer to Volcanoes National Park
Day 6: Mountain Gorilla trek; ex-poacher's village visit
Day 7: Option for second Mountain Gorilla trek, optional Golden Monkey trek, or guided tour of local markets in Ruhengeri and Kinigi; afternoon return to Kigali
Day 8: Depart from Kigali at leisure

Where to Stay

Morocco

Der Echchaouen

Chefchaouen, Morocco

Located near Chefchaouen’s iconic blue medina, this comfortable boutique hotel boasts warmly-lit guestrooms decorated with local crafts, carved wooden headboards, and Moroccan style décor, as well as an outdoor pool.

Hotel Sahrai

Fes, Morocco

The creation of French designer and architect Christophe Pillet, this five-star hotel melds Moroccan tradition with contemporary style. Chic, understated guestrooms include glass-walled bathrooms, leather headboards, and high-end toiletries.

Michlifen Resort

Ifrane, Morocco

Recently opened in 2018, this five-star resort boasts four restaurants, a spa, and a sprawling outdoor pool. Designed in the style of an alpine chalet, the cozy guestrooms are decorated with paneled wood and rich fabrics.

Kigali

As the capital and largest city of Rwanda, Kigali is the cultural and economic hub of the country, and one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. Although it was once an epicenter of the Rwandan genocide of 1994, it is a testament to the resiliency of its 1,000,000+ population that Kigali has rebounded so successfully from such a tragedy.

Today, Kigali is a pleasant surprise for travelers, with its lush hillsides, lively markets, up-and-coming restaurants, bars, and cafés, and bustling streets that are spotlessly clean.

Kigali Serena HotelDeluxe

Kigali, Rwanda

Ideally located in central Kigali on one of the city’s most charming boulevards, the relaxed yet elegant five-star Kigali Serena Hotel is built around a polished granite atrium, showcasing a selection of Rwandese art. A range of room choices are complemented by two restaurants, including the relaxed Sokoni Café, offering poolside seating. A fully equipped gym and spa round out the amenities.

Lake Kivu

On the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo lies Lake Kivu, one of the African Great Lakes. This fresh water lake sits upon a rift valley and is heated by volcanic activity in the area, which explains its average temperature of 75F (24C). Surrounded by majestic mountains, tea plantations, and local farms, Lake Kivu is popular for swimming, fishing, kayaking, windsurfing, and other water sports, as well as island hopping.

Lake Kivu Serena LodgeDeluxe

Lake Kivu, Rwanda

Serenely situated on the sandy shores of Lake Kivu, the sixth largest lake in Africa, the Lake Kivu Serena Hotel is an excellent stopover en route to or from trekking in Volcanoes National Park. Overlooking a private beach, all rooms offer balconies and extensive views of the lake. The hotel features a panoramic restaurant, a beachside bar, luxury swimming pool, and a fitness center. Activities available include relaxing in the spa, boating, swimming, beach volleyball, tennis, fishing, and hiking.

Nyungwe Forest National Park

In the southwest corner of Rwanda is the incredibly pristine mountain rainforest of Nyungwe Forest National Park. It's believed to be "one of Africa's oldest forests, staying green even through the Ice Age" - which may explain its spectacular biodiversity.

It is home to over 300 bird species, hundreds of orchids and butterfly species, and over 75 species of mammal, including 13 different primates like the Rwenzori Colobus Monkey and the Grey-Cheeked Mangabey. Popular activities include chimpanzee tracking, bird watching, canopy walking, and hiking along the 80+ miles of trails throughout Nyungwe Forest.

Nyungwe Forest LodgeDeluxe

Rwanda

The Nyungwe Lodge is a working tea plantation located on the edge of the Nyungwe National Park, which is a haven for primates. Designed to fit harmoniously within their natural surroundings, the 22 luxury rooms are split among six villas. Each room is equipped with ensuite bath, fireplace, and private decks offering views of the forested hills. In addition to an indoor lounge and outdoor boma for dining, there is a swimming pool, spa treatment rooms, Jacuzzi, and fitness center.

Volcanoes National Park

Just two hours from the capital city of Kigali is Volcanoes National Park (officially "Parc National de Volcans" or PNV for short). It's celebrated for its spectacular beauty, native wildlife like golden monkeys and forest elephants, sights like the Musanze Caves and the Iby'lwacu Cultural Village, and its six active and three extinct volcanoes.

Of course the main reason people come here is for the population of endangered mountain gorillas. They were made famous by the legendary gorilla advocate Dian Fossey, as depicted in the autobiographical movie Gorillas in the Mist, which was filmed throughout Volcanoes National Park. Be sure to visit the tomb of this extraordinary woman and one of the many conservation non-profit centers that are now based here.

Bisate LodgeLuxury

Rwanda

Intimate in scale, with just six sumptuous en-suite rooms, Bisate Lodge (opening June 2017) is located in the natural amphitheater of an eroded volcanic cone and boasts dramatic views of the peaks of Bisoke and Karisimbi, of nearby Volcanoes National Park. Located within easy driving distance of Park Headquarters, from where gorilla treks depart daily, the lodge is also a leader in biodiversity conservation efforts, as well as offering opportunities to engage and meet the local community.

Five Volcanoes Boutique HotelClassic

Musanze, Rwanda

Conveniently located on the road from Musanze (formerly Ruhengeri) to Volcanoes National Park, Five Volcanoes offers 11 double/twin rooms, a family suite, private cottage, restaurant, pool, and verdant gardens. Rooms are basic but comfortable, with standard amenities such as hairdryers, in-room coffee making supplies, mini-bar, and wifi.

Sabyinyo Silverback LodgeDeluxe

Rwanda

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is close to the entrance to Volcanoes National Park, an ideal jumping off point to experience one of the most thrilling wildlife encounters possible – tracking the magnificent Mountain Gorilla. Five cottages, two suites and one family cottage built of stone, feature large sitting areas, fireplaces, stylish ensuite bathrooms, and a sheltered veranda. The main lodge features a sitting room, dining room and bar, and library, all heated by the warm fires. Patio areas offer al fresco dining and dramatic views of the volcanoes.

Virunga LodgeDeluxe

Musanze, Rwanda

Situated overlooking the magnificent Virunga volcanoes and the shimmering twin lakes of Ruhondo and Burera, Virunga Lodge is an eco-lodge consisting of 10 elegant and comfortable stone and tile bandas set along the hillside and a main lodge. Each cottage offers a spacious bedroom area, ensuite bathroom, and private terrace featuring spectacular views of either the lakes or the Virungas.

What To
Expect

What To Expect

We Take Care of the Details

From providing accommodation options based on your budget, to recommendations for pre- or post-safari travels, assisting you with booking regional air, and meeting you at the airport when you arrive: Boundless Journeys can help you with each step in planning your custom safari. We will seamlessly guide you, so that you can simply relax and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime in Rwanda.

Gorilla Trekking

Mountain gorillas live at high altitude (approximately 8-10,000') in Volcanoes National Park. There are currently 10 habituated families, and each family can be visited by a maximum of eight visitors per day. Viewing time is limited to a maximum of one hour.

Gorilla trekking may involve walking long distances through thick vegetation, up steep, wet and muddy terrain that may cause difficulties for some visitors. We recommend you pace yourself; walk slowly and drink plenty of water. For a small fee, porters are available to help you carry your daypack.

Weather

With its relatively high altitude, Rwanda has a lovely tropical climate combined with its fair share of rain. The rainy season lasts from March to May, so the best time to visit is during the dry seasons from June to September and from December to February. (October and November is characterized by shorter periods of rain.)

In the capital city of Kigali, the average daily temperature is 75F year-round, while in other places of Rwanda the temperature can vary depending on the altitude.

You may obtain other regional weather information at www.weatherbase.com.

When to Reserve

Because the issuing of gorilla tracking permits in Rwanda is highly regulated, it is recommended that you plan your trip well in advance to ensure availability, especially if you want to go during the popular dry season. Contact Boundless Journeys and we'll be happy to start the planning for you.

Cuisine

The cuisine of Rwanda is based on the commonly available produce of subsistence farming; namely plantains, cassava, sweet potatoes, and the like. Chicken, freshwater fish (mostly tilapia), and to a lesser extent, beef and pork, are the main protein sources. Traditional dishes using these ingredients can be found on many menus, blended with international cuisine typically influenced by Indian, Italian, and Asian spices.

Vegetarians can be accommodated with advance notice, though choices tend to be more limited.

Guides

Featured Guides

About Our Guides

With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work—the mark of a truly great leader—our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own. Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.

Price on Request
Suggested: 6-10 Days
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