Come Visit the Gorillas of Rwanda (Best Itinerary, Map & Tips)

Come Visit the Gorillas of Rwanda: The Perfect 8 Days In Rwanda Itinerary. Spend three days trekking in Volcanoes National Park and two days exploring Kigali to see mountain gorillas and learn about Rwandan culture.

Come Visit the Gorillas of Rwanda: A Detailed Rwanda Journey for 8 Days. Participants should be in good physical shape and able to walk or hike for several hours on and off rough woodland trails that may be wet or muddy to get the most out of the program. Day hikes will cover three to six miles with significant elevation gain, while canoe trips will cover five to six kilometers with a brief portion of Class II rapids. You may read detailed explanations of each day’s events at the bottom of the corresponding itinerary page. Find out more about the exercise regimens of Active Journeys here.


Gorilla Trekking Rwanda – Meeting silverback Agashya

Visit the Gorillas of Rwanda: Itinerary Highlights

Visit the verdant Rwandan volcanoes for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Spend three days trekking through Volcanoes National Park with knowledgeable guides, tracking endangered gorilla families and searching for rare golden monkeys. Discover the legacy of Dian Fossey’s 18 years of gorilla research by hiking to her tomb and the place where she conducted her studies. Get to know the hardy people of Rwanda and their culture as you canoe by rural farming towns and sample local fare, listen to testimonies from genocide survivors, and have lunch with the remarkable women of Kigali’s Nyamirambo district. Then, on an extra day, you can go on a safari in Kenya to round up your trip.

With Optional Kenya Safari Extension

Highlights Include:

  • Kigali: Learn about the transformation of this warm and welcoming capital city since the tragedies of the 1990s, and take part in the city’s exciting future. Take a guided tour of the Kigali Genocide Memorial and the uplifting Nyamirambo Women’s Center to hear the stories of survivors. Enjoy a neighborhood walking tour and a home-cooked lunch with a local family.
  • Mukungwa River Canoe Excursion: Paddling the Mukungwa River, which flows through floodplains south of Volcanoes National Park, provides a unique vantage point of the Rwandan countryside. Observe locals going about their day and a wide variety of birds around the river.
  • Volcanoes National Park: Enjoy the park’s five volcanic peaks from the comfort of your room at a hotel on the park’s outskirts. Spend three days hiking around the park, stopping at the tomb of the fearless gorilla researcher and visiting her old camp along the Dian Fossey trail.
  • Mountain Gorillas: Trek through the dense forests of Volcanoes National Park with a park ranger to locate a family of mountain gorillas. When you do, you’ll have the chance of a lifetime to observe these docile giants in their natural habitat, sitting comfortably among them. Listen to a park ranger talk later about the rescue and rehabilitation of these animals.
  • Golden Monkeys: Embark on a guided trek through the bamboo groves, keeping an eye out for the native golden monkeys. Observe them for a while as they swing through the trees and argue with one another.
  • Optional Kenya Safari Extension: Spend a week exploring the wilds of Kenya and get up close and personal with an abundance of different species. Cruise Lake Navaisha to Crescent Island, where you can go on a walking safari after seeing a famous elephant orphanage in Nairobi. See the geysers of Hell’s Gate National Park and go on safari in the Masai Mara for two days.

Detailed Itinerary: Visit the Gorillas of Rwanda

Days 1 – 2: Depart Home / Arrive in Kigali, Rwanda

You will arrive in Kigali after an overnight trip and be taken to your accommodation. After you’ve had some time to settle in, it’s time to meet your other passengers and the trip leader for a brief briefing and a supper. (D)

Accommodation:  Kigali Serena Hotel

Day 3: Kigali


Rwandan Genocide: Prince Charles visits memorial to 45,000 victims

Get out there and explore this global metropolis and its inspiring tales of rebirth first thing in the morning. Start off your tour of Rwanda with a visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial, a somber memorial to the victims of the 1994 genocide that encourages healing and forgiveness in the hopes of preventing similar tragedies in the future. Hear the uplifting accounts of those who have overcome great odds, and of the country’s unrelenting attempts to rebuild. The majority of the tour guides are also genocide survivors. Visit the Nyamirambo Women’s Center to learn more about their programs for empowering local women. Join a local guide for a stroll around the exciting streets of Nyamirambo. Visit some of the shops in the area, like a women’s barbershop and a well-known tailoring establishment. You can see Kigali’s mosques from a family compound, where you can also try your hand at pounding cassava leaves to make a traditional dish. Finish out the trip with a home-cooked supper cooked by a local woman working on the community initiative. Spend some quality time together relaxing in the afternoon before tonight’s dinner. (B,L,D)

Walking: 4-5 hours, museum visit and afternoon community walking tour, city streets with uneven and variable incline.

Accommodation:  Kigali Serena Hotel

Day 4: Volcanoes National Park

After breakfast, set out from Kigali for the northbound drive through the rolling green hills to Volcanoes National Park. About half of the world’s mountain gorilla population resides in this park, which is located in the Virunga Mountains. Upon checking in, have lunch at the hotel before setting out on a canoe trip along the Mukungwa River with a local guide. This tranquil river meanders over a flood plain between the hills, providing a picturesque glimpse into rural Rwandan life as it flows past papyrus groves and farming communities. Kingfishers, weavers, spoonbills, painted storks, and crowned cranes are just a few of the over 40 bird species that call this area home. The final section of the paddle is the most exciting, since it includes a section of Class II rapids. Get back to the hotel and relax until it’s time to go out to dinner together. (B,L,D)

Canoeing: 5-6 miles, calm river with short section of Class II rapid.

Accommodation: Virunga Inn Resort and Spa

Day 5: Volcanoes National Park

Get up bright and early to begin your gorilla hike at Volcanoes National Park. Several groups, or “troops,” of mountain gorillas call this series of five cone-shaped mountains covered in thick foliage home. Hike on paths previously trodden by elephants and buffaloes with the help of official park rangers and locate one of these herds. Trek for three to six hours and go to altitudes of up to 8,000 feet to find the gorillas, depending on their daily movements. You can hire porters to help you with the heavy lifting along the trail.

Once you locate the gorillas, you will have the opportunity to spend one unforgettable hour sitting quietly among them, learning about their daily routines and social dynamics as you watch them feed, groom, and play. Return to the starting point of the hike and have lunch at the hotel. The park warden will give a discussion on the terrace in the early evening. Marvel at the magnificent volcanoes as you learn about the recent rise in the number of mountain gorillas and the efforts being made on a global and local level to conserve them. Make plans to eat tonight. (B,L,D)

Hiking: 3-6 miles (3 to 6 hours) on and off rugged forest trails that may be wet or muddy, steep ascents and descents at elevations up to 8,000 feet.

Accommodation: Virunga Inn Resort and Spa

Day 6: Volcanoes National Park


Hiking: Dian Fossey ⛰ Rwanda, Africa 🌍

Get up bright and early today to make the return trip to the park and the 4×4 ride to the Dian Fossey hike’s starting point. Find out more about the life and accomplishments of this trailblazing scientist who spent 18 years living with and studying the gorillas. The trail winds through verdant ridges, so keep your eyes peeled for wildlife including monkeys, rhesus monkeys, otters, and even forest elephants and hogs. Continue on to the first study site in Karisoke after paying your respects at Fossey’s grave, where she was buried next to her “beloved Digit,” a silverback she habituated for ten years. You can spend the morning relaxing, or you can embark on a second gorilla walk (for a fee*). We’ll have lunch together in the hotel, and then you can take a stroll through the gardens or unwind in the sauna and whirlpool at your leisure this afternoon. (B,L,D)

Hiking: 4 miles (3-4 hours) on rugged, muddy, forest trails; steep ascents and descents at elevations up to 9,000 feet.

Accommodation: Virunga Inn Resort and Spa

Day 7: Volcanoes National Park / Kigali

Focus on the golden monkey on your final morning hike in Volcanoes National Park. With a guide, explore dense bamboo forests in search of these lively and inquisitive animals, who can often be heard chatting loudly from high in the trees. An entire hour will pass as you watch them play, eat, and interact among the tree’s limbs. These habituated battalions can have anything from 20 to 80 members, in contrast to the limited family clans of the mountain gorilla.

After lunch, you’ll hit the road for Kigali, stopping along the way to take in more of Rwanda’s breathtaking “land of a thousand hills.” Enjoy a goodbye meal of East African dishes as you toast your gorilla trekking adventure at a local eatery. (B,L,D)

Hiking: 2–3 miles, on moderate forest trails with some ascents and descents at elevations up to 8,000 feet.

Accommodation:  Kigali Serena Hotel

Day 8: Return Home

You will be transferred to the airport for your trip home or onto to Kenya for an optional wildlife safari once your tour concludes. (B)

*Please note: If you wish to take a second gorilla trek, please advise your trip specialist once your initial reservation has been made. An additional, non-refundable deposit of $1,500 is required. Subject to availability.

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D)

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