8 Days Rwanda primate and Congo lowland gorilla safari brings you some of the most interesting areas of the Great Lakes Region. In Huye you will be in contact with the country’s history and you will visit the lush rainforest of Nyungwe National Park with its unique primates, and the endangered mountain gorillas in the dramatic Volcanoes National Park.

Congo is opening slowly to tourism again, and trekking to the rare Eastern Lowland Gorillas in the tropical forest of Kahuzi-Biega National Park is a must. The rugged shores of Lake Kivu and the spectacular Virunga range belong to some of the extraordinary landscapes of this big country.

Detailed tour plan

Day 1 – Arrival at Kigali International airport and transfer to Butare/Huye

Meet on arrival at the airport. Transfer to Kigali. After lunch, drive toward Muhanga, with spectacular views along the way. The countryside is a patchwork of green. From the bluish green of the eucalyptus trees planted on the hilltops to the dark green of the cypresses lining the narrow tracks, to the soft green of the rice fields in the valleys. The inhabitants, mainly Hutu of Bantu origin with a Nilotic Tutsi minority, have after years of terrible problems, once again begun to appreciate the benefits of peace. A temperate climate explains the extraordinary diversity of farming: coffee, tobacco, sorghum, potatoes, and bananas. Arrive at Butare.

Overnight in Huye

Day 2 – Transfer from Huye to Nyungwe forest for a forest walk at Uwinka and proceed to Gisakura

Early breakfast. Continue to the Nyungwe forest. Covering 970 km², the Highlands provide a unique habitat for thirteen species of primate, including chimpanzees, l’Hoest’s, colobus monkeys and owl-faced monkey. Go for a forest walk to search for colobus monkeys, a large group of which can often be seen feeding on wild figs and jumping from branch to branch. The high altitude jungle floor boasts some of the most beautiful orchids in the world.

Overnight in Nyungwe National Park

Day 3 – Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe forest and transfer to Bukavu

Enjoy chimpanzee tracking under the canopy of majestic trees. Chimpanzees (pan troglodyte Schweinfurt) are considered great apes, just like gorillas. Spending much time on the ground they also stand on two legs and walk this way for short distances. They climb trees in pursuit of food and for nesting. Depending on the season, the steep slopes with thick vegetation can be wet. Chimps are far more mobile and elusive than gorillas. You may need 3 to 4 hours to approach this often exuberant primate. After lunch drive through extensive tea plantations to Cyangugu, a small harbour on Lake Kivu and cross Rusizi River to Bukavu in the DR-Congo.

Overnight in Bukavu

Day 4 – Lowland Eastern Gorilla trekking in Kahuzi Biega national park

The Kahuzi-Biega National Park is a World Heritage site. A vast area of primary tropical forest dominated by two spectacular extinct volcanoes, Kahuzi and Biega , the park has a diverse and abundant fauna. Some of the last groups of eastern lowland gorillas consisting of only some 7,000 individuals, live here at between 2100 and 2400 m above the sea-level. They have black coats, and the males develop silver backs as they mature. With the help of a ranger and trackers, we approach this rare primate. The walk can take several hours, but coming across the group in its particular habitat is an inspiring moment.
Overnight in Bukavu

Day 5 – Transfer from Lake Kivu in Rwanda to Goma in DRC

The 2 busy ports of Bukavu and Goma are connected by a wild roller-coaster road that tumbles through lush plantain fields and relic patches of misty rainforest to offer sweeping views over hundreds of small islands. On the way to the north, enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the calm and pristine waters and the ragged shore of Lake Kivu, Albertine Rift Valley’s highest lake and an extraordinarily beautiful island sea enclosed by steep green terraced hills. A more leisurely option is to take a speed boat plying daily between Bukavu and Goma.

Overnight in Goma

Day 6 – Transfer from Goma in Congo to Kinigi in Rwanda

After several relaxing hours spent enjoying the clear waters of Lake Kivu, we set out on a boat to discover the beauty of the little bay and neighbouring islands before returning to Rwanda. The good tarmac road, which winds through the luxuriant vegetation of the banana and coffee plantations, takes us to Kinigi, at the entrance to the Volcanoes National Park.

Overnight near to the Volcanoes National Park

Day 7– Mountain gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park

As the first light of dawn breaks through the curtain of mist clinging to the summits of Karisimbi, Bisoke, Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura, we make our way into the Volcanoes National Park. Tracking the gorillas through the unique vegetation can take several hours of challenging walking in wet and muddy conditions. To see a gorilla, the trek will have been worth the hardship.

Overnight near to the Volcanoes National Park

Day 8 – Transfer from Kinigi to Kigali for departure

After a last look at the magnificent volcano range and Lake Ruhondo.

Drive to Kigali and transfer to the airport.

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