- Group size is limited to 16 individuals
- For each participant a donation will be made to the Mountain Gorilla
- Veterinary Project to continue the important task of providing preventive and emergency health care to these critically endangered creatures
- We will donate to the important work of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project
- We will employ local people
- We will use locally owned and operated lodges and outfitters
- We will use local goods and services.
This is a unique adventure indeed. We will visit Rwanda, home to the critically endangered Mountain Gorilla, where we shall twice track these gentle giants. The Mountain Gorillas inhabit some of the most spectacular scenery on earth, high on the flanks of the Virunga Volcanoes. We will also take the opportunity to visit the grave of famed primatologist Dian Fossey, who dedicated her life to the conservation and protection of these animals. A veterinarian from the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project will join us during this eco-tour, and will detail some of the threats facing these incredible animals.
Day 1, Friday, evening: Depart USA for Europe. Late afternoon flights leave home headed for Rwanda, via Brussels, Amsterdam or London. Meals aloft. Meals included: (D).
Day 2, Saturday: Europe to Kigali, Rwanda. After our overnight flight we can enjoy some time at leisure in Amsterdam, London or Brussels. We then board our flight headed for Rwanda. (If you choose to arrive into Rwanda on Saturday you will be met upon arrival at the International Airport and transferred to the Kigali Serena Hotel - included - and can relax for the night). Meals aloft, or overnight in Kigali Serena Hotel. Meals included: (B), (D).
Day 3, Sunday: Akagera National Park, Rwanda. Today we are either met on arrival at the International Airport, or at the Kigali Serena Hotel, and depart for Akagera National Park in the east of Rwanda bordering Tanzania. This is just a two-hour drive and we should be at the Lodge in time for lunch. We can clean-up, settle into our rooms, relax poolside and late this afternoon we should have chance for a "Game Drive" before sunset. Welcome dinner and orientation at the Lodge this evening. Overnight at Akagera Lodge. Meals included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4, Monday: Akagera National Park. An early morning game drive in the Park should reward us the chance to see a variety of birds, elephant, hippo, giraffe, spotted hyena, buffalo and crocodiles. We return to the Lodge in time for lunch, and then we shall plan on a short siesta. Later this afternoon we may enjoy a canoe ride on Lake Ihema, which is very rewarding for seeing the large number of hippo, the huge Nile crocodile and many birds, or we can choose to go on another game drive. Dinner at the Lodge this evening. Overnight at Akagera Lodge. Meals included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5, Tuesday: Akagera National Park to Volcanoes National Park. An early start this morning as we head towards Kinigi in the north-west of the country. Along the way we will stop for lunch in Kigali, and shall visit the Genocide Memorial, where we shall hear stories of survival and the heart-warming stories of recovery and rebuilding hope. The journey north goes through the beautiful terraced hillsides that characterize much of Rwanda's landscape, gradually climbing to the base of the awesome volcanoes, sometimes with as many as five peaks visible. We settle in this evening at our base for the next four nights, the dramatically located Virunga Lodge, overlooking the lakes of Bulera and Ruhondo. This evening we meet one of the Veterinarians from the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, and hear about their ongoing efforts to protect the Mountain Gorillas. They will join us for cocktails and dinner, and will share with us some of the stories, challenges, and successes of their important work. Overnight at Virunga Lodge. Meals included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6, Wednesday: Gorilla Trek, Volcanoes National Park. Today we take our first Gorilla trek. We will arise early this morning and drive the short distance to the headquarters of Volcanoes National Park where we shall meet our trackers and head up the slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes. We may visit one of the five habituated groups. No more than EIGHT people may visit any group on any given day, so we can rely on having an intimate experience with our group, whichever group we visit. The trek can be quite strenuous, so you should be able to hike for two or three hours on steep mountain trails. Overnight at Virunga Lodge. Meals included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7, Thursday: Dian Fossey Grave, former-Karisoke Research Center, Volcanoes National Park. Today we can visit the grave of Dian Fossey, located next to that of Digit her long-time favorite Gorilla. The grave site is located at the former Karisoke Research Center where Dian spent some twenty years studying the Mountain Gorillas, and the trek to the site is quite spectacular, passing through bamboo forest and afro-montane habitats - indeed the trails are criss-crossed with the tracks of forest buffalo and elephant! We may see all manner of wildlife as we make our way up and down to Karisoke, nestled between the volcanic peaks of Karismbi and Visoke. Alternatively we can relax at the lodge today, visit some of the local villages, or perhaps trek to see the endangered Golden Monkeys that also make this area home. Overnight at Virunga Lodge. Meals included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8, Friday: Second Gorilla Trek, Volcanoes National Park. Today is our second chance to go trek the Mountain Gorillas, and we now know what to expect! We should be able to visit a different Gorilla group than our first visit; indeed, the more athletic of us may even try to visit the Susa group which usually requires the longest and most challenging trek. After returning today we may have time to visit the local market or perhaps the lake. Farewell Dinner tonight with the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project Field Staff. Overnight at Virunga Lodge. Meals included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9, Saturday: Virunga Lodge to Kigali, Rwanda. A nice relaxed final morning, when we can just soak in the ambiance of this very special place, reflect back upon the adventures of our past week, and pack. Depending on our flight schedules we may have lunch at the Lodge then depart for Kigali and our return flight home. Meals included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10, Sunday: Flights home. We arrive back home, with all meals aloft today. Meals included: (B), (L), (D).
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