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6 Day Gorilla Safari

Virunga and Gahinga Safari

Our six-day gorilla safari to Virunga Lodge, Rwanda and Mount Gahinga Lodge, Uganda, offers the opportunity to experience ancient Batwa culture, hike a volcano, see the rare golden monkeys, and track the majestic mountain gorillas in both Rwanda and Uganda.

This safari starts and finishes in Kigali, Rwanda, from where you will drive to Mount Gahinga Lodge, nestled in the Uganda foothills of the Virunga volcanoes. After two nights at Mount Gahinga Lodge you will set off for the magnificent Virunga Lodge in Rwanda, which is perched high on a ridge and has stunning views of the Virunga volcanoes and lakes Bulera and Ruhonda.

Highlights

Gorilla tracking in Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda

Golden monkey tracking in Mgahinga, Uganda

Gahinga Batwa Village visit

Intore dance group performance at Virunga Lodge

Batwa heritage experience

Kigali Genocide Memorial & city tour

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Lodges

Aerial photo of Volcanoes Safaris Virunga Lodge
The Original Gorilla Experience
Rwanda
Aerial photo of Volcanoes Safaris Mount Gahinga Lodge
The Batwa Culture and Gorilla Lodge
Uganda
Aerial photo of Volcanoes Safari Bwindi Lodge
The Jungle Gorilla Lodge
Uganda
Aerial photo of Volcanoes Safaris Kyambura Lodge
The Chimpanzee and Wildlife Lodge
Uganda

Booking Enquiry

To make a booking, please complete this form or click here to chat to one of our sales consultants via our live chat. Alternatively, send us an email on enquiries@volcanoessafaris.com.
ML Golden Monkey

Safari Itinerary

6 Day Gorilla Safari: Virunga and Gahinga

ML Golden Monkey

Day 1

Arriving in Kigali you will be welcomed by your expert Volcanoes Safaris guide who will provide knowledge and assistance throughout your safari. Set off for Mount Gahinga Lodge and cross the border into Uganda. Enjoy pre-dinner cocktails on the terrace with stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes or warm yourself inside by the cosy fire.

Driving time approximately 4 to 5 hours

Please book flights arriving no later than 10:00am.

Overnight at Mount Gahinga Lodge (lunch, dinner). 

Day 2

After enjoying an early breakfast, you set off gorilla tracking. Trekking through the steep, densely forested hills and then finally coming across the gorillas camouflaged in the vegetation is an inspiring and privileged moment. 

After a climb of between one and three hours the moment you find the gorillas camouflaged in the vegetation is an inspiring and privileged one. You will spend one hour in the company of the majestic and gentle mountain gorillas before returning to the lodge in time for a late lunch. 

Gorilla trekking requires stamina and can sometimes take a full day, especially if it is wet and muddy.

Overnight at Mount Gahinga Lodge (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Day 3

Visit the Gahinga Batwa Village and experience the culture and history of one of Africa’s oldest tribes. You will visit their new village and community centre and will participate in the Batwa Heritage Trail to gain insight into their traditional life as hunter-gatherers in the forest and their use of medicinal plants.

Enjoy seeing the Batwa Dance Group perform their traditional dance and visit the Batwa Vocational Center. 

Return to the lodge and after lunch drive across the border into Rwanda. The magnificent Virunga Lodge is perched on the top of a hill with panoramic views of the chain of volcanoes and Lakes Bulera and Ruhondo. From the terrace you can take in the sunset over the lakes and enjoy an exhilarating performance from the colourful Intore Dance troupe that showcases the unique Rwandese culture.

Driving time approximately 2.5 hours.

Overnight at Virunga Lodge (breakfast, lunch and dinner). 

Day 4

Wake up early and have breakfast before setting off for gorilla tracking in Parc National des Volcans. Hike through the enchanting bamboo forest on the slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes. After a climb of between one and three hours, you will spend one hour in the company of the majestic and gentle mountain gorillas before returning to the lodge in time for a late lunch. Some gorilla families can be more elusive, and tracking can take a full day, especially if it is wet and muddy.

Overnight at Virunga Lodge (breakfast, lunch and dinner).

Day 5

Choose from one of the optional activities:

  • Go for a second gorilla trek (additional permits required).
  • Trek the endangered and rare golden monkey.
  • Trek to the grave of pioneer primatologist Dian Fossey and visit the gorilla cemetery, the final resting place of some of her favorite gorillas.
  • Visit the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, near Kinigi.
  • Take a guided birding and community walk to Lake Bulera, to experience village life.

Overnight at Virunga Lodge (breakfast, lunch and dinner).

Day 6

Leave Virunga Lodge and drive to Kigali, and time permitting, enjoy a city tour and a visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial.

A visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial is a moving testimony to this country’s past that it has courageously overcome (guests to pay/donate entrance fees directly).

Transfer to the airport in time for your return flight.

(breakfast, lunch)

Driving time approximately 3 hours.

Gorilla

6 Day Gorilla Safari: Virunga and Gahinga: Safari Activities

Gorilla Tracking

Gorilla

Tracking mountain gorillas through the dense African forests is a magical experience. Only eight visitors are allowed per gorilla group each day, and to minimize possible transmission of human diseases, visitors are asked to maintain a distance of 10m from the gorillas. Typically, tracking can take from 3 to 8 hours and requires some agility and fitness; however, all fitness levels can be accommodated and no one should feel deterred from missing this once in a lifetime experience.

ML Golden Monkey

6 Day Gorilla Safari: Virunga and Gahinga: Safari Activities

Golden Monkey Tracking

ML Golden Monkey

With only a small number remaining in the world, the Golden Monkey can be found in the foothills of the volcanic mountains of Mgahinga National Park in Uganda and in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Characterized by its bright golden body, cheeks and tail, with contrasting black limbs, crown and tail end, these playful primates are a pleasure to watch. Whether you choose to do this on the Rwandan or Ugandan side, the walk will take you from the bamboo stands and forested gorge on the lower levels of the volcanoes, to the elevated heath and moorland higher up.

6 Day Gorilla Safari: Virunga and Gahinga: Safari Activities

Hike the Kisozi Caldera

Located less than a kilometer from Mount Gahinga Lodge, the Kisozi Caldera is an easy to moderate hike to the top of a small hill where the caldera sweeps from corner to corner. A caldera is formed by volcanic eruptions, and many dot the stunning landscape of this volcanic region.

Sinamatella Rwanda Virunga Volcano View

6 Day Gorilla Safari: Virunga and Gahinga: Safari Activities

Climb A Volcano

Sinamatella Rwanda Virunga Volcano View

Guests staying at Virunga Lodge or Gahinga Lodge have easy access to the Virunga chain of volcanoes, which offer challenging hikes and stunning panoramas. The three most popular volcanoes to climb are Mt. Gahinga, Mt. Sabyinyo, and Mt. Muhavura. These hikes are of varying difficulty and typically take a full day. The treks starts at 7:00am from the park headquarters, from where visitors drive to the base of the volcano.

Dian Fossey Digit

6 Day Gorilla Safari: Virunga and Gahinga: Safari Activities

Visit Dian Fossey's Grave

Dian Fossey Digit

Located in a beautiful meadow nestled between the Karisimbi and Visoke volcanoes are the graves of Dian Fossey and some of her beloved research gorillas. For anyone interested in gorilla conservation in Rwanda, or interested in Fossey’s personal story, the trek to her grave is highly recommended. This trek starts early in the morning, can take 6-8 hours and is operated by the National Park.

6 Day Gorilla Safari: Virunga and Gahinga: Safari Activities

Lake Bulera Village Walk

On a free afternoon at Virunga Lodge we recommend taking advantage of the lodge’s unique position by meandering down the mountain slope, through local villages, and to Lake Bulera, which sits at its foot. Passing through the local communities offers a colorful peek into village life and opportunities to visit local schools and a community library.

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