1 Night Kigali, Rwanda
2 Nights Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Arrive in Kigali, Rwanda
Today you will arrive into Kigali. Please note your international flight is not included in the cost of the program. Kigali is Rwanda’s capital City and stretches across undulating lush hills surrounded by towering mountains, the largest of which is Mount Kigali, rising over 6000 feet above sea level. Kigali is the country’s financial, commercial and cultural hub, served by an international airport and featuring a wide range of accommodation options, restaurants and points of interest, including the Kigali Genocide Center, an atmospheric market and numerous craft shops. With its interesting architecture, busy streets, meandering boulevards, and green hillsides, Kigali is said to be one of the most attractive cities in Africa.
At the airport you will be met by your driver and transferred the short distance to your hotel for the night, the Retreat. Town & Country and The New York Times both recently called The Retreat one of the top new hotels in the world. Fusion Restaurant and its Swahili-inspired bar, located at The Retreat, offer delicious farm-to-table international cuisine, while Heaven Restaurant (reached through the Retreat’s “Stairway to Heaven”) offers an innovative modern African menu. Today you can simply relax at the hotel and catch up on some rest or if you prefer spend a few hours exploring the main sites that Kigali has to offer.
Meals Included: None
From Kigali to Volcanoes National Park
This morning you will check out of your hotel and meet your driver. Together you will set off for the Volcanoes National Park! Bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo in Rwanda, the Volcanoes National Park is best known as a sanctuary for the region’s rare mountain gorillas. Visitors flock to this region to experience a face to face encounter with these incredible creatures. The park is set high on the jungle-covered slopes of the volcanic Virunga Mountains. Carefully regulated treks through the reserve allow visitors to spend an hour at a time with these incredible primates in their natural habitat. While the gorillas are without a doubt the main draw, visitors can also look forward to exploring a network of scenic hiking trails, visiting the grave of the world-famous Dian Fossey or enjoying a hike to the crater lake on Mount Bisoke.
Arriving at your lodge around 2 hours after departing Kigali you will have the opportunity to check in and relax into your lush surroundings. The beautiful Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge lies hidden among the foothills of the spectacular Virungas (a chain of volcanoes that lie in what is thought to be the heart of the legendary land of King Solomon’s mines). While tomorrow you will embark on your Gorilla trek you have the remainder of today to enjoy one of the other activities offered by the lodge. Surrounded by the tropical forests of Rwanda there are numerous fantastic hiking trails including one which takes you to see the elusive golden monkeys that are endemic to this region.
Meals Included: Full Board (including local beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks)
Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park
This morning you will rise just as the sun is peeking over the horizon and together with your guide you will make your way to the nearby ranger station. Here you will meet with the few other travelers who are embarking on today's journey and with everyone having arrived the local rangers will assign everyone into small groups of between 6 and 8. You will be assigned to a group of travelers with a similar fitness and ability level to your own and together you will set off into the jungle in search of these incredible creatures.
Along with a small team of porters who are on hand to assist with carrying any heavy items you may have ( think photographic equipment) you will scramble your way along the dense jungle paths as you move deeper into the tropical jungle. After anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on where the nearest troop is currently residing, you will stumble across what you have been searching for. Weighing up to 500 pounds these gentle giants will look at you with a slight hint of curiosity but will for the most part simply ignore you as they go about their day. You will have around an hour to sit quietly and observe the troop as they interact with one another and the young play all around you rambunctiously.
Following this magical experience you will then begin to make your way back down the mountainside. Arriving back at the ranger station you will enjoy a short transfer back to your lodge where you then have the remainder of your day at leisure.
Meals Included: Full Board (including local beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks)
Today you will say farewell to your lush mountain surroundings and having checked out of your lodge enjoy a scenic transfer back to Kigali International Airport. Here you will meet your onward flight home. Please note your international flight is not included in the cost of the program.
Meals Included: None
Please tell us your questions about A private Gorilla Trekking Experience through Rwanda and we'll be in touch to get the ball rolling!
An African safari is, for many people, a once in a lifetime trip and for that reason you will want to be sure the arrangements are flawless. A safari incorporates many different elements including airport arrival and departure services, transfers, light aircraft flights, the routing to remote lodges and the most knowledgeable local guides. Coordinating all these different services, often throughout multiple countries, languages and currencies can be daunting.
By going through an experienced safari company which has a wealth of local knowledge, local connections and years of experience in the region you can be sure you will be receiving the highest possible level of service before, during and after your travels. At the Exeter Safari Company we work with only the best guides, highest quality lodges at every price point, and the most reliable transportation providers in Africa. Our extensive experience and connections throughout the continent will ensure your trip goes off without a hitch.
In addition, you will enjoy the peace of mind knowing that you have access to 24/7 support both before your departure and during your time in Africa.
When deciding what clothing to pack for a safari trip your main priority is going to be comfort, coverage, durability and ease of packing. Keep in mind safaris often include light aircraft flights on to which normal hard sided suitcases are not allowed. You will therefore want to pack your clothing and other items into a soft sided duffel style travel bag (no larger than 24 inches long and 15 inches wide) that can be easily stored along with other travelers’ bags in the small luggage compartments on board. Note there is also a strict 15KG (33lbs) weight limit for your luggage.
Regardless of the time of year you are traveling, or the expected temperatures, you will want to be prepared for some cooler occasions. In order to find animals while they are at their most active, safari drives generally take place in the early morning and late afternoon/early evening. You will therefore often be out and about during the cooler parts of the day and this combined with sitting in the back of an open sided safari vehicle means it can get chilly - even in the middle of Summer. Accordingly, you will want to bring one or two light jackets, preferably that can be layered, so when it does start warming up you are able to shed layers and maintain a comfortable temperature.
It is also important where possible to wear long-sleeve shirts and pants to help with both sun and insect protection (fleece is great as insects can’t bite through it). Mosquitoes, Tsetse flies and other small flying insects can be bothersome during certain parts of your safari and preparing for them ahead of time will make your trip that much more pleasant. You will want to avoid bringing dark blue and black clothing as this color is known to attract certain flying insects such as Tsetse flies. You may also want leave behind your favorite white clothing as they can quickly become dirty from the dust in the air and climbing in and out of the safari vehicle. Last you will want to keep in mind you are trying to remain inconspicuous while on safari and so bright colors and loud prints should be avoided. Instead opt for more neutral tones in greens and browns that will help you blend into your surroundings.
When it comes to footwear you will again want to choose an option that covers as much of your bare skin as possible, think hiking boots or closed shoes with long socks rather than flip-flops or sandals. You will also be climbing in and out of vehicles and walking on uneven terrain that could have sharp rocks or thorns and so you will want footwear that is relatively durable. Your safari may include bush walks and so you will want to wear sturdy hiking boots on these occasions. Around the lodge area you will be able to wear more casual and lightweight footwear including flip flops or sandals, assuming you have bug-spray to stop any pesky mosquitoes that may be in the area. While in your rooms you will normally have mosquito nets over the bed area however you may still want to bring some full-length pajamas to ensure you have less skin exposed to any mosquitoes that did manage to sneak in.
The short answer is anytime! While there are better and worse times to be on safari throughout the various regions of Africa because the continent is so large and so diverse whenever you are looking to travel there will be a destination that is right for you.
Traditionally, the best time to go on safari is during the dry season that broadly runs from June through October, however this season does vary significantly depending where in Africa you are considering. During the dry season the vegetation is much less dense and because the grass is shorter it is much easier to track and locate wildlife. Additionally, when there is less rainfall there are fewer available water sources for wildlife to gather around. This results in the animals tending to congregate around the same lakes, pans and rivers which again makes for great game viewing (and leads to some interesting herbivore/predator encounters!).
Often during the wet season, also called the green season, when water sources are abundant, the wildlife tends to spread out over an enormous area. Many camps and lodges close during this time of year, often December through February as the dirt tracks that surround the lodges become impassable.
Another aspect to consider, especially if visiting East Africa, is the great migration. Please visit our page that explores this topic at length as it will give you a good idea as to where the migration is located at any particular time of year.
Yellow Fever is a disease found in many parts of sub-tropical Africa transmitted into humans through Mosquito bites. As it can be quite a serious illness it is essential you receive a yellow fever vaccination before embarking on a trip to an effected country.
The main safari destinations where Yellow Fever vaccinations are required are Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda and Rwanda. Other countries such as South Africa and Botswana require you to arrive with a yellow fever vaccination even if you have only transited through or visited a country where yellow fever exists within the past 6 months (keep in mind many of the countries on this list are in South America).
Check with your Exeter Safari Company expert for the specific requirements regarding the destinations included in your program. It is important to note the Yellow Fever vaccine requires 10 days before it becomes effective and so don’t leave it to the last minute!