Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Review
We had amazing experince with the mountain gorillas on our 5 day Rwanda gorilla and chimps safari adventure booked with African Jungle Adventures Limited (www.rwandasafarigorilla.com), a sister company to 4x4 Uganda Limited (www.4x4uganda.com), specialists in 4x4 rental cars in Uganda and Rwanda.
We arrived at Kigali Airport at 8:15am with Kenya Airways from Kilimanjaro. We met our tour guide from Africa Jungle waiting for us. We were welcomed and directly transferred to Nyungwe National Park, a home to 13 primate species. We had enroute visit to Nyanza kings palace, Rwanda National Museum in Huye and Murambi Genocide memorial site, then checked in Nyungwe Forest Lodge at 18:20 hours, we had dinner and overnight. By morning we were all awake for the chimpanzee tracking adventure. After heavy breakfast, we embarked on our 4x4 Land cruiser to the park headquarters for a briefing about chimps tracking.
With our rangers, we embarked on our vehicle to the base of Nyungwe National Park where the trek starts from. In the afternoon, we did golden monkey tracking.
Our day 3 started early with heavy breakfast, then drove to Cyangugu where we got a boat on Lake Kivu to Gisenyi. Our driver then had to drive with our luggage to Gisenyi by Road. It took him about 7 hours to reach Gisenyi. He found us already settled at the luxurious Lake Kivu Serena Hotel.
In the evening, our guide drove us the boarder of Democratic Republic of Congo at Goma though this was not part of the tour package!! We had a community walk to the Markets around DR Congo Boarder and interacted with the local community. We all loved the curtsey of Baker and African Jungle Adventures staff! We relaxed at the beach in the evening, dinner and overnight at Serena hotel.
Day 4 was for gorilla trekking adventure in Volcanoes National Park, a home for the world’s last remaining population of the endangered mountain gorillas. We started early (05:00 hrs) to drive the park from Gisenyi, arrived at Kinigi park headquarters by 06:30 hours for a briefing about the trek. We found other tourists around the area. We had more tea (free offered by at the head quarters). We were allocated into groups of 8 people and given rangers to lead us through the trek. We were assigned to Sabyinyo gorilla group! With our packed water and snacks, we enter the forest in accompany of rangers and porters.
Each of us was advised to hire a porter to assist us with our day packs containing items like packed lunch and water as well as camera gear. Porters are very important during the trek, assist to push or pull you when you get stuck in mud or along steep areas. Note that the mountain gorillas are found in highlands of Virunga mountains.
Porters were once poachers, and hiring them is direct creation of employment opportunities as well as contribution to mountain gorilla conservation. In other words, the local community understand the importance of the gorillas and their habitat when they earn a living through employment in tourism industry other than poaching and deforestation.
It took us 2 hours to reach Sabyinyo gorilla group, sight and stay was one hour, we took photos, videos and enjoyed mothers breast feeding, young ones swinging on trees! It was so amazing!! This was the highlight for our safari. We descended and went straight to Mountain gorilla view lodge, we had lunch and relaxed. In the evening, we had a community walk, we went to Musanze local market, interacted with many people, dinner and overnight at our lodge.
Day 5 marked the end of safari adventure in Rwanda. We had a brief visit to the beautiful Twin lakes of Burera and Ruhondo before continuing to Kigali genocide memorial museum, local markets in Kigali, lunch at hotel des Mille colline, later Baker dropped us at the Airport for our departure flight. It was such a sad moment to say bye bye to Baker and his country Rwanda. Next year but one, I want to come back but this time we shall connect to Uganda. I will have a Uganda Rwanda combined gorilla safari adventure!
Our next destination was Tanzania mainly to explore Serengeti National Park, Olduvai Gorge and Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area. There is a lot of wildlife and beautiful scenery in these areas. Our trip in Africa ended in Zanzibar with 3 nights at the beach. I advise every one visiting Africa never to miss mountain gorilla tracking experience in Rwanda or Uganda. Or if you visit Kenya or Tanzania, you can easily connect to Rwanda by Kenya Air ways (KQ) or RwandAir for at least a short gorilla tour for 2 days / 1 night. There are daily flights connecting the 2 countries for less than US$300 per person, a round trip.