In 1967, a young American scientist began a journey that would illustrate how much one person can do to change the world. Her name is Dian Fossey. She is a conservation heroine whose pioneering work researching Mountain Gorillas helped changed their image as brute beasts, and launched an international campaign to save the Mountain Gorilla from certain extinction.

Thanks to her work, Mountain Gorillas have survived decades of violent conflict even after her murder in 1985, and many conservationists believe that her prolonged presence in the Virungas played a large part in this. This 5 day safari gives you the opportunity to walk where Dian Fossey walked, see the places she worked and lived in, and meet the gentle, giant apes that inspired one woman onto a solitary path to change the world.

DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION Kigali
DEPARTURE TIME 0900hrs
INCLUDED
Park Entry Fees Full board accommodations
Ground transport Professional safari specialist
NOT INCLUDED
Airfares
Guide gratuity

Caution: Proper hiking attire must be worn – you will be trekking in a rain forest with lots of vegetation, undergrowth, nettles and normally a rather muddy terrain. Only 1 hour is spent with the Gorillas to ensure their protection and conservation. Please note that if you are unwell with anything contagious, even a common cold, you may be denied any of the treks to ensure the safety of these creatures. The park regulation and trekking permit regulations will not be refunded if you are denied entrance due to illness.

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Day 1: Arrival at Kigali International Airport & welcome meeting

Upon the time you arrive, take some time to explore the city, this ultramodern metropolis city that boasts recognizable social, economic and environmental successes. It is a city under construction, in which buildings are fast replacing outdated ones. Tared, dual – carriage roads crisscross Kigali, providing a seamless connection between urban settlements and the fog – covered countryside uplands. The city is a preferred destination for many travelers and organizers of international conferences. The city also boasts of pretty good and safe walking lanes at any time of the day.

We will have a welcome meeting 1800hrs from our safari specialist to review details of the trip.

Optional activities

  • Kigali city tour
  • Nyamirambo women’s center (local lunch & community walk)
  • Kigali genocide memorial visit

Meals: No meals

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Day 2: Drive to Musanze & visit Karisoke Resarch Centre – Volcanoes National Park

The tour begins in Kigali in the morning at 0900hrs as we embark on a your drive to Musanze town. Musanze town is the second largest in Rwanda which encompasses the Volcanoes National park. Check into your hotel and after lunch you will visit the Karisoke Research center which was founded by Dr. Dian Fossey in 1967. Here at the museum, we shall learn more about the ongoing work in the protection of the Mountain Gorillas, In the evening, expand your understanding of the Gorillas through an in depth lecture from one of the head wardens of Volcanoes National Park.

Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

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Day 3: Golden Monkey tracking & visit the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village – Volcanoes National Park

Enjoy a trek into the National Park with the park guides to view a unique and endangered species, the “Golden Monkeys”. Watch these playful and lively creatures in their natural habitat. It is only in Rwanda where this interesting species has been successfully habituated.

“Golden Monkeys” normally and mainly live in the lower parts of the bamboo forest, they are not so socially “tight” as the Gorillas and Chimpanzees and the number in the habituated group can vary on a given day between 20 and up to 80. The species are lively, curious and “chattery” – and with a bit of luck you may have a close encounter with them – although they are also often seen high up in the trees.

After the trek, you will drive to the Iby’ Iwacu cultural Village where people, nature and culture come together. Works put together by a warden to reform ex poachers and also offer them a lively hood, you will have lunch too at this place.

Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

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Day 4: Volcanoes National Park— Dian Fossey Tomb Hike & Karisoke

After an early morning cup of coffee, you will be up for a challenge to hike the Dian Fossey trail. The hike is usually muddy hence strong waterproof boots with good traction are needed and also the need to use walking sticks.

At the site you will find the house where Dian Fossey was mysteriously murdered, the grave site where she was buried near Digit, her favorite gorilla. You will also see places where she worked, Fossey’s old living Quarters which are now in ruins and several other landmarks in the camp which are signposted.  The hike is an incredible experience physically, emotionally and intellectually. It is also inspiring to learn about someone who was so dedicated and left a legacy that exists even today.

After, visit the Karisoke Research Center, which was founded by Dr. Dian Fossey in 1967. Meet with a resident researcher and enjoy a tour to learn about their ongoing work in the protection of mountain gorillas.

Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

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Day 5: Volcanoes National Park— Gorilla Experience

Depart early and transfer to the National park to meet the Gorilla tracker/guide for orientation. Embark on the trek which can vary in length and difficulty, depending on the location of the gorilla family you will visit. Spend one hour observing these beautiful and endangered creatures, a truly privileged experience. Trek back to the lodge with the rest of the day at leisure or opt for Kigali city tour.

Approximately 1000 Mountain Gorillas today exist in the world in the wild. They are found in three different locations in DRC, Rwanda & Uganda. In DRC and Rwanda, Gorillas live in similar eco systems / areas. The Gorilla species found in these three areas are called the “Highland Gorillas”, the Latin name is “Gorilla Berengei” named after the first European person to see and encounter a Mountain Gorilla.

In Rwanda, there are twelve habituated gorilla families that are open to visit – the visit to a gorilla family is done once per day and the duration to visit is limited to only one hour with the gorilla family. The time spent with them is limited due to conservation considerations and to minimize impact the day-to-day life of the gorilla family you are visiting.

It is important to be well prepared to trek – you never know if your total trek will be “short” or “long”. The total duration of trek can vary and be anything between 3 & 9 hours in length depending on the location of the gorillas, who are constantly moving. Proper hiking attire must be worn – you will be trekking in rain forest with lots of vegetation, undergrowth, nestles and normally a rather muddy terrain. You mainly walk where there are no paths apart from the occasional buffalo or elephant trails.  After the trek, drive back to your lodge for late lunch and probably a much appreciated shower.

Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

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Day 6: Departure

After morning breakfast, you will be transferred to Kigali for your departure.

Meals: Breakfast

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