Look into the eyes of a gorilla and you’ll see a reflection of yourself.
With only around 880 mountain gorillas remaining, these incredible mammals are critically endangered and rank as one of the world’s 20 most-endangered species.
We know that Africa will creep into your heart. That’s why we offer break-away trips to Tanzania, or Kenya, or both. Tanzania and Kenya are where you’ll find the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem – one of the largest and most protected ecosystems on the globe. Home to many endangered species, it is famous for its biodiversity and beauty.
MUST SEE, MUST DO: TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
Trekking with the gorillas: Volcanoes National Park (Parc National De Volcans)
This is undoubtedly the primary reason many people will want to be part of this tour. Life-changing, scenic and educational, it will be an experience you’ll never forget.
Ongoing research and conservation efforts are making a positive impact on the Mountain gorilla population and their welfare and existence is fiercely protected. Exposure to humans is restricted to one hour per day to reduce the likelihood of the gorillas contracting human diseases and illnesses – a prospect that could be fatal for these primates.
Although your time with the gorillas is limited to one hour per day, Volcanoes National Park is rich with other species, such as the endangered Golden Monkey and the black and white Colobus monkey.
Depending on availability and the size of the group, your time in Virunga National Park will be spent at Bisate Lodge, Singita Kwitonda, One& Only Gorillas Nest, Sabyinyo or Virunga Lodge.
Located at the base of Lake Kivu in South Western Rwanda, the emerald green paradise that is Nyungwe Forest lies nestled within tea plantations and is home to over 1000 species of wildlife.
Spanning over1000km2 this rainforest is home to over 300 species of birds and 75 species of mammals.
The Nyungwe Forest Canopy Walk
Suspended around 50 metres above the ground, this 200m-walkway offers birds-eye views over the forest and a unique vantage point from where you can observe the abundant wildlife and birdlife.
Tea Plantations and Tea Factory
Tea plantations – where green becomes gold. A visit to the tea factory will give you a fresh appreciation for the world’s most-drunk beverage. We should mention that we also organise for you to go into the tea-plantations to harvest. It’s a lot of fun. You carry a basket on your back and then you’re shown how to pick leaves and taught all about the tea industry.
Chimpanzee Trekking (Nyungwe Forest)
A population of around 500 chimpanzees inhabit Nyungwe Forest. Chimpanzees are our closest living relative in the animal kingdom and, like gorillas, share 99% of our DNA. Prepare to be delighted and enthralled when you observe them in their natural habitat.
Nature walks to observe the abundant Colobus Monkeys (One&Only Nyungwe House)
Nyungwe Forest is also home to the black and white naturalised Angolan Colobus monkey. Well adapted to swing between branches of the canopy, these acrobats of the forest are vulnerable due to habitat degradation and bushmeat hunting. Can mention that when you stay at Nyungwe House, the Colobus monkeys are everywhere!
Traversing rural regions on rugged roads and bypassing traditional settlements, you’ll get a fleeting impression of Rwandan life as you hug the shores of Lake Kivu. Whether you choose to take to the water on a canoe during the golden hours of sunset, or cycle amidst the lush landscape of the tea plantations, Lake Kivu is both majestic and ethereal.
The Batwa tribe, also known as the Twa or Pygmies of Central Africa, are an indigenous minority group in Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda. Displaced from their original lands, the Batwa remain true to their cultural traditions which are centred around music, singing and dancing. Visitors can be part of these rhythmic, musical experiences, and can participate in pottery making.
Alongside tea, the beloved brew of coffee is arguably responsible for facilitating high-functioning across the globe. A Crop-to-Cup hosted Coffee Tour introduces visitors to the taste and aroma of high quality coffee which is grown in the region. Perhaps it’s the breath-taking surroundings that infuse the Arabica coffee beans with joy and vibrancy.
Kigali City Tour
Kigali – “City of Survivors” – is living proof of our capacity to forgive and forge ahead. Your city tour will include a visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial and you’ll have an immersive experience of the Truth & Reconciliation Village. Through education and proactive peace building, these museums serve as a place of healing and forgiveness, and are beacons of hope for humanity.
Your City Tour will also include lively, colourful, local markets where you will discover everything from exotic fruit to sandals. Your city tour will also take in fabulous coffee shops and offer scenic views of the City from the hilltops that surround the city.
Rwandan fashion and design is emerging as the next big “Who and What to Watch” with Rwandan designers like Matthew Rugamba blazing a trail with their eye-catching designs.
Food and Wine
Cuisine in Rwanda leans in to fresh, simple fare that blends Rwandan and other African flavours. The restaurants in Kigali and in our preferred lodges around the country are a true culinary experience and sensory delight that never fails to disappoint.
MUST STAY AT:
The thatched, domed suites of Bisate Lodge blend in with the surrounding forest and appear to be suspended between the limbs of the trees. This luxury lodge of incredible design overlooks the Bisoke, Mikeno and Karisimbi volcano peaks and is a sanctuary within a sanctuary.
Sitting quietly at the foot of the Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura volcanoes, the stone walls and reed shutters of Singita Kwitonda seamlessly blend in with their surrounding natural environment. With only eight suites and one private villa – Kataza House – guests are assured of a tranquil, exclusive stay.
One & Only Gorillas Nest
Hidden amidst an ancient forest, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest is comprised of lodges and suites of understated luxury, that draw the outside in by making use of natural design elements. Flanked by towering trees, you will be entertained by the sound of monkeys calling at night and greeted by birdsong in the morning.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
On the foothills of the Virungas, you’ll find Governor’s Sabyino Silverback Lodge. The homestead aesthetic of the stone cottages and suites are inviting and reminiscent of a bygone era.
Virunga Lodge overlooks the Virunga Volcanoes, Musane valley, Lake Bulera and Ruhondo. Elegantly poised on a high ridge, the natural wood within the Lodge reflect the wooded surroundings. Here, luxury, fine food and Rwandan hospitality are ready to welcome you.
The Retreat by Heaven
A warm African aesthetic along with natural design elements that include stone, wood and abundant foliage make The Retreat a real treat. It’s known for its tranquillity and welcoming ambiance as much as it is known for delicious, fresh cuisine.
One&Only Nyungwe House
Overlooking rolling green hills, lush forest and a working tea plantation, Nyungwe House stands within a verdant paradise. Five luxury wooden villa clusters, set against the backdrop of one of Africa’s oldest rainforest are a sanctuary of stillness and sophistication.
Lake Kivu Serena Hotel
Palm trees and lawns spill onto the private beach of Lake Kivu Serena where loungers sit alongside the quiet waters of the lake. Here, al fresco dining on the lake shore is the perfect way to end off the day’s activities of cycling, walking and canoeing.
As you see them, so they see you…
Gorillas are said to share over 98% of human DNA. On observing their strong familial bonds and the way in which they peacefully coexist, we often ponder the intended use of the 2% different DNA that humans are given…
At Safari Giants, we think that this 2% was almost certainly intended for travel and adventure.
Get in touch to find out when our next tour dates are and tell us why you’re excited to see a Mountain Gorilla.