With my husband, our dream was to take a Rwanda safari and see the mountain gorillas in the wild jungles of Africa in Volcanoes National Park! We had several trips into the dark continent in countries like South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Egypt and Kenya. This year, we had our summer holiday in Tanzania. While in Arusha, my wife brought the idea of visiting the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. Though we did had not booked gorilla permits in advance, we inquired different tour companies in Kigali including Rwanda development Board and we were so lucky that, Gorilla Expeditions ltd had gorilla permits on re-sell.
They had received cancellations and therefore, we had to buy those 2 permits. We therefore had a 3 day Rwanda safari to see gorillas and golden monkeys in Parc National Des Volcans. We booked a flight from Kilimanjaro to Kigali by Rwanda Air (www.rwandair.com). We arrived in Kigali by 17:00 hrs. The Staff of Gorilla expeditions was already waiting for us at the airport, we immediately transferred to Volcanoes national park and stayed at Muhabura hotel.
The next day we got up early, had heavy breakfast at Hotel Muhabura in Ruhengeri, then we drove for about 20 minutes to the park headquarters at Kinigi. Here we found very many tourists from different countries, we interacted with them with free tea and coffee served at the headquarters. We were divided into groups of 8 persons maximum and allocated to different gorilla groups.
For us we were allocated to Hirwa gorilla group, we were briefed about this gorilla group and the trek in general. Later on we boarded our safari vehicle to the trekking start point. We are accompanied by park guides and rangers with guns just in case of any animals that may want to attack us such as forest elephants.
It took us about 3 hours to meet Hirwa gorilla group, we were given one hour to stay with gorillas, we took photos and videos. This was highlight of our safari in East Africa. We wanted to do another gorilla trek the next day but there were not gorilla permits available. We decided to return next year and this time we shall combine Uganda and Rwanda. In the evening, we took a community walk through Musanze town and we found out that the Rwanda people are so friendly, lovely and hospitable. Dinner and overnight stay at Hotel Muhabura.
On day 3, our departure flight was scheduled at 18:05hrs, we had ample time to go for golden monkey tracking, we came back early by mid day, we had lunch in Ruhengeri and later drove fro 90 minutes to Kigali, we visit Gisozi genocide memorial museum, later we transferred to Kigali International airport for our scheduled departure flight. This marks the end of our Gorilla safari in Rwanda.
Some advise to everyone visiting East Africa for wildlife and beach holidays, never miss gorilla tracking activity in either Uganda or Rwanda. It’s such amazing experience to interact with the mountain gorillas in the wild. The experience is totally different from that of Zoo. Just an hour with the gorillas offers lifetime memories. However, you are advised to book your gorilla permits in advance because their demand is very high in both countries. Visit rwandasafarigorilla.com for details and more safari packages.