Approximately 800 km of tracks and roads on board of comfortable 4 x 4 vehicles. 6 nights spent in good hotels or nicely located guesthouses. Cold lunches, warm and varied dinners. Equatorial climate (25 – 30°C). Nights can be fresh, mostly at high altitudes. High risk of rain in the Virunga region. Experienced English-speaking guide during the whole safari.
Meet on arrival at the airport. Transfer to Kigali.
After an early breakfast, we follow the road as it traverses the thousand hills, with spectacular views along the way. The countryside is a patchwork of green, from the bluish green of the eucalyptus trees planted on the hilltops, the dark green of the cypresses lining the narrow tracks, to the soft green of the rice fields in the valleys. The inhabitants, mainly Hutu of Bantu origin with a Nilotic Tutsi minority, have after years of terrible problems, once again begun to appreciate the benefits of peace. A temperate climate explains the extraordinary diversity of farming: coffee, tobacco, sorghum, potatoes, beans, and bananas. The bends on the road afford us an unbelievable view of the entire Virunga chain. We drive from the vast undulating tea plantations to the hills around Gisenyi, and lying 1,460 metres above sea level Lake Kivu, whose beauty is magnified by the mountains and lush vegetation which surround it. We cross the border into The Democratic Republic of Congo before stopping for the night at a charming little hotel in Goma.
Enjoy chimpanzee tracking under the canopy of majestic trees. Chimpanzees (pan troglodyte Schweinfurt) are considered great apes, just like gorillas. Spending much time on the ground they also stand on two legs and walk this way for short distances. They climb trees in pursuit of food and for nesting. Depending on the season, the steep slopes with thick vegetation can be wet. Chimps are far more mobile and elusive than gorillas. You may need 3 to 4 hours to approach this often-exuberant primate. After lunch drive through extensive tea plantations to Cyangugu, a small harbour on Lake Kivu and cross Rusizi River to Bukavu in the DR-Congo.
The Kahuzi-Biega National Park is a World Heritage site. A vast area of primary tropical forest dominated by two spectacular extinct volcanoes, Kahuzi and Biega , the park has a diverse and abundant fauna. Some of the last groups of eastern lowland gorillas consisting of only some 7,000 individuals, live here at between 2100 and 2400 m above the sea-level. They have black coats, and the males develop silver backs as they mature. With the help of a ranger and trackers, we approach this rare primate. The walk can take several hours but coming across the group in its particular habitat is an inspiring moment.
The 2 busy ports of Bukavu and Goma are connected by a wild roller-coaster road that tumbles through lush plantain fields and relic patches of misty rainforest to offer sweeping views over hundreds of small islands. On the way to the north, enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the calm and pristine waters and the ragged shore of Lake Kivu, Albertine Rift Valley's highest lake and an extraordinarily beautiful island sea enclosed by steep green terraced hills. A more leisurely option is to take a speed boat plying daily between Bukavu and Goma.
After a last look at the magnificent volcano range and Lake Ruhondo, drive to Kigali and transfer to the airport.
As the first light of dawn breaks through the curtain of mist clinging to the summits of Karisimbi, Bisoke, Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura, we make our way into the Volcanoes National Park. Tracking the gorillas through the unique vegetation can take several hours of challenging walking in wet and muddy conditions. To see a gorilla, the trek will have been worth the hardship.
- Transportation Vehicle – 4X4 Safari Vehicle
- Beverages Refreshments and non alcoholic beverages
- Fees Park fees, Concession fees, included.