5 days Rwanda gorillas and chimpanzees tour

This 5 days Rwanda gorillas and chimpanzees tour is the trip to do if you are looking to add a Great Apes or primates experience into your African safari trip. Rwanda is endowed with rich forests that harbor a lot of primates with the mountain gorillas and the chimpanzees being the prime species. You will do the gorilla trekking adventure in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park which is part of the magnificent Virunga Mountains – a chain of sprawling volcanoes shared with Congo and Uganda.

To see the chimps in Rwanda you will go on the chimpanzee tracking adventure in Nyungwe Forest National Park – Africa’s largest protected mountain forest. Nyungwe forest is most known for its many species of primates which includes a population of about 500 chimps. You will also enjoy incredible views across the forest on a canopy walkway as well as see several species of monkeys.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 – Travel to Nyungwe National Park, afternoon canopy walk tour

You will be picked from Kigali by your tour driver at 7am and leave for Nyungwe Forest National Park in the southwest of Rwanda. This is 6 hours journey including a stopover along the way for lunch. You will set out for the canopy walk tour at Uwinka and explore the canopy of Nyungwe forest where monkeys and birds can be seen at eyelevel. The canopy walkway offers stunning views over Nyungwe Forest, you will feel a rush of adrenaline as you walk across the wobbly walkway while taking in the breathtaking sight of endless shades of green.

A Canopy Walk tour in Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda

Accommodation to choose from:

Budget – EAR Guesthouse

Midrange – Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel / Emeraude Kivu Lodge (this is situated in Cyangugu town on Lake Kivu, 30 minutes drive from Nyungwe National Park)

Luxury – One&Only Nyungwe House

Day 2 – Chimpanzee tracking adventure in Nyungwe

Today you shall set out for a thrilling encounter with man’s closest relatives – the Chimps – sharing 98.7% of DNA with humans. At 5am you shall go to meet the park rangers for briefing and set off to the park for the chimpanzee tracking adventure in Nyungwe Forest. The chimps offer a different experience from the gorillas because they are very active primates, constantly moving from tree to tree engaging in a number of activities that are human like, and their communication by way of panty hoots, deafening screams and thunderous hitting of tree barks, is a thrilling goose pump inducing experience for the visitor. Encountering the chimps in their natural jungles is an experience like no other. A maximum of 1 hour is allowed to be with the chimps after finding them.

chimpanzee in nyungwe forest

After the chimpanzee adventure you will spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure.

Optional activity:

In the afternoon you can do one of the following activities:

  • Tea experience – visit a tea extent at the edge of Nyungwe forest and discover how tea is grown, harvested and processed locally.
  • Colobus monkey trekking – go tracking a group of habituated Colobus monkeys in Nyungwe forest. These monkeys are nice to watch and photograph and would make a great addition to your primates’ experience. You will track a group near to the edge of the forest at Gisakura area. It is a light and short trek. A maximum 1 hour is spent with the monkeys.

Day 3 – Transfer to Musanze, afternoon Mukungwa canoe trip

Have breakfast and check out by 7am and depart for Musanze in the north of Rwanda. You shall drive along Lake Kivu and enjoy wonderful views of the lake – the biggest lake in Rwanda and one of the most beautiful lakes in Central Africa! It is a 5 hours journey from Nyungwe to Musanze.

You will check into your lodge and have lunch.

At 2pm you shall set off to do a canoe ride on River Mukungwa. This is a 3 – 4 hours adventure trip offering great views of the lush countryside and rolling landscape and an insight into the lives of the local people.

canoe ride on River Mukungwa in Musanze

Optional activity:

  • Twin lakes tour – instead of the canoe trip you can visit the beautiful twin lakes – Burera and Ruhondo – which are situated in the foothills of the volcanoes, enjoy a boat ride on Lake Bureara and explore the breathtaking scenery.

Accommodation to choose from:

Budget – La Locanda

Midrange – Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge

Upmarket – Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel / The Bishop’s House

Luxury – Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge / Virunga Lodge

Day 4 – Gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park

Today you shall go for the ultimate gorilla adventure in Rwanda’s part of the Virunga mountains – the Volcanoes National Park! You will report to the park office by 7am for the allocation of the gorilla groups and briefing by the park guides about the gorilla tracking rules. You will then drive to a point just outside park and start your gorilla tracking adventure into the jungles of the Virunga mountains. The time taken to find the gorillas can be from 2 to 3 hours, but can take more or less depending on how your assigned moves.

mountain gorilla in rwanda

Day 5 – Transfer back to Kigali

After breakfast, check out and transfer back to Kigali

Optional activities:

Today you can do another tour in the morning before departing to Kigali

  • Golden monkey tracking: This is a good addition to the gorilla trek and primates adventure. The golden monkeys are endangered and unique to the Virunga mountains, living in the bamboo forests in the base of the mountains where they are easily found without a lot of trekking. The golden monkeys are very beautiful and active hence exciting to watch and photograph. It may take 1 hour to find the golden monkeys and 1 hour is allowed to be with them
  • Gorilla Guardians Village tour: Take a short cultural tour of about 1 hour to the gorilla guardians village where the local people will present to you the different traditions of the Rwandan people such as local wedding, treating with local medicine, traditional dance, hunting with bow and arrow etc…

This tour includes:-

  • Tour car and tour driver driver/guide
  • All meals
  • Accommodation
  • Gorilla tracking permit ($1500)
  • Drinking water

Tour does not include:

  • Optional activities
  • Visa fees
  • Personal insurance
  • Airfares
  • Tips All personal expenses such as laundry, phone bills, curio purchases
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