Day 1: Cross into Rwanda to the Cyanika Border
Today you will make the estimated 2.5-hour drive from Bwindi, in Uganda, across the border into Ruhengeri, Rwanda. Along the way, there are amazing views of the area, referred to as the "Switzerland of Africa." Arrive at your lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge (or similar) located on the edge of Volcanoes National Park at the foothills of Mt. Karisimbi, one of the volcanic mountains that make up the Virunga Massif. This eco-lodge consists of 30 spacious chalets constructed of local materials and supports the surrounding rural community by purchasing farm-fresh produce, which is served in the lodge's restaurant.
Day 2: Mountain Gorilla Tracking
Today you will have the opportunity for gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park. Tracking the gorillas through the lush forested slopes of the Virungas is a wonderful experience comparable to, yet distinctive from, Bwindi in Uganda. If you are lucky, you can get to the gorillas, spend an hour with them, and be back at the base in time for a late lunch. Like Uganda, some gorilla families are more elusive, and tracking can take a full day, especially when conditions are wet and muddy.
Note: Gorilla tracking permits must be reserved at time of booking, pending availability. Gorilla Tracking permit is $1500, not included in trip extension land cost.
Day 3: Golden Monkey Tracking & Ibya Wachu Culture
In the morning, you will have a short drive to the park headquarters for a briefing, and then head out for a Golden Monkey tracking adventure. This trek is not as difficult as the gorilla tracking. Little is known about the mannerisms of the Golden Monkeys except for the fact that they live in social groups, usually of approximately 30 individuals. This will be is an entertaining opportunity to see them feed on fruits, leaves and insects. Afterwards, you'll have a chance to explore the cultural village of Ibya Wachu, a demonstration cultural village that was started by one of the park wardens to show case how the Rwanda Kings lived and a place that has helped many former poachers appreciate conservation of the gorillas. Return to your Lodge for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 4: Kigali City & Depart Rwanda
After breakfast, you will depart for Kigali. Along the way, marvel at the energy and industriousness of the Rwandan people. Roads are in good condition, streets are clean, schools are open (depending on time of year), and construction seems to be taking place everywhere. While the terrible experience of the genocide has not been and will not be forgotten, you will get the sense that Rwandan people want to move forward to create a society that learns from mistakes. In Kigali, you'll have a brief tour of the city including a visit to the market, a pottery project, handicraft shops, the Franco-Rwandan cultural center, and the very impressive and moving Genocide Memorial.
Afterwards, transfer to the airport in time for your evening flight home or on to other regions of Africa.