2 Gorilla Treks – 3★    (4 Days)


Daily Departures

Operates from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2019

 

$5,190 - $5,225

There may be nothing as exciting in the wild as trekking to see the mountain gorillas. The hour spent with these gentle giants is remarkable for the scenery, the joyous story of this conservation effort, and most of all the unbelievable ability of man and beast to sit virtually within touch of each other! This program can be easily appended at either the beginning or the end to virtually any other safari in East Africa.

Mountain gorilla visits are available to tourists in all three of the countries that span the seven volcanoes in which they’re found: The Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. The Congo remains too unsettled for a safe visit. Parc de Volcans in Rwanda is far superior to the several locations available in Uganda, the principal of which is Bwindi. The scenery, the number of gorillas, the travel to and from the park entrances, and especially the guides are all significantly better, easier and more rewarding in Rwanda than Uganda. For details of the actual trek and encounter, please read the daily descriptions below.

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Dates & Pricing

Details

*Contact EWT for the best international air fares and for recommendations on how to use your frequent flyer miles.

Day 1: PARC de VOLCANS

You'll be privately transferred from any place in Kigali city or from its airport to Parc de Volcans. This is a spectacular drive. Almost the entire country is 5-7,000 feet high, and incredibly lush. You arrive at the outpost of Kinigi for your overnight at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge. There are walks in the area, as well as visits that can be arranged to the research facilities and nearby town. Dinner at the lodge.

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Day 2: PARC de VOLCANS

At seven o'clock your driver takes you from the lodge to park headquarters only a few minutes away. There you get your family assignment and meet your fellow trekkers and guide before returning to your vehicle for the drive to the assigned volcano. All the ranger/guides speak French, and most speak English as well.

Everyone regathers at the starting point at the base of the volcano. There are also porters available for hire who can pack everything for you from your camera, picnic lunch and day pack.

The trek begins on established walking tracks and may then veer overland over farmer's fields before reaching the forest's edge where the guide gives you your final set of instructions. Trek lengths and difficulties vary considerably. It's not uncommon to trek for a mere 20 minutes before the hour visit with the gorillas at altitudes hardly more than 6 or 7,000 feet. At other times a trek can take four or more hours ascending to altitudes as high as 11,000 feet. Gorilla families do not stay put. There is no way in advance to estimate the difficulty of your trek.

Hackers generally find the group quite a while before you arrive with your guide. You'll be asked to leave behind anything you're carrying except your binoculars and camera before approaching the family. Visitors must maintain a distance of 20 feet from the gorillas (although that's often up to the gorillas!).

The ranger carefully positions everyone and the hour's experience begins. This is as varied as the animals themselves. Often juveniles are very active not needing the rest that the aggressively feeding adults require. Close encounters with visitors are frequent although discouraged but rarely aggressive or violent. Nonetheless, these are extremely powerful animals and since studies began with them in the late 1960s about a dozen researchers and tourists have been killed or hurt. Statistically this is very favorable when compared with tourists and bears, for example, in American national parks.

After the visit the descent is always much easier than the ascent and can take a fraction of the morning's travel time. A meadow is located on the way down for the picnic lunch. You then transfer back to Mountain Gorilla View Lodge for dinner and overnight.

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Day 3: PARC de VOLCANS

The second day is a duplication of the first. You're also able to reduce the scope of the day by opting out of a gorilla trek for a less strenuous and normally easier hike to see the golden monkey and other fringe forest species.

Meals and overnight at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge.

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Day 4: DEPARTURE

After breakfast you'll be taken to the airport for your departure from Rwanda.

Don't go home yet! The great safari savannas are just ahead! Check our many East African safaris or call us for suggestions.

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