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6 Day gorilla, golden monkey and chimpanzee tracking.

safari overview

An awesome rwanda tour consisting of mountain gorilla tracking, golden monkey tracking  at volcanoes rwanda national park and  chimpanzee tracking at Nyungwe  forest national park.  The  whole experience is a thrilling one  making your trip in rwanda an amazing one.

DAY 1:  ARRIVE IN KIGALI TRANSFER TO VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

Your Jewel Safaris guide will pick up at the Kigali International Airport and brief you on your upcoming itinerary.  You will begin immediately to Volcanoes National Park, a 2-3 hour journey to the north.  If time permits, your Jewel Safaris guide can take you to the Genocide Memorial Center in Kigali on your way out of the city.

Your Jewel Safaris guide will take you directly to your accommodation near the park gate, where you will check in and have dinner.

DAY 2:  MOUNTAIN GORILLA TRACKING AND THE IBY’LWACU CULTURAL CENTER

After an early morning breakfast, your Jewel Safaris guide will take you to the Volcanoes National Park headquarters, a few minutes away, where you will register for your Mountain Gorilla Tracking.  While you wait for the paperwork to be completed, you will be served coffee or tea and be entertained by a local cultural group who will be dancing and drumming for you.  After a short briefing about the do’s and don’ts in the forest, you will then be assigned a Park Ranger and head off to the track in search of the Gorilla family that you were assigned.  Each group is no larger than 8 persons.

As the Gorillas are constantly moving about the forest in search of food, it can take anywhere from an hour to 8 hours to locate the particular family group you are searching for.  The accommodation will have prepared a packed lunch for you to take along, in case you are in the forest for a long time; you must eat this food either before or after meeting the Gorillas, as it is not allowed to eat in front of them.  When you meet up with your Gorilla family, you are allowed one hour to observe and photograph.

When you have completed your Gorilla encounter, you will reunite with your Jewel Safaris guide.  If time permits, you can return to your accommodation for a rest, alternately, you will proceed directly to the Ibyiwacu Cultural Center in Kiningi, a few miles away.  Here at the center you will have the opportunity to watch local drummers and dancers perform to their native music; in addition, the performers will put on costumes and recreate a traditional wedding ceremony for you.

Before night fall, you will be returned to your accommodation for dinner.

DAY 3:  GOLDEN MONKEY TRACKING & MUSANZE CAVES

Once again, you will get up early and have a pre-dawn breakfast before heading off with your Jewel Safaris guide to the Park Headquarters.  Similarly to the previous day, you will register, have a hot drink, be entertained by the local artists and then assigned to a Park Ranger.  You will then head off to track your particular Golden Monkey family in similar fashion as you did with the Mountain Gorillas.  The big difference today is that the Golden Monkeys do not roam far, as they confine themselves to the Bamboo forest at the base of the mountain, and as such are much easier to locate.

After your hour with the Golden Monkeys, you will return to your vehicle and reunite with your Jewel Safaris guide, who will escort you back to your accommodation for lunch.  In the afternoon your guide will take you to the nearby Musanze Caves.  These caves were previously occupied as a shelter and by the local kings who used them to store supplies and food during war times.  Now they are unoccupied and preserved for tourists to visit.  The largest cave is 2 kilometers in length; their height is Cathedral-looking only with the ceiling covered with Bats.

Before night fall, you will be taken to your accommodation for dinner.

DAY 4:  BUTARE & NYUNGWE NATIONAL FOREST

After breakfast, your Jewel Safaris guide will take you to the Nyungwe National Forest in preparation for your Chimpanzee Tracking the next morning.   The journey takes 5 hours to complete, including a stop in Butare, the Intellectual Capital of Rwanda on the way.

Butare is about half way between Volcanoes National Park and the Nyungwe National Forest.  Butare is basically a university city; here there are a number of institutions of higher learning, including a prominent Seminary; it is a great cultural pit stop and a nice change of scene from tracking primates.  In addition, there are museums to visit, shops to look at and good restaurants to eat in.  Lunch will be in Butare; your guide will take you to a Rwandese restaurant so you can try local traditional food.

When you are finished with your tour of Butare, your Jewel Safaris guide will take you on to Nyungwe National Forest; you will proceed directly to your accommodation for checking in, a restful afternoon and dinner.

DAY 5:  CHIMPANZEE TRACKING & CANOPY WALK

After an early breakfast, your Jewel Safaris guide will escort you to the Park Ranger’s headquarters in Nyungwe Forest National Park to organize the last minute details of your Chimpanzee Tracking.  The Chimpanzees are very different in many ways from the other primates, and how to find them in the forest is no exception.   The Chimpanzees are moving about in the trees and on the forest floor….making lots of noise and swinging from branch to branch.  It will not take long for the Chimpanzees to find you; a totally different scenario from the Gorillas and Golden Monkeys.   In many cases they will come and take your hand and walk together on the path or just follow you along; whatever they are up to it is not unusual for the Chimpanzees to engage physically with you.

As with the other primates, your time with the Chimpanzee is limited to an hour.   When your time is up, you will reunite with your Jewel Safaris guide and return to your accommodation for lunch.  In the afternoon, your Jewel Safaris guide will take you to the Canopy Walk, a 50-meter suspension bridge above the tree tops, where you can get a bird’s eye view of the forest and its inhabitants.  This takes a couple of hours, after which you will be taken back to your accommodation for dinner.

DAY 6:  RETURN TO KIGALI & GENOCIDE MEMORIAL CENTER

After breakfast, your Jewel Safaris guide will take you back to Kigali to meet with your onward flight. This will be the reverse of the journey you did a couple of days previously.  Your Jewel Safaris guide will take you to a local Rwandese restaurant in Kigali for some traditional food for you to taste.

If time permits, your guide will take you to the Genocide Memorial Center in Kigali, if you did not see it upon your arrival; alternately, you can visit one of the local markets or craft workshops to do some souvenir shopping.  When the time is right, your guide will escort you to the airport to catch your flight.