Silverback gorilla, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

Discover the best of Rwanda; from gorillas in Volcanoes National Park to tracking lions in Akagera and witnessing chimps in the Nyungwe Forest. As one of the first tour operators to lead gorilla trekking safaris you couldn’t be in more expert hands.

Rwanda is still, without a doubt, the best place in the world to go mountain gorilla trekking. Walking in the Virunga Mountains in the shadow of giant prehistoric plants as the mists clear to reveal a family of gorillas is incomparable.

Rwanda’s stylish lodges are bursting with charm, and the riot of colour around every corner, from kanga clothing to banana plantations and the fertile hills will soon exhaust your camera batteries. Rwanda is spectacular to behold, a winding succession of steeply terraced slopes, the silvery silhouette of eucalyptus trees standing out against the brilliant green of the tea plantations.

Mountain gorilla, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Gorilla hand

What to expect on your Rwanda Holiday

A charm offensive. The people here are some of the warmest and most welcoming you could hope to meet. Incredible lodges with views to die for and of course the magnificent mountain gorillas. A forward-thinking country – plastic bags are banned, public transport runs on bio-fuel and there’s a national day of cleaning every month – of which its people are rightly proud.

For those with time Akagera Park, bordering Tanzania in the east, offers a big game viewing experience in which you get the wildlife to yourself, or head south to look for elusive chimps (as well as Rwanda’s best birding and chameleons) in the dark and exotic Nyungwe Forest. If you want to relax then head to Lake Kivu, where the only trekking to be done is back to your room from the beach when you realise you’ve forgotten your holiday read.

Akagera National Park, Rwanda
Akagera National Park

Some ideas for a Rwandan holiday

  • No holiday to Rwanda would be complete without gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park.
  • Explore Akagera National Park, Rwanda’s equivalent of the savannah reserves of Africa, and track lions, reintroduced by African Parks in July 2015.
  • Spend time in the dramatic Nyungwe Forest, home to chimpanzees with excellent birding.
  • Trek to Dian Fossey’s grave at Karisoke.
  • Unwind on the sandy shores of Lake Kivu and explore this charming market town.
  • Take to two wheels and cycle through the idyllic Rwandan countryside – the backdrop to the iconic Tour du Rwanda
  • A helicopter safari over this small and very beautiful gem of a country.
Gorilla Tracking, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Rwanda

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda

In Rwanda, gorilla trekking takes place in the Volcanoes national park, where Dian Fossey famously carried out her research. There are around 1,000 mountain gorillas left in the wild, half of these can be found in central Africa’s Virunga Mountains.

Volcanoes National Park is home to ten habituated gorilla families – Sabinyo, Amahoro, Umubano, Susa, Kwitonda, Karisimbi, Agashya, Bwenge, Ugyenda andHirwa. Finding them can take patience, and plenty of walking with most groups a half day walk. Eight permits are available daily for each group and each permit costs $1,500 per permit, per person. Every gorilla group is different, some with large numbers, others smaller and given the habitat and terrain, it is unlikely you will see the groups in their entirety all at once!

Close up of gorilla face Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Rwanda

Rediscovering Rwanda

“David, my fellow gorilla trekker, has just summed up how you feel, the first time you see a mountain gorilla. High in the bamboo rainforests of northern Rwanda, six overexcited, muddy tourists are squeezed together, trying to stay calm and upright in a tiny forest clearing that has attracted an entire family of apes.”

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Explore Rwanda

  • Akagera
  • Kigali
  • Lake Kivu
  • Nyungwe Forest National Park
  • Volcanoes National Park

Experiences

What do you really love doing? We curate your itinerary especially for you.

Papyrus gonolek bird, Akagera National Park, Rwanda

Akagera birding

One of the best birding spots in Rwanda, Akagera has over 480 species of birds, including savannah birds as well as raptors and many endemic species such as the red faced barbet. On some of the many lakes water birds including the marabou stork, the African fish eagle and the open billed stork.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Imigongo art, Rwanda

Creative Rwanda

Visit Choose Kigali, a creative space in the heart of Kigali city, founded by world renowned artist Emmanuel Nkuranga. View the creative side of Rwanda at this gallery which showcases the latest African contemporary art.

Suggested Hotel

View from interior of rocky cave lined with moss towards cave entrance with silhouette of woman at entrance.

Musanza Caves

Formed as a result of volcanic activity, Musanze caves in Volcanoes National Park, stretch for over two kilometres with 31 entry points.  Home to thousands of bats and coloured shafts of light punctuating the darkness, explore the caves and passages with a guide.

Gorilla Tracking, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Volcanic Trails

Explore Volcanoes National Park on foot, hiking across other worldly landscapes, from lava lakes to crater rims.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Aerial view of te plantations, Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda

Tea Experience

Learn how tea is grown and processed in Rwanda amidst the tea plantations of Nyungwe National Park – try your hand at the art of tea picking and sample some of the locally grown tea.

Suggested Hotel

Lake Kivu, Rwanda

Lakeside Mountain Biking

Cycle a network of trails, exploring beautiful countryside and tiny villages along the shores of Lake Kivu.

Suggested Hotel

Dugout canoe, Lake Kivu, Rwanda

Kayak on Lake Kivu

Explore by kayak, immersing yourself in the lake scenery as bird fly above and fisherman mend their nets in preparation for the evenings work.

Suggested Hotel

Rainforests

Forest Photography

Make the most of the younger, lighter forest than Uganda, for excellent photographic opportunities.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Blue monkey, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Rwanda

Forest Walks

Walk through forests full of colour in Nyungwe National Park, home to orchids, butterflies, monkeys and chameleons.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Canopy walkway, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Rwanda

Canopy Walkway

Spot blue monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys and colourful birdlife from the 70-metre-high canopy walkway in Nyungwe National Park.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Need Inspiration?
Browse our Rwanda holiday ideas.

We were one of the first operators back into Rwanda in the late 1990s and have since led gorilla trekking safaris for CNN, raised funds for the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Programme, worked with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and arranged numerous photographic safaris.

Where to Stay

Every captivating tailor-made itinerary needs a perfect base. Our team has handpicked this collection of properties to give you luxury options in styles to suit any adventure.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Illona Cross

Born in a small South African town, I have always followed my passion for nature and discovery. After studying Nature Conservation in Pretoria, I was one of the first women to complete a very tough cadetship in the Natal Parks Board. It was here where I cut my teeth in African wildlife management.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

Chris Johnston

Chris is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Africa.

25 years ago, my first trip to Africa took on a life of its own. I planned for three months, I stayed for two years. Whilst there, I was mistaken for a priest, attacked by sharks and arrested. Yet the countless, clattering journeys opened my eyes to the beauty of the landscapes and the grace of the people. My recent trips are undoubtedly more comfortable, but the welcome is as warm as ever and the best experiences are still those I never see coming.

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  • 01285 880 980

Frequently asked questions about Rwanda

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