Trek for endangered mountain gorillas in the Virunga Massif, before driving east to the lakes, savannah and hills of Akagera. Combine Rwanda’s most famous national park, Volcanoes, with the more traditional safari landscape of Akagera – a park in recovery.
- Trek for mountain gorillas and golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park
- Stay at the beautifully positioned Virunga Lodge
- Explore the diverse landscape of Akagera National Park
- Spot antelopes, elephants, big cats and even rhinos in this eastern wilderness
GORILLAS AND GOLDEN MONKEYS
Begin by driving north from Kigali to the green slopes of the Virunga Mountains, close to the border of Uganda. Here, stay at the magnificently positioned Virunga Lodge, which offers some of the greatest views in Africa. From the comfortable stone bandas, look out at the cloud-topped volcanic landscape, decorated in rich shades of green.
Set off into the park, climbing steadily in search of the world’s largest primate. Led by knowledgeable guides and park rangers, leave the terraced crop fields behind and enter the dense forest that carpets the lower slopes of these dormant volcanoes.
After several hours of trekking, draw close to the gorilla family. Leaving bags behind, and holding cameras at the ready, creep closer and enter their domain. Spend an hour amongst the mountain gorillas, as they play, groom and eat. Watch as youngsters roll through the lush grass and see the dominant silverback stalk through his relaxed family.
The following day, return to the hills in search of a smaller primate. Track down a group of endangered golden monkeys, which only survive in this mountainous region. Watch as these agile old world monkeys – with their glistening gold-streaked fur – spring from branch to branch.
PLAINS GAME, BIRDS AND BIG CATS
Leave the mountains behind and drive to the eastern fringes of Rwanda. Here, Akagera National Park is squeezed up against the Tanzanian border. A series of lakes and rich marshlands fill the valleys, with savannah and acacia forests dotted between rolling hills. Although relatively small, this diverse park contains a variety of habitats.
Explore by boat and 4x4, in search of the wildlife that fills this recovering park. Once all but empty of game, it now supports a wide variety of species. These include a small pride of reintroduced lions, as well as a number of elusive leopards.
The watery, verdant landscape attracts a variety of birdlife, whilst the lakes are home to hippos and crocodiles. Elephants roam the savannah and woodlands, occasionally wallowing in the muddy marshlands. Inland, on the rich grasslands, numerous antelope species graze on fresh shoots.
BEHIND THE SCENES
The story of Akagera is a remarkable one. Once a park devoid of wildlife and overrun by cattle and poaching, it is now a Big Five reserve with one of the most progressive and innovative management structures in place. This all thanks to a partnership between the Rwandan government and the NGO African Parks, which began in 2010. Since then, borders have been secured, wildlife has returned and tourism has flourished. Learn about this journey and the day-to-day running of the park on a behind-the-scenes tour of the park headquarters, led by one of African Parks' staff.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Rwanda has become synonymous with gorilla trekking, but this holiday showcases another side to this fascinating country. Combine a fantastic primate experience, with a very different safari journey through the varied terrain of Akagera.
For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.