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Mountain gorilla, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Mountain Gorillas and Wildlife of Akagera

  • TAILOR-MADE HOLIDAY IDEA

Duration

7 Days

Prices Start from

$6,858 ex. flights

Trek for endangered mountain gorillas in the Virunga Massif, before driving east to the lakes, savannah and hills of Akagera – a park now flourishing under African Parks’ management.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Gorilla looking back, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda 1

Gorilla Trekking

Trek for mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park.

Golden monkey, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda 2

Golden Monkeys

Trek in search of the park’s less famous primate inhabitants, the beautiful golden monkeys.

Roan Antelope, Akagera, Rwanda 3

Big Five Safari

Explore the diverse landscape of Akagera National Park, now home to the Big Five.

Lake Ihema, Akagera, Rwanda 4

Boat Trip

Take a boat trip on Lake Ihema, keeping an eye out for the elusive shoebills.

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. Once devoid of wildlife, this park is now home to an impressive array of animals – all set against some of the most beautiful scenery in the country.

Don't forget, we will customise this journey to suit you.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1
    Kigali - Volcanoes National Park
  • Day 2
    Volcanoes National Park
  • Day 3
    Volcanoes National Park
  • Day 4
    Volcanoes National Park - Akagera
  • Days 5-6
    Akagera
  • Day 7
    Akagera - Kigali
Gorilla peering through leaves, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Mountain Gorilla Trekking

Set off into Volcanoes National 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.

Virunga Lodge, Volcanoes National Park
Virunga Lodge, Rwanda

Virunga Lodge

The green slopes of the Virunga Mountains lie 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.

Elephants, Akagera, Rwanda
Akagera, Rwanda

Akagera Safari

Leave the mountains behind and drive to the eastern fringes of Rwanda. Here, a series of lakes and rich marshlands fill the valleys of Akagera National Park, with savannah and acacia forests dotted between rolling hills.

Explore by boat and 4×4, 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 translocated rhinos.

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.

Tour of African Parks Headquarters, Akagera, Rwanda
Akagera, Rwanda

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. 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.

Chimpanzee in tree, Nyungwe Forest, Rwanda
Chimpanzee, Rwanda

Suggested Extension: Nyungwe Forest National Park

Extend your time in Rwanda with a visit to Nyungwe Forest National Park, in the west of the country. This swathe of verdant montane forest is home a colourful array of birdlife, as well as monkeys, frogs and chimpanzees.

One of the chimp families is habituated to humans, meaning there is the chance to trek in search of them. Unlike in Uganda, trekking group numbers are strictly managed here, making for a better experience when you encounter the chimps.

Also head into the forest canopy, along the suspended cable walkway that links a pair of high towers. This provides a beautiful view over the trees around and below, with turacos and L’Hoest’s monkeys spotted from here.

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Virunga Lodge £££££

  • Rwanda
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Sitting atop one of Rwanda’s “thousand hills”, Virunga Lodge has one of the most breath-taking views of any lodge in Africa. Cloud-topped volcanoes lie on one side, with shadowy blue lakes on the other. The 10 contemporary, stone bandas are softened by fresh flowers and draped in traditional kanga fabrics. Hot water bottles and hurricane lamps add warmth to the pleasant interiors, which feature electrical points for charging phones and cameras. From the private terraces, the views are spectacular – both the Virunga Massif and the twin lakes of Bulera and Ruhonda are visible. After a hard day of trekking in the neighbouring hills, Virunga Lodge’s heart-warming food helps replenish weary legs, whilst complimentary massages relax and rejuvenate.

View Property

Ruzizi Tented Lodge £££££

  • Rwanda
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge
  • Tented Camps

Perfectly located for exploring Akagera National Park, Ruzizi Tented Lodge is built on the shores of Lake Ihema. Blending in with the unique riverine forest environment, the lodge is intimate with only seven tents, each with its own en-suite bathroom with hot and cold running water, a dressing area and a small patio at the front, accessible by wooden boardwalks leading to and from the main reception area. A thatched central reception area is the heart of the lodge, with a lounge-bar and dining area. A large deck with a fireplace sits under a shady fig tree overlooking the lake.

View Property

A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
Price
From $6,858 Per person

When to travel

Rwanda in January

From late December until early February the weather is typically drier, although showers are still very possible. This is the hottest time of year and can feel very tropical. However, the altitude means that temperatures remain manageable and still drop quickly at night.

Rwanda in February

The long rains begin in February and last until May. During this time, road travel can be a challenge and delays are frequent. However, gorilla trekking continues unaffected, although you should expect to get wet and muddy.

Rwanda in March

The long rains begin in February and last until May. During this time, road travel can be a challenge and delays are frequent. However, gorilla trekking continues unaffected, although you should expect to get wet and muddy.

Rwanda in April

The long rains begin in February and last until May. During this time, road travel can be a challenge and delays are frequent. However, gorilla trekking continues unaffected, although you should expect to get wet and muddy.

Rwanda in May

The long rains begin in February and last until May. During this time, road travel can be a challenge and delays are frequent. However, gorilla trekking continues unaffected, although you should expect to get wet and muddy.

Rwanda in June

The coolest and driest time of year is between June and early September. This is one of the most popular times to visit, although both mornings and evenings can be very chilly at higher altitudes.

Rwanda in July

The coolest and driest time of year is between June and early September. This is one of the most popular times to visit, although both mornings and evenings can be very chilly at higher altitudes.

Rwanda in August

The coolest and driest time of year is between June and early September. This is one of the most popular times to visit, although both mornings and evenings can be very chilly at higher altitudes.

Rwanda in September

The short rains arrive in late September and continue until December. However, travel is still possible and the overcast skies can make for some fantastic photographs.

Rwanda in October

The short rains arrive in late September and continue until December. However, travel is still possible and the overcast skies can make for some fantastic photographs.

Rwanda in November

The short rains arrive in late September and continue until December. However, travel is still possible and the overcast skies can make for some fantastic photographs.

Rwanda in December

The short rains arrive in late September and continue until December. However, travel is still possible and the overcast skies can make for some fantastic photographs.

Holiday Inspiration

Our experts have created and curated these tailor-made holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something that is the spark for your unique adventure.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary?


Why Steppes

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