Experience

A weekend with gorillas in Rwanda

What are your plans this weekend? A night out on the town. Maybe a trip to see the family. Here at Black Tomato we’re offering a somewhat different experience to your usual Sunday-morning lie-in. With our Rwandan holiday, you’ll find yourself on a plane to Africa and on the verdant slopes of the Virunga Mountains within a day. Once you’re in country, it’s helicopter rides and jungle treks from there on out, ending in a spectacular day tracking a close-knit gorilla family in the shrouded mountain forests of the Parc National des Volcans.

Your Journey Across Rwanda

You’ll spend your first night in a Kigali guest lodge, but this isn’t an urban hoilday. The next day, we’ll transfer you straight to the rainforest-laden Parc National des Volcans and the luxury Virunga Lodge. The method of transport, however, is up to you. The first option is to stick to the roads and rumble northwards by 4X4 through the mountains, alongside your own informative Black Tomato guide. Take a pit stop for lunch and visit the Genocide Museum, an essential reminder of Rwanda’s not-so-distant past. Alternatively you can can take to the skies and fly by helicopter directly to the comforts of the Virunga Lodge. This considerably shorter journey will give you some stunning views of the national park’s terraced slopes and a vista of the entire Virunga volcano chain, near impossible to see from anywhere else and a grand introduction to your short stay in Rwanda.

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Gorillas in the mist

Whether you land at, or drive up to the Virunga Lodge, the views of this remote region are truly awe-inspiring. The Virunga mountain chain consists of eight almost perfectly-peaked volcanoes that extend along the northernmost border of Rwanda and into Uganda. This is your basecamp for the next couple of nights, as you venture out into the surrounding jungle to track an endangered gorilla family. You’ll trek through the the light mountain forest, with an early start to make the best of your day, and get up-close and personal with the apes by lunchtime. Just remember to charge the camera the night before, this is an album you won’t want to miss out on. Once you’ve pried yourself away, depending on the weather, you’ll be back in time for a late afternoon meal at the lodge.

 

Explore Virunga

Use your third and final full-day in Rwanda to explore the Parc National des Volcans further: visit the golden monkeys or drive over to Gisenyi and Ros Carr’s orphanage or climb the Visoke volcano. For those inspired by the gorilla tracking, you can also make the short trek to Dian Fossey’s (the famous researcher depicted in ‘Gorillas in the Mist’) grave. Journey back to Kilgali by helicopter once more for an unforgettable ending to your Rwandan adventure.

Deviate from the plan

If four days in Rwanda isn’t quite enough for you, then you have the option to change your trip, switch it around and extend it as much as you’d like. Delay your time in Virunga by a few days and head south from Kigali to Amahoro island. Spend the day, after a relaxing lunch, exploring the nearby islands and end up in the small town of Kibure for the night. Then, at day break, transfer to Nyungwe national park, famous for its various species of primates, from common chimpanzees to red-tailed monkeys. Once you’ve then gone on to Virunga, head over to the Akagera National Park for your African savannah experience, complete with zebras, lions and giraffes. Spend the night in the Akagera Game Lodge before heading home with perhaps a more complete feel for the diverse country that is Rwanda.  With Rwanda, the options are truly endless so let us help you plan the perfect weekend or week long trip.

 

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