A small Central African country with a promising outlook, Rwanda is a land of endless hills, mountains, and volcanoes, covered in many places with thick bamboo forests. Rwanda is also the home of the endangered mountain gorilla, a powerful but gentle species that affords a rare safari experience like no other.
With a pleasant tropical highland climate accompanying you every step of the way, Rwanda is a surprising safari destination that is also home to some truly moving creatures. The sense of awe and wonder you experience when first encountering the mountain gorilla is a feeling that is hard to convey. Perhaps it’s the sense of connection, a sort of uncanny sameness between our species that leads us to relate to these wondrous animals. Or perhaps it is their fascinating social structures, their intriguing behaviours, or their playful infants, and the way these gorillas interact as genuine families.
An Once-in-a-lifetime Wildlife Safari Experience
Whatever the reason, you can be sure that there will be few, if any, safari experiences that can compare to a trek to see the mountain gorillas of Rwanda. Furthermore, Rwandan lodges are well equipped for your luxury safari journey, and the people you will meet are highly accommodating and unfailingly friendly. Rwanda is also a largely safe and progressive country these days, with little evidence of its otherwise tragic past.
If you are thinking of going on safari, you should consider a trek to Rwanda. It may just prove the crown jewel in your safari collection.
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Located at the foothills of Mount Karisimbi on the edge of the Volcanoes National Park in northern Rwanda, the Mountain Gorilla View Lodge was specifically established to provide access to the endangered mountain gorilla. An ecolodge comprising 30 spacious chalets, the lodge is committed to sustainable and low-impact environmental practices, and offers daily gorilla treks to find the habitat of this most mesmerising of animals.
Also excellently located for gorilla safaris, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is situated on the foothills of the volcanic Virunga Ranges. With eight luxury cottages, each affording sweeping views of the volcanoes and surrounding countryside, Sabyinyo’s spacious accommodations offer sitting rooms with fireplaces, 24-hour electricity, large bathrooms with bath and shower, and sheltered balconies perfect for relaxing.
Lying in northwestern Rwanda, the Volcanoes National Park is a relatively small but abundant reserve of only 160 square kilometres. Home to five of the eight volcanic Virunga Mountains, the National Park is also home to the endangered mountain gorilla, as well as numerous other forest-dwelling species. As well as visits to the gorillas, the park offers volcano climbs, tours of the lakes and caves, and cultural tours of the local village.
Spend a day trekking deep into the forest of Volcanoes National Park in pursuit of some quality time with these gentle giants. With only two remaining populations in all of Africa, these captivating creatures are a deeply poignant sight to behold when viewed in their natural habitat. Although hiking to find the gorillas may have an element of challenge to it, the trip is well worth the effort, and may just change your life.
Please note: Government permits are required to view the gorillas, costing USD$1500 per person per trek. (Gorilla trekking is an expensive exercise, though this helps to minimise the impact of tourists on the local environment. The funds generated from permit sales go toward aiding conservation efforts in Rwanda’s national parks.)
Identifiable by their prominent golden fur, these photogenic primates are also found in Volcanoes National Park. Often treated as something of a side note to the gorilla trek, these intelligent and charming monkeys are nevertheless much easier to find and more accessible in terms of physical fitness required for the hike to observe them. They are also fascinating to watch, and visitors can get quite close – as near as one metre away.
The dry seasons are typically the best periods to take your Rwanda gorilla trek or other safari. There are two dry seasons per year, the long dry season and the short dry season.
The long dry season is from June to mid-September, and the short dry season is December to February.
Rwanda’s relatively high altitude provides it with a remarkably pleasant tropical highland climate, albeit also with plenty of rain.
Temperatures vary considerably between locations depending on their altitude, but very little from month to month in the same place.
Rwanda’s long rainy season lasts from about March to May, when the rain is heavy and persistent. The long dry season is then from June to mid-September. October to November is a shorter rainy season, followed by the short dry season from December to February.
During both of Rwanda’s dry seasons, there is often light cloud cover. This helps to moderate the temperatures, but also occasionally brings light rain showers.