4 Days Safari in Rwanda highlights mountain gorilla tracking in Volcanoes national park, and a choice to either do Golden monkey tracking or do Dian Fossey Trekking (Dian Fossey graveyard visit) & the Karisoke research institute in Rwanda.
Volcanoes National Park
A magnificent and ecologically diverse destination. This chain of steep free-standing mountains, spanning altitudes of 2,400m to 4,507m, and linked by fertile saddles formed by solidified lava flows, ranks among the most stirring and memorable of the African landscape. The tallest member of the chain and the most westerly part of the national park is Karisimbi (4507m) on the border with the DRC, and Mgahinga and Muhavura on the Ugandan border.
The Karisoke Research Center:
Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund runs Karisoke Research Centre. Conjugated from the nearby Mt. Karisimbi and Mt. Bisoke. Fossey’s original objectives in founding Karisoke were to study gorilla ecology, demography and social organization. She found herself spending days searching for and attempting to observe these elusive animals while encountering signs that poachers and other human intruders had preceded her. Fossey realized that to study gorilla ecology and behaviour, she needed to recognize individual gorillas, which first required the gorillas to become accustomed, or habituated, to her presence. It is the longest-running field study of any primate, the source of much of our knowledge about gorillas, and the only conservation program that has led to an increase in a wild ape population.
Golden Monkey tracking:
The Golden Monkey (Cercopithecus Mitis Kandti) is a local subspecies of the widespread Sykes Monkey, also known as the “Blue Monkey” and is endemic to the high altitude forests of the Volcanoes National Park area. The monkeys are playful and inquisitive and often spend their time leaping from bamboo branches or frolicking on the forest floor.
There are two habituated groups of Golden Monkey, one group comprises around 80 – 100 members and has its home at the foot of Mt Sabyinyo. As with treks to see the Mountain Gorillas, treks to see the Golden Monkeys take place in the mornings and visitors are permitted to stay for 1 hour with the monkeys. Departure for the Golden Monkey trek is from the Park’s Kinigi Headquarters at 07:00 am. The number of visitors is not limited and the fee for a Golden Monkey permit is currently USD$100 per person per trek. Permits can either be arranged in advance or booked at the park headquarters on the morning of the trek. Porters can be hired at the entry point of the park.
Day 1: Transfer to Ruhengeri/ Volcanoes national park
Pick up from Kigali and drive about 2½hour to Ruhengeri which is a base town at the Volcanoes national park – home of the endangered mountain gorillas. A short familiarization city tour upon arrival, before retiring to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 2: Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park
Early in the morning after breakfast, attend a briefing from the ORTPN officials about the park and the tracking. Start the incursion into the forest for the gorilla tracking. The rangers will lead you deep into the forest in search of the gorillas. You will move up and down the rugged terrain until you finally meet these harmonious creatures that will entertain you with performances for about 1 hour.
The activity can take 2-7 hours since the gorillas move up and down. This is an awesome and exciting moment. If lucky, we visit the Karisoke research centre and the graves of Diane Fossey a woman who was murdered because she was protecting these endangered mountain gorillas. Dine and overnight at your hotel
Day 3: Dian Fossey or Golden monkey tracking
After an early breakfast, you will be transferred to the Park Headquarters for registration and briefing about the Golden monkey tracking or Dian Fossey grave trekking.
You will choose one activity.
Option 1: Tracking Golden monkeys. These are rare species of primates in Africa and only a few populations can be sighted only in the Virunga mountains of Volcanoes National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.
Option 2: Dian Fossey grave Trek, she was an American Zoologist who was murdered in 1985 while on her research about the rare species of Mountain gorillas and other primates in Volcanoes national park. Her graves are close to her research centre. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Transfer back to Kigali
Depart for Kigali after breakfast. Lunch will be served at the Nyirangarama town, giving the opportunity to visit the Urwibutso Ecotourism Project. The project supports local farmers in many viable ways contributing to social and economic development in the region. It provides services like schools, health centres, training farmers and job opportunities created. Arrive in Kigali later in the evening for dinner and overnight.
Options are of course many and varied and in many cases, we can be flexible about the itinerary for accommodation facilities and the extension of the safari destinations.