How To spend 7 days In Volcanoes National Park
Our advice on how to spend 7 days in Volcanoes National Park. Taking off 7 days of your daily routine to spend your holidays in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda is a lifetime Africa Safari experience. Volcanoes National park is treasured for protecting and feeding some of the remnant mountain gorillas in the world which nearly fell into extinction by the 1980s. The mountain gorilla population dropped to about 240- 250 because of the rampant poaching for trophies. Currently, because of support and community sensitization, the mountain gorilla population has grown to about 600.
The American Philanthropist Dian Fossey steered the resurrection campaign of mountain gorillas’ numbers when she tried to bring the world to acknowledge their vulnerability. In 1988 the film “Gorilla in the Mist” created more awareness about the status of the world’s only mountain gorillas.
Since the whistleblower’s urgency to do mountain gorilla conservation was coupled with tourist visits, a number of travelers are adding gorilla trekking to the must-do of their bucket list. Volcanoes National park is not only a mountain gorilla haven but several other primates also share this forest. Some primates include golden monkeys, black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, and pottos monkeys with a plethora of birds.
7-day safari In Volcanoes National Park brief itinerary
- Day 1 Drive To Volcanoes National park
- Day 2 Gorilla trekking In volcanoes National park
- Day 3 Second Gorilla Trekking National park
- Day 4 Golden Monkey trekking
- Day 5 Dian Fossey Gorilla fund International Visit
- Day 6 Gorilla Guardian Village Visit
- Day 7 Departure/ Kigali City Tour
Detailed Plan of 7 Day Volcanoes National Park safari
One can do Kigali City Tour on the first day of arrival for the Rwanda safari or the last day before heading to Kigali Airport for departure.
This safari has a double gorilla trekking adventure
Day 1 Road trip to Volcanoes National park
From Kigali Airport a road trip to Volcanoes National Parks lasts about 2 hours to 3 hours meandering through winding roads curved from hill bottoms. The lush greenery that covers most mountain slopes resembles the Alps of Switzerland fetching the name land of a thousand hills for Rwanda.
Arrive at Volcanoes National Park to relax while putting together your gorilla trekking gear ready for the next day.
Some travelers may wish to overnight in Kigali City but on gorilla trekking day, you have to get up earlier than usual to catch up with briefing time at 0700hrs. We do not advise our clients to take this plan because of the uncertainties that may befall on the road to Volcanoes National Park.
A number of accommodations with different budget plans are available like Sambyinyo silver Back Lodge, Virunga Volcanoes Lodge, Mountain gorilla View Lodge (MGVL), Kinigi Guest House, Hotel Mille Collines
Check into the Lodge of your preference as per your booking.
Day 2 Gorilla Trekking Day in Volcanoes National park
The gist of this 7 day safari to Volcanoes National park is Gorilla trekking. This is only possible after securing a gorilla trekking permit from Rwanda Development Board. The gorilla permit in Rwanda as of now cost $1500. This price includes conservation fees, ranger guide cost, local community support fund, and park fees to mention but a few.
An early morning warm cup of coffee gives you the energy to take you through the biggest part of your hike to locate the mountain gorillas. Do not forget to carry your gorilla trekking gear like cameras, a pair of binoculars, packed lunch all these in a light waterproof bag.
Converge at the ranger station with other travelers for a briefing where the rangers take you through the guidelines of gorilla trekking. Pay attention to detail because violating one of the most essential rules may cost you the chance to do gorilla trekking.
The armed ranger guides lead a group of maximum 8 trekkers into the forest using the trails constructed by regular gorilla trekking and Rwanda birding visitors. Watch out for more primates like troupes of olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, L’Hoest and so many others. A rich avian life including some Albertine endemics on the red list of IUCN may cross your way.
During the trek, the ranger guide calls for energy revamp breaks. Although rangers follow the slowest trekker, do not use it as an excuse to delay the rest since the time for locating the mountain gorillas is unknown.
Finally, when you locate the mountain gorillas, wait for the ranger guide to instruct you on when to take photos. Mountain gorillas may be serene but they also get moody based on conditions in the forest. If they lose a family member, mountain gorillas go into a somber mood just like humans. The birth of infants brings joy to the family so many observations must be made first by the ranger guide.
Take many photos as your gorilla safari souvenir. Only an hour is allowed in the presence of the mountain gorillas before walking back to your lodge.
Day 3 Second Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National park
Taking a double gorilla trekking opportunity in Rwanda is never a crime. This double opportunity gives you chance to hang out with the mountain gorillas without tension. Normally first-time gorilla trekkers may be nervous about the sheer size and dark eyes of the mountain gorillas.
This second chance is not as strange as the first. You still go through the briefing procedures just like the previous gorilla trekking day. When you inform the park authorities about your double trek, you are given a different gorilla family to trek this time
Follow the ranger guide and go through forest fun. Lookout for the primates and features you may have bypassed earlier. Return to the lodge to relax.
Day 4 Golden monkey trek in Volcanoes National Park
Golden monkeys are some of the rarest species of monkeys with golden hair. They are scientifically identified by the name Cercopithecus Mitis Candits. These monkeys keep you excited and on your toes throughout the search.
Their physical appearance distinguishes them from other monkeys by having a bigger size. Their dwindling numbers bring them closer to the list of world-endangered species. They live in troupes of about 100 members with the Alpha male head.
Watch other for other monkeys that share this pristine tropical forest.
Day 5 Visit Dian Fossey Grave with Dian Fossey Gorilla International fund
Gorilla trekking would not exist without the selfless work of Dian Fossey. She dedicated her life to mountain gorilla conservation but in 1988 she was brutally massacred. Her remains were buried amongst the mountain gorillas.
Hike to Dian Fossey Gorilla International Fund gives you an insight into her hard work. Many scientific findings about mountain gorillas are based on her studies.
Visiting some of her work during this trek highlights more about the need for gorilla conservation.
Day 6 Tour Gorilla Guardian Village
The conservation campaign for mountain gorillas includes reforming poachers. Gorilla guardian village is a local non-profit making cultural village owned by former poachers.
During this village visit, is a hands-on time as craft making, craft making, and basket weaving is the order of the day. Take part in a fascinating traditional cow dung painting called imigongo advance booking is required. This painting mechanizing dates back as far as the 9th century started by Prince Kakira to do the interior decoration.
You may taste some of the local Rwandese cuisines and drinks if provided. Get back to your lodge to overnight.
Day 7 Departure Day from Rwanda/ Kigali City tour
Departing Rwanda after a 7 day safari holiday is tear-jerking but you need to catch up with your outbound flight. In case you did not do the Kigali city tour on the first day, you can do it today. This however depends on the check-in time for your flight.
Kigali City Tour
Founded by Dr. Richard in 1907 as a small colonial outpost in current Kigali City. It is Rwanda’s main commercial center. Visit Kimironko market the largest marketplace in Rwanda. A visit to the Kigali genocide memorial, St Families church, Gisozi Genocide Memorial gives you a glimpse into what transpired during 100 days of terror. Names of some victims of the genocide are listed on the walls, hall photos, sculpture demos, and some properties of victims are preserved.
Tour the largest and most beautiful mosque in Rwanda. Watch out for the meandering roads that were carved out of the hill bottoms that make up Kigali city.
How To Book Rwanda Gorilla Trekking and Golden Monkey permits
The Rwanda Development Board is the selling board for Gorilla trekking golden monkey permits. The Rwanda gorilla trekking permit costs $1500 for foreign tourists per person per trek. The Golden monkey’s trek permit in Rwanda costs $100 per person per trek.
At the moment 18 gorilla trekking families are open for tourist booking each day. Only 8 tourists are allowed to trek a gorilla family each day.
Which Accommodations To Book During The Stay At Volcanoes National Park
A variety of accommodation facilities of all budgets are available for your time in or outside Volcanoes national park. Volcanoes national park unlike its counterparts Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda or Virunga National park in D.R. Congo can be accessed from the city center on the same day of gorilla trekking.
Some available accommodations based on luxury, Midrange, and Budget facilities include Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Virunga Volcanoes Lodge, Hotel Mille Collines, Best View Hotel, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Volcanoes Hotel, Le Bambou Gorilla Village, Kinigi Guest House.
How To Get To Volcanoes National park In Rwanda
Road transport is the main access means to Volcanoes National park. The drive from Kigali to Musanze where Volcanoes National park is located lasts about 2 hours and a half.
Public transport is available from Kigali City center and ends in Musanze but you need to hire private means to connect to Volcanoes National park headquarters in Kinigi.
From Bwindi Forest National park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park can be accessed by road via Cyanika Border. For anyone booked to do cross-border gorilla trekking, this is the ideal route between Uganda and Rwanda.
Charter helicopter service can be booked through Akagera Aviation to Volcanoes National Park
At Encounter Africa Safaris we offer all-inclusive Rwanda safari packages covering transport using 4×4 vehicles.
When Is The Best Time to plan A 7 Day Rwanda Safari to Volcanoes National Park?
Rwanda is open for tourist visits all year round but the best time to enjoy Volcanoes National park activities is from June to September. This period has less rainfall even when Volcanoes National park is famous for untimely downpours. The rains keep the ground soggy because of the thick forest cover that permits less sun ray penetration. The trails leading to most activities within and outside the park are drier in this period.
For more information on how to spend 7 days in Volcanoes National park and how to book a Rwanda tour with Encounter Africa Safaris, please send us an email and also take time to visit our Trip advisor review page.