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Journey to Rwanda | A Bucket List Trip With Stunning Wildlife

Rwanda golden monkey

Singita Kwitonda Lodge

Experience the thrill of trekking through the wild of Rwanda to observe beautiful wildlife, including gorillas and chimpanzees.

Just 10 feet in front of me was a large gorilla mom gently holding, hugging and kissing her newborn. Then, the giant silverback gorilla dad, ambled over and gave both a big hug! It was heartwarming and such humanlike behavior.

Through observing these gorillas up close and exploring Rwanda, guests feel and bring home unique, very personal, close connections with the wildlife, nature, mankind and a general feeling of interconnectedness.

Terms like “mesmerizing, awesome, life-changing, powerful and poignant” help describe visiting with gorillas in their natural habitat in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. Expert trackers and guides lead small groups up bamboo-covered slopes to visit with golden monkeys and to spend a magical and awe-inspiring hour just a few feet away from gorillas, our primate cousins. Even closer relatives to humans are chimpanzees, and a visit to Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest National Park can include exhilarating chimpanzee tracking. And doing so can help save the species, too.

The largest living primate, gorillas are spread across much of the equatorial African rainforest. The species is split into lowland gorillas and mountain gorillas. The volcanic range which spans Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to the endangered mountain gorilla. Gorilla “tracking” or “trekking” in Rwanda is safe and relatively accessible. This is a must for every traveler’s bucket list, especially now that there are stunning lodges with world class luxury, including Singita and One&Only.

Through observing these gorillas up close and exploring Rwanda, guests feel and bring home unique, very personal, close connections with the wildlife, nature, mankind and a general feeling of interconnectedness.

Gorilla in Rwanda

Singita Kwitonda Lodge

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK.

There are approximately 1,000 mountain gorillas in the wild. There are 12 gorilla families living in the Volcanoes National Park, which are fully habituated, with a few others habituated solely for scientific research. The groups, or troops, consist of at least one silverback male along with several females and youngsters.

Six tracking permits are issued per troop, per day and only to guests 15 years or older. There are only 96 permits available each day in Rwanda, and each permit costs $1,500. Arrangements can even be made for guests who cannot hike to be carried in specially designed seats supported by poles carried on the shoulders of four porters. At certain times, the permit price can go down to $1,050 when visiting more than one national park in Rwanda, and this is highly recommended.

Dana Allen

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AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK

Akagera is a beautiful and still quite undiscovered national park. With great conservation and reintroduction programs, Akagera now has the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo)! The low-lying plains of Akagera comprise savannah, woodlands, wetlands and a dozen lakes. Game-viewing jeep safaris may include sights of the Big Five, antelope, zebra, giraffe, baboons, monkeys, an incredible 490 bird species, plus much more.

NYUNGWE NATIONAL PARK

Chimpanzees tracking is a “must do” here! Chimpanzees are fierce apes and viewing a habituated family from a safe distance with trained trackers is exhilarating. It takes nine years to habituate a Chimpanzee family, but only nine months to habituate a Gorilla family. This is a testament to the gentle nature of the gorillas versus their aggressive chimpanzee relatives.

One of the oldest rainforests in Africa, Nyungwe is rich in biodiversity and spectacularly beautiful. The mountainous region is teaming with wildlife, including a small population of habituated chimpanzee families, as well as 12 other species of primate, including the L’Hoest’s monkey endemic to the Albertine Rift. Also, visit a habituated troop of Ruwenzori colobus monkeys nearby.

Bucket List trip to Rwanda

One&Only Nyungwe House

Visitors marvel at the 1,068 plant species and 140 orchids. Birdwatching is also a highlight with 322 bird species, including Red-collared Babbler and 29 other Albertine Rift Endemic species. Butterflies are also a common sight, with at least 120 species.

Memorable nature experiences include hiking the Isumo Waterfalls trail through the forest and traversing from above on the state-of-the-art Canopy Walk suspension bridge that is 1,400 feet long and 210 feet high. The beautiful One&Only Nyungwe House lodge is located nearby on the rolling hills of a tea plantation. This is a perfect luxury lodge to enjoy spa treatments, fine food, relax and appreciate your travels in Rwanda.

KIGALI

Kigali is the safe and clean capital of Rwanda. With nice hotel options, it is your entry point with flights from many countries, including non-stop flights from the Masai Mara in Kenya and the Serengeti in Tanzania. A visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center with an expert is important to understand the depths of the horror, killing and depravity of man that occurred in Rwanda in 1994. 

Moreover, it is profound to see, during your visit, the amazing ability of man to rebound and rebuild a society and the country of Rwanda. Now, we can also see many Rwandans in search of new leadership to help their country continue to move forward.

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Rwanada

Singita Kwitonda Lodge Bar

BEST OF THE BEST OF RWANDA 

DavidTravel’s recommended 13-night journey with very high-quality accommodations:

Two nights in Kigali at The Retreat by Heaven, Kigali Serena Hotel, Kigali Marriott Hotel, Villa Kigali or Heaven Boutique Hotel

Three nights in Akagera National Park at Magashi Camp (including game drives, game walks and boating options each day)

Four nights in Volcanoes National Park at Singita Kwitonda Lodge, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest Lodge, Bisate Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Amakoro Songa Lodge, The Bishop’s House or Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel (including two days of Gorilla trekking and one day Golden Monkey trekking)

Three nights in Nyungwe Forest National Park at One&Only Nyungwe House (including one day of Chimpanzee trekking)

1 night in Kigali to enjoy an evening in the capital.

Gorilla

Singita Kwitonda Lodge

THE GIFT OF GIVING | DIAN FOSSEY GORILLA FUND

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is dedicated to continuing Dian Fossey’s work of protecting gorillas while helping and educating the people who live near them. Gorillas are beautiful, resilient animals, but wildlife poaching and habitat destruction have pushed their populations to the brink of extinction. Dian Fossey knew that gorillas would need human help to survive. 

The Fossey Fund’s symbolic gorilla adoption program is a wonderful way to develop a personal connection with the gorillas that are protected and studied every day. Adopters or their gift recipients receive online adoption certificates, photos, profiles, a video of their gorilla and regular updates. 

Adopting a gorilla helps ensure the species’ future by supporting this gorilla protection work in Africa, protecting endangered gorilla families and helping to save their critical forest homes. When you visit gorillafund.org/adopt, you’ll be able to choose the gorilla you want to adopt. Gorilla adoptions also make unique and meaningful gifts for your friends and family. Follow @savinggorillas

Rwanda

One&Only Nyungwe House

READY TO GO TO RWANDA?

For your business and leisure travels worldwide, call on David Rubin and his staff at DavidTravel.  In 1996, David moved from a successful law practice, followed a deep passion for travel and launched his travel company. David is on both the Travel + Leisure “A-List” and the Conde Nast Traveler “Specialist List” of the best travel advisors in the world and recognized for delivering unparalleled style, attention to detail, and insider access uniquely responding to each client’s goals, budget, interests and dreams at www.DavidTravel.com.

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