Designed for those intrepid travelers who seek to get the best out of their African safari. Take on an amazing trip through the magical Rwanda to discover its magic! The mountain gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park is just waiting for you. A whole – round primate tour within Nyungwe forest to discover her elusive residents will bring you close to the amazing chimps, white Colobus monkeys, olive baboons and a magical canopy walk.
Away from Rwanda, the trip continues to two most famous game viewing destinations – Serengeti and Masai Mara reserves offering countless opportunities to spot the Big Five mammals of Africa alongside other iconic big cats and numerous bird life and African herbivores such as zebras, giraffes, antelopes, baboons, and so much more. If you visit during July – November season, you might also catch a glimpse of the great wildebeest Migration.
9 Days Gorillas & Best of East African Wildlife Itinerary Details
Day 1: Kigali to Volcanoes National Park
Arrive at the Kigali International Airport where your safari guide will be ready to welcome you to the magical Rwanda. Depending on your flight arrival time, you may undertake a fully guide Kigali city tour. This cosmopolitan city is ranked among the safest as well as the cleanest cities in Africa, with a car-free zone in its central business district.
Visit her famous spots, including the genocide museum, monuments, craft markets and so much more. From Kigali, drive northwards to Musanze district at the foothills of Virunga Massif. Musanze is fast becoming a major town in the north west of Rwanda and growing into a popular base for gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park. Tonight you relax at the historic hotel just outside of the famous Parc National Des Volcans (Volcanoes national park) and prepare for the following day’s unforgettable gorilla tour.
Day 2: Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes NP
Wake up, have breakfast as you admire the sun rising, slowly emerging over the Virunga Mountains. Get on a drive to the park headquarters to attend a pre-trek briefing. During the briefing, you will be divided into specific groups and assigned a gorilla family to trek.
A cup of coffee will be served and thereafter get ready with your gorilla trekking gears and hire a porter if you need one to help carry the luggage. Begin trekking heading into the interior of Volcanoes national park jungles with a lot of excitement and anticipation.
Gorilla trekking may last 45 minutes or even 8 hours depending on the location of gorilla family being tracked, speed of trekkers and nature of terrain. You are only given 1 hour to be with the gorillas once you meet them.
Enjoy their presence and admire their lifestyle, behaviors, and history as the ranger guide narrates. Please take as many pictures as possible for memories, as this is a once-in-lifetime experience.
Retreat to the starting point and head back to the lodge for relaxation and overnight stay.
Day 3: PNV to Nyungwe Forest National Park
After breakfast in Volcanoes national park, join your driver/guide and begin transfer to the south, Nyungwe forest national park. Nyungwe is a popular park not only in Rwanda but in east Africa as it harbors up to 13 species of primates, including the endangered chimpanzees. On the way to Nyungwe, take short visits to the some of the Rwanda genocide memorials in this region and have lunch at the shores of Lake Kivu – Rwanda’s biggest lake. Continue for more 2 hours until you arrive at your lodge on the outskirts of Nyungwe forest for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 4: Chimp Trekking & Canopy Walk
Morning breakfast and organize for an early chimpanzee tracking experience. This is Nyungwe forest’s most famous activity, as it enables visitors to come in close contact with man’s closest cousin. Attend a short briefing at Uwinka visitor center led by one the park officials. You will be briefed about rules and regulations to be observed during chimp trekking. Together with your guide, trackers and porters, walk through undulating tea plantations before penetrating into the thick lush forest.
Nyungwe forest is home to over 13 species of primates including chimpanzees and excellent birding opportunities, an incredible population of forest mammals, more than 100 species of butterflies and the occasional three horned chameleon. The chimp trekking excursion can last from 1 to 4 hours but you will definitely listen to the chimp’s pant – hoots from the moment you penetrate into the forest. Once you find a troop of chimps, you are allowed to stay with them for not more than one hour; watch them play, juggle, munching fruits and going about their daily routine.
Retreat to the lodge, or have a picnic lunch, and relax for a while as you look forward to another great afternoon adventure. This afternoon presents a magical Canopy walk adventure; this experience rewards you with an entire forest canopy and 360 degree views of forest dwellers, ranging from primates, bird life, ancient trees and other small insects.
Day 5: Transfer to Kigali & Fly to JRO Airport
Today, you drive to south western Rwanda via Butare city for a brief cultural encounter, get real up close with the Rwandan style of life, history and their ancient kings. Have lunch here and proceed to Kigali traversing the most beautiful ranges and towering hills, synonymous with Rwanda. Arrive at Kigali international airport, check in and prepare to catch a connecting flight to Arusha / Kilimanjaro airport. Dinner and a night stay in the town of Arusha.
Day 6: Arusha to Serengeti National Park. Evening Game Drive.
Amidst a beautiful sunrise of Arusha, have a warm breakfast, and begin the road transfer which takes approximately 5 hours to the northern most based Serengeti national park. Take a picnic lunch enroute or box lunch, and your driver will select the best road to follow based on season, weather, and the opportunities of animal and scenery viewing, because the chances of sighting Serengeti park’s sprawling wildlife on the way are countless.
Check in at the lodge in Serengeti national park and prepare for this afternoon/evening magic. Get on a safari jeep and head out to the adorable Serengeti plains. As the sun sets over the horizon, this national reserve presents magical animal encounters. Watch predators in action, mammals grazing, numerous bird species, and nocturnals heading out to begin their hunt.
Alternatively, visitors can take to Serengeti skies with a luxurious hot air balloon ride which presents 360 degrees of the sweeping plains dotted with lush flora, valleys, meandering rivers and teeming with great wildlife.
Day 7: Game Drive in Serengeti (Full day).
This day is a typical game drive extravaganza! Because it’s fun-filled and Serengeti is a remarkable wildlife – populated area, with the most notable wildlife eco-system in the modern world.
Serengeti national reserve is the most popular and home to the highest and varied concentration of wild animals than any other conservation area in East and central Africa. The park’s rolling Savannah plains are comfortable breeding grounds for various game, including Africa’s Big 5, as well as lesser game such as antelopes, zebras, giraffes, and big cats like cheetahs, hyenas, leopards, lions, etc.
Day 8: Maasai Mara reserve. Sunset Game Drives.
Breakfast and immediately transfer from Serengeti National park and off you cross to southern Kenya, on the other side of Masaai Mara reserve. Enter through the Isebania border and penetrate into Kenya’s big game and most famous conservation area.
Enroute, never miss unmatched game drives as you enter into the Masai Mara.This is arguably Kenya’s most populated wildlife national reserve. Arrive and have an early check in at the lodge, relax and immediately embark on a brief evening game drive to explore the Mara’s permanent animal residents, amazing bird life, ever green vegetation flora, and romantic landscape.
Day 9: Masai Mara Game Drive & Transfer to Nairobi
This is the last day of this magical safari. Wake up as early as possible, before dawn sets in to experience memorable game drive in Masai Mara reserve. A morning safari offers you unlimited chances to view the Big game mammals as well as watching big cats in action before the sun rising. You’ll head back to your camp to check out, and pick your box lunch to begin your transfer back to Nairobi. Arrive in the bustling Nairobi, at about 16:00 in the afternoon and immediately proceed to Jomo Kenyatta International airport for an outbound flight.