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Wildlife Encounters: Seeing Gorillas in Rwanda

schedule7 Minute Read

24-Jan-2023 Karl Page

Wildlife Encounters: Seeing Gorillas in Rwanda

Learn everything you need to know about seeing wild gorillas in Rwanda and where to stay when you visit.

We believe holidays should be unforgettable. They should allow you to uncover amazing corners of the world, enjoy unique experiences and create memories that last forever. One of the best ways to achieve this is through a wildlife encounter holiday. Allowing you to see often elusive and mesmerising animals, these trips enable you to better connect with our amazing planet and leave you with lasting memories.

All over the world, you'll be able to find these experiences, but one that we think is especially fulfilling is travelling to see gorillas amidst the forests of Rwanda. This powerful and reclusive species is not one many are ever privileged enough to see in the wild due to their modest numbers and high-altitude home.

If you're interested in seeing gorillas in their natural habitat whilst on a luxury holiday in Rwanda, we answer the most common questions to help inform your trip.

Where can you see Gorillas in Rwanda?

Rwanda is one of the best places in the world to see gorillas in the wild, specifically in Volcanoes National Park. The volcanic range here spans across Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and is home to Mountain Gorillas, as well as other local species, including endangered Golden Monkeys, Forest Elephants, Hyenas and more.

An estimated 12 gorilla families are currently habituated in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, all with their unique dynamics, the largest being the Susa Family, named after the river that flows through the area. The Susa family is well known not only for its large size but also as it includes the first-ever known set of surviving gorilla twins.

Gorillas are well protected in Rwanda, and as such, visits to each family are monitored and managed to ensure troops aren't over-visited or overwhelmed by visitors. All are monitored by park rangers, and eight permits are issued per troop daily, meaning only 96 people can see gorillas in Rwanda each day. This makes the experience of seeing endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda an exclusive and intimate event.

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

When is the best time of year to see gorillas in Rwanda?

Although you'll be able to see gorillas year-round, the best time to do so is thought to be during the dry season from May to October. The drier weather during these months allows for better hiking conditions, meaning it's easier to track the gorillas. The shorter dry season runs from December to February and can be another great time to track gorillas in Volcanoes National Park.

From March to mid-May, Rwanda experiences its longest rainy season, so for those tracking gorillas, muddy conditions are expected. However, this can be a great time of year to visit Nyungwe Forest National Park in the southwest of the country and see chimpanzees if you are looking for a primate adventure. The shorter wet season runs from October to November and will also involve muddier conditions, but you might find the experience more intimate as fewer travellers visit
A family of gorillas in Rwanda
A family of gorillas in Rwanda

Where to stay in Rwanda to see gorillas

Volcanoes National Park is a remote area of Rwanda, so you might worry you'll not be able to enjoy an extended trip here in luxury accommodation, but you'd be surprised by the great options available. Below, we list some fantastic resorts that can host you in style, help you realise your dream of seeing gorillas in their natural home and have their own unique features.

You'll be able to arrange your gorilla trekking permit when booking a stay at any of these resorts...
Gorilla eating stalks in Rwanda
Gorilla eating stalks in Rwanda

Bisate Lodge

If you're looking for an intimate and sophisticated luxury all-inclusive holiday, Bisate Lodge is the ideal option. The lodges here are almost otherworldly, looking more like birds' nests than a traditional resort. Priding itself on its community initiatives and conservation work, as well as gorilla treks, you'll be able to enjoy visits to local communities and excursions into the surrounding national park.

With six thatched villas allowing a maximum of twelve guests, you'll enjoy an intimate experience not overwhelmed by other guests. And, with the wealth of awards its gained since opening, you can know you'll be in for an unforgettable experience.

One&Only Gorilla's Nest

One&Only Gorilla's Nest is one of the most popular resorts in the area, and for good reason. Having built their name worldwide as one of the best luxury holiday curators, you can expect the best from One&Only. Gorilla's Nest is no exception to the norm, with the stunning resort and grounds ready to welcome all explorers.

You'll also be able to take advantage of the One&Only Spa, a world-leading experience with a selection of luxury spa breaks around the world. Here, the spa experience honours Africa and local ingredients, including rose, coffee and eucalyptus.
There are a selection of lodges and suites perfect for all types of travelling groups. With floor-to-ceiling glass and alfresco decking, you'll be able to take in every inch of the Pyrethrum farmland below and the surrounding eucalyptus forest.

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

Tucked away within the foothills of the Virunga Mountains, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is a community-owned resort that is perfect for gorilla trekking. By staying here, you'll contribute to the local wildlife conservation and community empowerment schemes and be in a prime position to enjoy the surrounding attractions.

With six cottages, two suites and a family cottage available, you'll be able to find a home away from home. Enjoy your own sitting room and private veranda overlooking the tropical forests and Virunga Mountains. As well as enjoying wildlife encounters, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge also conducts private village tours letting you learn more about the local community.

Singita Kwitonda Lodge

A sustainable base situated within Volcanoes National Park, Singita Kwitonda Lodge is a well-considered and unique resort. With the ethos of "touching the earth lightly", the lodge isn't just somewhere to stay but is also committed to rehabilitating the local flora and fauna - including the endangered mountain gorillas.

With a total of eight suites, your stay is sure to be intimate. And, as each of the suites includes its own private plunge pool, outdoor fireplace and in-room massage area, you'll be able to relax and unwind in these tranquil surroundings fully. There is also a four-bedroom villa for larger groups, and children of all ages are welcome.
The sunset over the Rwandan hills
The sunset over the Rwandan hills

Luxury Itineraries in Rwanda

Why not consider an itinerary if you want to explore more of Rwanda? With our luxury itineraries, you'll see even more of this captivating country. We have two fantastic options to consider.

Unique Rwanda

Spanning eleven nights, this itinerary will take you to four of the most exciting parts of Rwanda. Not only will you be able to trek in Volcanoes National Park to witness gorillas in their natural habitat, but you'll also visit the capital city of Kigali, Akagera National Park and Nyungwe Forest National Park. In Akagera National Park, you'll be able to enjoy a traditional African safari experience. Then, journey to Nyungwe Forest National Park to see amazing chimpanzees and over 310 species of birds.

Remarkable Rwanda with One&Only Resorts

Crafted by expert luxury holiday providers One&Only Resorts, this eight-night itinerary is perfect for those who want to enjoy Rwanda's most enchanting destinations. As you travel, you'll learn more about Rwandan culture through guided tours and cultural visits, and of course, enjoy the amazing wildlife including mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and golden monkeys. Plus, your transfer between the national parks will be an exciting helicopter tour over the fantastic canopy. You'll be able to stay at two One&Only Resorts during your trip, including One&Only Gorilla's Nest in Volcanoes National Park and One&Only Nyungwe House in Nyungwe National Park.
Are you looking to inspire your wanderlust? Our our luxury travel blog is filled with destination advice and travel guides ready to explore.
Karl Page

Karl Page

Digital Experience Manager

With a genuine love for all things travel, I love exploring new destinations and discovering something new, gaining a wealth of experience in luxury holidays along the way.

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