Enchanting rainforest, evergreen bamboo trees and dramatic seismic scenery populate the striking Volcanoes National Park - the oldest in Africa - which nestles in northwestern Rwanda, while bordering Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Undoubtedly the park’s greatest allure is its large population of mountain gorillas – it is one of just two places in the world in which they can be spotted. Join an expert tracker on a truly once-in-a-lifetime trek in search of these fascinating creatures, look out for endangered golden monkeys as you explore, or enjoy a rich cultural experience by visiting local villages and learning more about the Rwandan way of life.
The main allure to the park and for good reason, the bamboo-covered upper slopes are home to around 300 mountain gorillas, a rare and elusive species that is only found in two places on the planet. Join an expert guide and tracker as you hike through the park in search of these incredible animals (with whom humans share around 98% of their DNA!) learning more about how they live and setting eyes on these gentle giants. Such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity includes certain requirements and rules to ensure the safety of both you and the gorillas, which you will be fully advised of before booking. You must also note that the high-altitude hiking terrain can be steep, muddy and dense – worth it for the indescribable thrill you will feel! Please note: gorilla-viewing permits cost from $1,500 (US) per person and are in high demand. We recommend booking well in advance.
As well as the gorillas, the Volcanoes National Park's bamboo vegetation also houses a population of golden monkeys, a rare species that is officially listed as endangered. A knowledgeable tracker and guide will take your small group through the jungle in search of these charming, cheeky creatures as they jump between trees.
Dian Fossey's Karisoke Research Camp
Dian Fossey was a primatologist and conservationist best known for her extensive study of mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park, founding the Karisoke Research Centre in Rwanda’s Virunga mountains to protect these endangered creatures. Since her death, her work has continued through the centre, which you can visit while in the park. Learn more about the ongoing research and protection practices of gorillas, as well as exploring the interactive exhibit – featuring Dian Fossey artefacts, casts of gorilla’s nose prints and much more!
Rwanda’s high season falls between June and September and then December to February, due to the lack of rain and pleasant temperatures. The rainy seasons fall between February and April and then October to November, though this can often be characterised by quick showers, so the park can certainly be enjoyed year-round and gorilla trekking occurs throughout.
British Airways direct from London Heathrow to Entebbe and Nairobi. Onward connecting flights with Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Rwandair Express and Air Uganda from Entebbe to Kigali. Kenya Airways and Rwandair Express from Nairobi to Kigali. There are other routes available to Kigali - just ask your Luxury Travel Specialist.
From London Heathrow to Entebbe and Nairobi: 8 hours, 25 minutes.
Onward connecting flights from Nairobi and Entebbe to Kigali: 1 hour, 20 minutes.
From Kigali, it takes approximately 2.5 hours to reach Volcanoes National Park by road. Helicopter transfers can also be arranged – just ask your Luxury Travel Specialist for more details.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit Insect and tick bite avoidance.
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCDO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: Foreign Travel Advice. Additional sources of information include: Public Health England, The National Travel Health And Network Centre, Foreign And Commonwealth Office and your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.