Gorilla tracking ranks among one of the absolute highlights of a trip to Eastern Africa for most travellers. The spine-tingling feeling that you get being so near to one of our closest relatives is one to never forget. Gorilla tracking can be done in Volcanoes National Park.
Chimp's share an estimated 94% of their DNA with humans and many of their behavoirs may remind you of a close cousin. One of the highlights of any trip to Rwanda is the opportunity to get up close and personal with these apes in their natural environment. Nyungwe provides haven to 25% of all African primate species, and you are likely to come across at least one troop of collobus monkeys during your stay in the forest.
Volcanoes National Park is home to two habituated Golden Monkey groups, each consisting of more than eighty monkeys. These rare and endangered monkeys, only found on the hills of the volcanoes in Rwanda and southern Uganda. The tracking is similar to the tracking to the gorillas, as it is performed in a group of up to eight people plus rangers. Once the golden monkeys are located in the forest you can stay with the monkeys for one hour. They love to jump, swing and play; photographing these special species will therefore be a true challenge.
Besides the chimpanzee tracking, Nyungwe offers a unique canopy walk. This walk runs along a ridge before climbing a 50m-high platform and a suspended walkway above a steep and deep valley stretching across the massive forest and lasts about 1½ hours. It takes you through some beautiful foliage and animal species. You have a chance to spot blue monkeys and unique birds that dwell in the upper levels of the forest.
On the shores of Lake Kivu is a hiking trail of no less than 227 kilometers long, called the 'Congo Nile Trail'. In recent years, this route has become one of the most famous hiking trails in Rwanda. The aim of the walking route is to give visitors a glimpse into local life along the route, to let them experience the beautiful natural beauty and of course also to generate income for the inhabitants. The trail can be covered entirely or partly, on foot, by mountain bike, or on water with a kayak from the towns Gisenyi or Kibuye. A wonderful experience for nature lovers, as well as a good introduction to the local Rwandan life.
During this hike you will visit ‘Karisoke Research Centre’, the research center that was home to primatologist Dian Fossey during her research on the mountain gorillas. The hike to the center takes about three hours, and on the way there are beautiful views of the forest and you will come across a variety of monkeys and bird species. The research center is no longer completely intact, but the rangers will paint a good picture of how life/research on the mountain used to be. You will also visit Dian Fossey's former home and her peaceful grave, located alongside the grave of her favorite gorillas.