Intore Expeditions Rwanda

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Volcanoes National Park Tour

Home of Mountain Gorillas and Golden Monkeys!
Located in Northwestern Rwanda the park covers 160 km2 (62 sq mi) of rain-forest and encompasses five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains.

Volcanoes National Park is a gorgeous high-altitude destination in Rwanda.  The park was created in 1925. The entirety of the national park system lays in the Albertine Rift and crosses the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda.  The elevations of the park ranges from as low as 2,230 feet to 16,762 feet above sea level. In 1979, the National Park became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.   The park is home to not only the Mountain Gorillas ad Golden Monkeys, but also more than 3000 species of flora and fauna, and an incredible variety of birds.  While most people come to Volcanoes National Park to see the Mountain Gorillas, there are many more wonderful hikes and adventure to consider. This park has something for everyone.

Getting to Volcanoes National Park

Most will travel by car from Kigali to Musanze, the town near the park headquarters. This is where there are options for lodges or hotels, meals and walking around town. The drive is typically 2.5 -3 hours depending on traffic and photo stops. It is possible to leave Kigali about 4:40AM and drive to the park office for a day activity, but we find that most of our guests like to spend the night in the mountains and have a more leisurely start to their day. Please let us know if you have time constraints.

Gorilla Trekking and Volcanoes Activities

All the of the Virunga NP activities start at the Park Headquarters. Your driver guide will get you there and while he confirms your activity, meets with the park rangers as they organize the Gorilla trek groups, you will have time for tea or coffee, enjoy a local performance of the traditional Intore dancers and your last chance to use a toilet.

Once the groups have been organized you will meet the other participants (for Gorillas – no more than eight per group). You will be briefed about your activity on how to behave with the Gorillas and a bit of the family history. Each activity is a beautiful hike in the mountains, but there is not access to water, snacks, or bathrooms. Please bring water, a snack and if you feel it’s needed toilet paper with a bag to pack it out.

For those who wonder if they can manage the trek to see the gorillas, we offer this.  While the altitude is high there is NO rush to get anywhere.  The rangers are very good at ready the groups and will only go as fast as the slowest member of the group is comfortable.  The gorillas will not wait for you in the same spot all day, but there are trackers in the park communicating with your guide throughout your journey.  You will see them.  We also ask you to inform your driver guide if you would prefer an easier trek or one of the longer more difficult ones.

Some Sample Volcanoes National Park Tour Itineraries

Dear Guest,
Please understand that the below itineraries are offered as is or you can request for additions or subtractions to be made. For different options and inclusions, longer Safari’s please ask. Our goal is that you will have the experience that appeals to you the most and the trip to Africa you dream of.

Please Contact Us at Intore Expeditions Rwanda Today.

One Day Gorilla Trek – or One Gorilla Trek with Overnight

The one-day trek can be done by leaving Kigali early in the morning or by including overnight lodging in the Musanze area. If you would like to overnight, please let us know what kind of lodging you prefer, and we will happily arrange that for you.

Day 1: You will meet at the park offices and be assigned a family. Then depart for the parking and trail head. When you get to your destination you will be met by porters who will offer your local walking sticks and their services for hire to carry your pack. We recommend this for your comfort and a great way to support the local community, many of whom used to be poachers.

Includes: Private car and driver, round trip to and from Kigali. Up to four guests, comfortably. Could do five.
Gorilla permit. One per guest, must be at least 15 years of age. Should you decide to include overnight lodging – the cost will be based on double occupancy.

Does Not Include: Tips for driver, park guide, porters. Any of your own spending. Lunch or Alcohol.

Two Trek – Three Day Option

Day 1: Pick up in Kigali and drive to Musanze/ Ruhengeri.

Day 2: Early morning pick up heading to park headquarters. Once briefed by your park guide you will head out to the trail heads for your Gorilla Trek. other. Upon completion of your trek and time of day you may have time to stop at the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village. This is a great project that teaches you about some of the local traditions and employs local men and women with steady work so they no longer need to poach in the forest. You may also choose to head back to the lodge for some down time with a beverage and a display of local dancers and then dinner.

Day 3: Repeat of yesterday’s morning activity. You will meet your new hiking group and head to the trail. When you return your driver will be waiting for you when you can decide if it is time for lunch or take in the cultural village, if it was missed the day before. You will then drive back to Kigali in time for dinner.

Includes: Private car and driver, round trip to and from Kigali. Up to four guests, comfortably. Could do five.
Gorilla permit. One per guest, must be at least 15 years of age. Should you decide to include overnight lodging – the cost will be based on double occupancy.

Does Not Include: Tips for driver, park guide, porters. Any of your own spending. Lunch or Alcohol.

Four Trek Five Day Option

Day 1: Pick up in Kigali and drive to Musanze/ Ruhengeri.

Day 2: Early morning pick up heading to park headquarters. Once briefed by your park guide you will head out to the trail heads for your Dian Fossey Memorial Trek. other. Upon completion of your trek and time of day you may have time to stop at the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village. This is a great project that teaches you about some of the local traditions and employs local men and women with steady work so they no longer need to poach in the forest. You may also choose to head back to the lodge for some down time with a beverage and a display of local dancers and then dinner.

Day 3: Golden Monkey trek.

Day 4: Gorilla Trek.

Day 5: Gorilla Trek – When you return your driver will be waiting for you when you can decide if it is time for lunch or time to take in the cultural village if it was missed the day before. You will then drive back to Kigali in time for dinner.

*The order of this week’s trek will be based on the availability of the permits, so we ask for your flexibility. If you prefer a different order, please let us know so that we can do our best to provide you with your preferred schedule.

Includes: Private car and driver, round trip to and from Kigali. Up to four guests, comfortably. Could do five. Lodging at Gorilla Mountain View Lodge Full board  *unless a request for a different lodge or upgrade is requested. Based on double occupancy. All permits required for Virunga NP activities. See our list of Park sponsored activities and ages.

Does Not Include: Tips for driver, park guide, porters. Any of your own spending. Lunch or Alcohol.

Three Trek Five Day Option

Day 1: Pick up in Kigali and drive to Musanze/ Ruhengeri.

Day 2: Early morning pick up heading to park headquarters. Once briefed by your park guide you will head out to the trail heads for your Dian Fossey Memorial Trek. Upon completion of your trek and time of day you may have time to stop at the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village. This is a great project that teaches you about some of the local traditions and employs local men and women with steady work, so they no longer need to poach in the forest. You may also choose to head back to the lodge for some down time with a beverage and a display of local dancers and then dinner.

Day 3: Golden Monkey trek.

Day 4: Gorilla Trek. Upon completion of trek your driver will take you to Lake Kivu and Gisenyi. This is a wonderful way to really unwind and see a very different park of Rwanda. Depending on your arrival time you will be able to go out on the water in the evening to experience local fishermen getting started for their overnight on the lake fishing for Sambaza. Then return for dinner and a quiet night sleep.
Lodging at either the Kivu Serena or Paradis Malahid.

Day 5: In the morning you will enjoy breakfast by the lake. If you did not go out with the fishermen at night you may have the chance to join them early in the morning and return with them to the lake shore. Then enjoy breakfast and have a Kayaking or biking tour. You will then drive back to Kigali around 2 or 3PM in order to be in Kigali before dark.

Includes: Private car and driver, round trip to and from Kigali. Up to four guests, comfortably. Could do five.
Gorilla permit. One per guest, must be at least 15 years of age. Should you decide to include overnight lodging – the cost will be based on double occupancy.

Does Not Include: Tips for driver, park guide, porters. Any of your own spending. Lunch or Alcohol.

*The order of this week’s trek will be based on the availability of the permits, so we ask for your flexibility.  If you prefer a different order, please let us know so that we can do our best to provide you with your preferred schedule.

Volcanoes National Park Activities

Mountain Gorilla Trekking. Must be15.
Golden Monkey Trekking. Must be 12.
Dian Fossey Memorial Hike. Must be 15.

Caves. Must be 12.
The caves are filled with both natural and cultural lore. The enormous opening leads you into the caves that are about 1.25 miles long. The cave is home to very large number bats. For centuries these caves used to be used a shelter during times of war. Today they are a highlight for tourist, adventure seekers and photographers. This is a great add on activity for an afternoon that takes about 2.5 hours. While here is limited access and only with a guide, it is a great activity for any time of the year.

Bisoki. Must be 15. Inexperienced hikers could take 6-7 hours plus 2 hours descending. More experienced hiker might be able to complete the hike in 4-5 hours.

Muhabura (The Guided). Must be 15.
At 13,540 feet the hike from the base to its peak is 5,000 feet. Though it’s the 2nd tallest mountain in Rwanda, it is also the most difficult hike due to how the steep trail and that you must complete the round-trip hike one day.

Muhabura – Gahinga

Karisimbi (Snow). Must be 15.
This is an inactive volcano on the border of Rwanda and the DRC. It is the highest mountain of the eight in the range standing at 14,787ft.

Gahinga (small pile of stones) Must be 15.
This is the smallest of the mountains and has a vegetation variety often referred to as Afro-montane, the main plant species is bamboo.

Sabyino (tooth) Must be 12.
The summit of Sabyino is 12,037ft.

Buhanga Ecological Park a day in nature. No age limit

Walk in Nature Kid friendly, must be 5.
This is an exhilarating hike through the foothills and into the national park, witnessing the amazing views that surround you. Discover the immense beauty of the space that gorilla, golden monkey, forest elephant, buffalo, birds, and more call home.

Other add on Options:

Kayaking or Canoeing. Depending on the water level kayaking down the Mukugungwa is an absolute blast and a delight to see local life happen as you float by and under the bridges.

Mountain Biking
Mountain biking can be a great stand-alone activity or one to add on as and additional day activity or a short afternoon ride. We are happy to provide more information when requested.

Virunga Mountain Sprites Opening September 2024
Based in Musanze at the base of Virunga Mountains, Virunga Mountain Spirits will be opening a distillery and Grill. Virunga Mountain Spirits not only is creating exceptional Potato Vodka –“Kari Vodka”, It is also creating economic and advancement opportunities for women. Virunga Mountain Sprits also know the importance of being Eco-friendly with consideration to waste, noise, fumes/pollution

For different tour options and inclusions, longer Safari’s Please Contact Our Office. Our team’s primary goal is that you will have the experience that appeals to you the most and the African trip of a life time.