Safari Overview

The Gorillas and Batwa experience in Mgahinga starts from Kigali and take a scenic drive across to Uganda’s Gorilla Forest Park of Mgahinga.

The vibrant Kigali city welcomes you with a historical tour, rich and very touching people experience. you will proceed to Uganda via Cyanika border.

Set in the foothills of the giant Volcanoes is Mount Gahinga National Park. The smallest park in Uganda harbors a family of Mountain Gorillas and the Batwa community who left the forest in favor of a national park in the early 1990s.

Safari highlights.

Day 1: Arrive at Kigali international airport -Transfer to the Hotel in Kigali city.
Day 2: Kigali city tour – Drive to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.
Day 3: Gorilla Tracking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park) & Afternoon village walk.
Day 4: Batwa trail in Mgahinga National Park – Afternoon caldera walk.
Day 5: Drive to Kigali – International flight.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Kigali – Transfer to the hotel.

Welcome to Rwanda! Adventure Consults Airport representatives will meet and assist you through customs. Collect the luggage and meet your personal/private guide for a transfer to the hotel.

Depending on arrival time, you may have a detailed briefing on your safari today or tomorrow before starting the safari.

Overnight accommodation is included on Bed & Breakfast basis.
Most hotels are about 25 minutes’ drive from the airport.
Inclusions: Bed & Breakfasts basis.
Exclusions: All meals and drinks.

Day 2: Kigali City tour – Drive to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Approx. 4 hours’ drive.

Meet your driver at the lobby for a briefing on your safari.

A visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial will give you an insight to the history and people of Rwanda! The memorial is a center of education, and peacebuilding and honors the memory of more than one million Rwandans who were killed in 1994. The three permanent exhibitions and burial gardens form part of a meaningful tribute to those who perished and provide a powerful educational tool for all.

The exhibition is shocking, provoking and attempts to piece together the causes and events of the three-month genocide which destroyed Rwanda in 1994.  Thousands of first-hand accounts are documented, and personal film footage and photography are showcased, illustrating the collection of events in a simple and striking way. No doubt, 99.9% of the Rwandan population were affected by the horrific violence of the genocide, a dark past that makes the present friendliness and goodwill of the country’s locals more inspiring.

A cup of coffee in Kigali and start for Uganda via the Northern province of Rwanda. The scenic drive is so thrilling as you get close to the highest mountains in the region. The land is green, misty, rocky, and forested. Cross to Uganda via Cyanika border post and proceed to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

The smallest National Park in Uganda, Mgahinga is about 33.7 square kilometers and sits high in the clouds between 2227 to 4127 meters above sea level. The Protected Area was named after one of the Virunga Volcanoes (Gahinga) and is part of the Virunga Conservation Area which also includes the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and the Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to 76 mammal species as well as 180 bird species that include 14 Albertine Rift endemics. The Park is popular for the endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys who live in the lower slopes of the Volcanoes.

After lunch, you have an option to relax at the lodge, photograph, enjoy the colorful Birds, butterflies, and breathtaking views of the giant volcanoes that makes the lodge outstanding.

Alternatively, go for a caldera walk. The magnificent dry Caldera is located at Gisozi Hill providing a Bird’s eye view of Kisoro town. The vantage point offers views stretching to as far as Bwindi Forest, Lake Mutanda and the five highest points of the Virunga Volcanoes. You will interact with the local communities, visit roadside markets, shops and get to learn more about the local lifestyles. The walk to the caldera prepares you to get ready for the following day’s adventure.

Meals and Overnight at the Lodge.
Standard inclusions: All Meals (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner).
Some lodges include drinks with exclusion of premium/imported wines and spirits.
Standard exclusions: All drinks.

Day 3: Gorilla tracking in Mgahinga – Afternoon Mgahinga platform walk.

Breakfast is always ready by 0500 hours, so ensure you have had yours by 0700 hours.

Meet your personal guide at the lounge and drive or walk to the Park Headquarters for a detailed briefing about Gorillas – see more information here – Gorilla information. Gorilla tracking starts at 0800 hours and is done once a day.

Experienced Wildlife guides along with trackers and porters will accompany you through the bamboo forest and hilly National Park.  The journey, through dense foliage and up steep climbs, leads you to lifetime experience of viewing mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.  After finding the Gorillas, you will have an opportunity to be within restricted distance. Watch them, follow them as you they share their daily lifestyles of feeding, grooming the young ones, taking care of each other and sometimes play up and down in the tree branches.

With an estimated 1,063 Gorilla population in the world, spending one hour with a Gorilla family is a once in a lifetime experience! You will later follow your footsteps and return to the forest edge, meet your guide, head back to the lodge.

Depending on trek duration, you have an option for a picnic lunch or have a warm meal at the lodge.

In the afternoon, you have an option to go for a platform walk. The walk that starts from the park headquarters is close to 1kms. It’s the best place for landscape photography. On a clear day, you will see all the three giant volcanoes that are a landmark to the region. Muhabura Volcano stands out higher than the two (Sabyinyo and Mgahinga).

Meals and Overnight at the Lodge.
Standard inclusions: All Meals (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner).
Some lodges include drinks with exclusion of premium/imported wines and spirits.
Standard exclusions: All drinks.

Day 4: The Batwa trail walk – Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Today is dedicated to visiting the Batwa community. These are known to be one of the oldest surviving indigenous people in the world. They a very special and unique group of people who lived in the bush and entire lifestyle depended on the forests. Just like the well-known ‘hunters and gatherers’ in history books, the Batwa used to collect plants and fruits for food, hunted any animals within their reach, lived in caves until 1991.

The walk is guided by Batwa themselves, so you are assured of an authentic experience. As you walk through their former home, they will demonstrate, tell stories of how lived before they left the forest. They will make fire using very simply tools (sticks and stones) and take you back to the old stone age period. You may participate in the mock hunting exercise, learn how to use a bow and arrow, and can taste the local brew.

The tour will end with a visit of Garama cave which is the main ancestral home where the King lived. The elder/king will be here waiting, Batwa ladies will dance and worship, you will participate in dancing, learn new words and be part of the tribe.

Return to the lodge late afternoon.

This afternoon, you will relax at the lodge, have a massage, or take a walk in the vast gardens of the lodge. If staying at a property near Kisoro town, you will take a guided walk to the local market and shops for an urban experience in the quiet town of southwestern Uganda.

Meals and Overnight at the Lodge.
Standard inclusions: All Meals (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner).
Some lodges include drinks with exclusion of premium/imported wines and spirits.
Standard exclusions: All drinks.

Day 5: Mgahinga – Kigali – International flight

After breakfast, follow your footsteps back to Kigali. You will have stunning views of the misty-covered volcanoes. Relevant stops at places of interest including Cyanika border post for customs.

Proceed to Kigali, have last minute craft shopping and later transfer to the airport in time for your flight. Today’s lunch is included in the safari package price.

Please book return/international flight departing flight not earlier than 1300 hours. check-in time is 3 hours in advance.

Where to stay while on a Gorillas and Batwa experience safari.

Accommodation in Kigali City; Kigali has got a variety of hotels to cater for all visitor categories. There are small boutique hotels with limited rooms as well as commercial hotels ranging from high end, midrange to budget. Kigali hotels are all on Bed & Breakfast basis.

  • The Retreat by Heaven.
  • Kigali Serena Hotel.
  • Hotel des Mille Collines.
  • Kigali Marriott Hotel.
  • Four Points by Sheraton.
  • Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Center.

Accommodation in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Mount Gahinga Lodge is the only luxury property closest to Mgahinga National Park. There are not many accommodation options and some of the available facilities are over one hour drive away from the park. Luckily, most of the properties have beautiful locations with views of the rolling hills, Lakes, farmlands, the Virunga Volcanoes, and the verdant green forests. Properties range from high-end, midrange to budget.

  • Mount Gahinga Lodge.
  • Mutanda Lake Resort.
  • Travelers Rest Hotel.
  • Kisoro Tourist Hotel.
  • Lake Chahafi Resort.