Endangered Golden Monkey
Rwanda is an untamed wilderness and Volcanoes National Park is one of the last strongholds of the mountain gorillas. An encounter with these magnificent animals is not only extraordinary but humbling.
“noone who looks into a gorilla’s eyes - intelligent, gentle, vulnerable- can remain unchanged…” [George Schaller]
Visitors can also trek to see the endangered golden monkeys, take a trip to one of the nearby lakes, or climb one of the region's volcanoes, of which Mount Karisimba is the highest at 4,507 metres.
Thanks to the work and love of Dian Fossey, the American zoologist who came to Rwanda in the 1960s to study the primates and ultimately sacrificed her life to protect them, the gorillas are now safeguarded and numbers are thankfully on the increase. Volcanoes Park is a mere 2 hour drive from Kigali and permits allow visitors to trek in search of the gorillas into the jungle of the Virunga Mountains. Within the park lies Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge with magnificent views and the elegant Virunga Lodge – both offer a welcome retreat after a long days trek.
The highlight of any holiday to Rwanda is spending time with the gorillas but if you take a safari into both the Volcanoes and Nyungwe National Parks you will be rewarded with other fabulous wildlife sightings. For those that wish to explore more of this fascinating country a trip to the Volcanic Lakes should be high on your list. Lake Kivu is the largest and most famous and offers a variety of water sports while Lake Bulera and Ruhondo are close to Volcanoes National Park and combine easily with gorilla trekking. The now vibrant capital of Kigali is also well deserving of a stop – whilst here a visit to the Genocide Museum is simultaneously information and heart-breaking.
For a more in depth primate experience you may wish to visit Uganda’s gorillas or Tanzania’s chimpanzees at the same time. You can easily add a short trip to Rwanda onto an existing Kenyan and Zambian itinerary.