Tiny landlocked Rwanda is characterised by undulating hilly and mountainous terrain, with rainforest on the western heights and heavily cultivated fields in the valleys below. From the central areas, the land slopes away to the savannahs and marshes of the east. Lying in the centre of the Albertine Rift in the western section of Africa’s Rift Valley means the country supports amazing diversity and endemism, from scenery and habitats to fauna and flora – conserved by several national parks. Aside from over a thousand plant species, 670 bird species and myriad reptiles and amphibians, Rwanda boasts some 151 mammal species, amongst which 15 are primates
The Gorilla Viewing experience
All “gorilla treks” begin at Park headquarters, where permits are obtained and groups of eight are allocated a particular gorilla group. Ten habituated groups can be tracked and observed in the Park with the maximum time spent viewing a group being one hour per day. While gorilla sightings and encounters are very reliable, viewing is dependent on variables such as weather and tracking conditions. The expedition can range in length from 1-8 km (0.5-5 miles) over steep country at high altitudes; including the time spent with a gorilla group, excursions can last between two and eight hours. Gorilla viewing protocols, based on IUCN guidelines for great ape viewing, are designed specifically to limit stress, behavioural impact, and potential disease transmission from humans to gorillas. They are critical for gorilla conservation.
Golden Monkey Trek
The golden monkey trek begins at Volcanoes National Park headquarters. This beautifully-coloured primate is endemic to the area and lives in groups of up to 30 individuals in the bamboo forest, its preferred source of food.
Guided Hikes in Volcanoes National Park
At 3 711 metres Mount Bisoke volcano is located on the border of the DRC and Rwanda. The guided hike to the summit is strenuous and requires a full day to complete. However, once at the top it is extremely beautiful and really worth the effort as you are rewarded with sweeping views of the rainforest and the amazing crater lake.
Wildlife and Cultural Interactions at Bisate Lodge
Bisate Lodge is located in the natural amphitheatre of an eroded volcanic cone – the word bisate means ‘pieces’ in Kinyarwanda, describing how the cone was once whole but worn away by natural erosion. The area has dramatic views of the peaks of the volcanoes Bisoke, Karisimbi and Mikeno rearing up through the Afro-alpine forests of nearby Volcanoes National Park. Six sumptuous en-suite rooms maximise comfort, warmth and views while retaining environmental principles and reflecting the culture of surrounding rural Rwanda.