(Parc National des Volcans, Kigali, Nyungwe)
A once-in-a-lifetime experience, this adrenaline adventure celebrates mankind’s relationship with nature and ultimately primates. Travel deep into the heart of Central Africa in search of mankind’s closest relatives – the endangered and rare mountain gorilla. Led by private guide and driver you’ll safari through Parc National des Volcans – where primatologist Dian Fossey under took her pioneering studies of mountain gorilla behavior, Kigali – Rwanda’s resilient capital and Nyungwe Forest National Park – home to chimpanzees, other primates and over 100 kinds of different orchids. Spend time hiking and share precious time with these rare animals. Enjoy the breathtaking sights, smells, and sounds of this rarely seen mountain region. Encounter elephants, buffalo, an assortment of different monkey species, exotic birds and much more . Featuring bustling markets, traditional cuisine, stylish accommodations, private transfers, expert guide and 24/7 support this active exhibition is sure to please even the most intrepid explorer.
NOTE: Gorilla permits are secured with you trip's deposit. Once secured they are non-refundable. It will take 24-48 hours to secure the purchase from the authorities as they are sold on a first come first served basis. The park authority/management reserves the right to cancel any permit without any refund or further reference.
While you are in the care of Kensington Tours, your safety and security are our number one priority. As such, in the unlikely event of serious illness or injury, all Kensington Tours clients are covered by “Flying Doctors” Insurance policy. This emergency evacuation insurance covers the cost of the evacuation flight back to Nairobi for treatment. This insurance policy however DOES NOT cover the cost of any medical treatment received. We highly recommend travel insurance for full coverage.
Take your flight from Nairobi to Kigali today. The flight duration is approximately 1hr 30mins.
A private vehicle with English speaking driver will provide a transfer today from Kigali to Parc National des Volcans. The approximate travel time is 2 hours and 30 minutes.
The Park des Volcanoes is located in the Virunga Mountains, a magnificent chain of dormant volcanoes in the North of the country, and home to the world´s last surviving mountain Gorilla populations, currently a mere 700 individuals. After breakfast you will depart the lodge and drive for approximately 1 hour to the Park Headquarters where you will meet with excellent local guides and trackers who will provide an informative session on the etiquette of gorilla trekking. After the session the hike into the forest begins. A full day trek with your guide through the park is a reasonably strenuous activity which can last the morning or all day as you seek out the gorilla families. The guide will take you to where the gorillas were seen the night before and begin to track them from that point. The trekking can take from 1 to 6 hours and climb to altitudes not in excess of 7,500 feet. The terrain is rough and at times quite muddy. Once the gorillas are located all the aches and fatigue of the trek are forgotten, as the experience is often described as finding a hidden natural treasure in the mist. Viewing time is limited to one hour, and only 8 maximum are allowed per group. Visitors are asked to maintain a distance of 7m (about 22 feet) from the gorillas. Cameras and plenty of fast speed film are recommended. It can rain at anytime in the forest, so waterproof clothing is recommended for you, your cameras and film. Please note that plastic (e.g. carrier / shopping) bags are illegal in Rwanda. Kids under age 15, or people sick with a cold, flu or other contagious illness, are not allowed to visit the gorillas.
PERMITS MUST BE PAID IN FULL AT TIME OF CONFIRMATION AND ARE NON-REFUNDABLE.
An exhilarating trek through the cultivated foothills of the Virungas offers stirring views in all directions. Then, abruptly, the trail enters the national park, immersing trekkers in the mysterious intimacy of the rainforest, alive with the calls of colourful birds and chattering of the rare golden monkey, and littered with fresh spoor of the mountains' elusive populations of buffalo and elephant. Through gaps in the forest canopy, the magnificent peaks are glimpsed, easily accessible and among the highest in Africa, beckoning an ascent.
Prepare your senses for an explosion of culture and emotion during today’s excursion through Kigali. Begin by visiting some of the popular market places to view and purchase if you’d like some of the local products. Next, you’ll travel to a location stained with heart aching cultural history, The Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. This tragic memorial was constructed in April 2004 to honour those whom lost their lives during the Rwandan Genocide. The centre was built on the site where an estimated 250000 victims were buried. This location serves as a place where individuals can grieve the loss of their loved ones as well as to provide educational information regarding the genocide. Rwandans believe that although the gruesomeness and painful emotions associated with this tragedy may be construed as negative it is extremely important that the younger generations of Rwandans fully understand the reasons and effects of such an event on a nation. The Centre features three permanent exhibits which depict the events of 1994, as well as a children’s memorial which exhibits the history of genocidal violence towards children from all over the world.
Enjoy your private transfer between the airport and hotel.
Flight from Kigali (KGL) to Cyangugu / Kamembe (KME) with Rwanda air. Flight departs at 08:00 am - 08:25 am.
Early morning transfer to/from the airport offered by Nyungwe Forest Lodge.
Take breakfast and go for chimp tracking experience in Nyungwe! You will observe L’hoest monkeys and blue monkeys around Uwinka after a less strenuous hike. An orchid garden with over 100 species of Orchids at Uwinka is another feature you shouldn’t miss. For those interested in a more strenuous hike , staff highly recommend the the Bigugu Mountain trail which takes you to the highest peak in Nyungwe Forest at 3000m above sea level.
Flight from Cyangugu / Bukavu (KME) to Kigali (KGL) with Rwanda air. Flight departs at 08:55 am - 09:20am.
Relax during this short flight departing Kigali, Rwanda and traveling to the urban hub of Nairobi, Kenya. The approximate flight time is 1 hour and 30 minutes.
A privately driven vehicle will provide you with a transfer between the hotel and airport. After your guide has loaded up your luggage you will be driven through Nairobi admiring some of the sights (time permitting). Your guide will brief you on your itinerary en-route.
The Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is conveniently placed at the feet of the Virungas, the striking volcano mountains through which so many hike in order to catch a glimpse of mountain gorillas. The 8 cottages and suites are structured so as to give guests the most all-encompassing view, promising privacy, a vast countryside, and beautifully decorated quarters. Dining is a similarly pleasing experience, with a variety of fare meeting the standards of even the most discerning traveler. Staff here are extremely helpful, all possessing a very caring nature, and a willingness to assist guests. Besides visiting the famed mountain gorillas, be sure to check out the local marketplaces and find out more about local community projects.
The Serena Hotel is considered the best hotel in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Meeting and surpassing the already high standards set by the luxurious Serena Hotels chain is no easy feat. The Serena Kigali manages this with its 104 rooms and suites, each individually immaculate, clean, and refined in decor. Dining is a treat, where one will never get sick of the extensive menus, created to please all guests. Staff is always available, friendly, and hospitable, offering incomparable service and care. Activities include swimming pool, shopping, and fully equipped gym. On some nights, the hotel even has live music playing at the poolside.
Nyungwe Forest Lodge is a haven for primates in Africa’s largest mountain rainforest – right at your doorstep. Designed to fit harmoniously within its beautiful natural surroundings, Nyungwe Forest Lodge offers guests exceptional 5 star comforts and ensures an experience rich in local culture, fluently fused with quality service and African courtesy. The lodge is situated in Gisakura, a working tea plantation, on the edge of the Nyungwe National Park. The Nyungwe Forest is the largest mountain rainforest on the African continent with over 13 different species of primates, representing 20% of all the apes in Africa.
May 11, 2015
"We were a group of 5 to Morocco. We were impressed at how seamless our private guided tour went. Accommodations were five star, the choice of family run hotels, beautifully appointed with Moroccan furnishings and large breakfasts, contributed to our experience. Our guide, Ishmail and driver, Abdul, made us feel like family. Ishmail showed off his country with pride, listened to our needs and was flexible to our style and speed of travel. We couldn't be happier with our Kensington experience beginning with the pre-planning in the US with Lily Baffour. Thank you very much for a memorable experience! "
May 12, 2015
"Our guide, Chakim, was fantastic, and our driver was excellent. We were very pleased with our accommodations. Only negative comments would be the villa in Essaouira (room, food, service not good although people very nice), and, while probably not an issue for other travelers, we were disappointed that we could not relax over a glass of wine at the end of our journey because Hotel Le Doge did not offer alcoholic beverages. We are currently scheduled with Kensington Tours for India in November and we are now planning on scheduling with Kensington for all our trips - right now that would be Thailand to Mynamar, and Egypt with Dubai extension. We are extremely happy with Kensington Tours and their travel agents. We would recommend Lily Balfour to anyone. "
April 08, 2015
"Kensington and its partners did not miss a single deadline, appointment or function to our total satisfaction. The result, no stress and total enjoyment."
April 08, 2015
"Christine was absolutely superb both in helping us frame and develop a custom tour as well as in constant follow up until we left. Inevitably things will change on the ground when trips are planned in advance and Christine was consistently on top of the changes and advised us accordingly. As first time travelers to Kenya and Tanzania Christine's advice and guidance was simply excellent. Rose, in Kensington's Nairobi office was likewise superb. Totally responsive to our needs, she helped make a few final adjustments while we were there. Once again, an exceptional experience made possible by Kensington."
Sachi Gowda ,
December 15, 2014
"We are extremely happy with your service from beginning to end and we had very a memorable trip."
Ronald Jones ,
December 12, 2014
"I cannot express how fabulous our trip was!! I know it was made that way thanks to ALL the kind, knowledgable, and helpful people that you all placed in our path. Many went above and beyond to make our experience even more positive. From drivers, to guides, to hotel staff---we met some wonderful people that we can now call friends. Thank you Christine and Kensington tours for this once in a lifetime African adventure!"
December 15, 2014
"Christine, our family trip was ALL we wanted it to be. The hotel accommodations in the cities were GREAT. We needed to make some room assignment adjustments but that's to be expected with a large family with children and same names.
I don't know where/how ya'll got those guides but...KEEP'EM! In both Cape Town and Joberg the guys knew their cities and environs excellently. Their English was very good...so good in fact that several got the sarcasm and even joked some. I do apologize if we over-tipped. I relied on each family to tip their own driver but, I wasn't sure of their "sense of what was right" so I followed up with something for each.
Simbavati was "PERFECT". As much as Glenda and I really liked Ngala, I do not think they could have handled a family as well...UNLESS, they had accommodations we did not see.
Please rest assured when ever I plan to travel on a multi-dimensional trip in the future, for sure with a group, or maybe just Glenda and I, I'll be calling Kensington... Christine and Donna specifically. And most definitely, anytime I can recommend a travel professional, your company and you two will be mentioned by name!
Thank you again Christine...you presented us the exact trip we dreamed about for our family and your folks on the ground made it happen! I sincerely hope you, Donna and everyone else involved have a most Blessed Christmas and a wonderful, successful New Year!"
Bruce Lundstrom ,
December 15, 2014
"Morocco has a lot to offer. Food, historic sites, craftsmen (rugs, jewelry, ceramics, furniture, etc.), natural beauty, roads and infrastructure, and a reasonably safe environment. Both Guide (Abdel) and Driver were excellent. Service-oriented, timely and easy going. Abdel was not afraid to speak his mind, offer suggestions and give us feedback on ideas. We enjoyed their company."
December 09, 2014
"A truly wonderful trip......first class accommodations and service in each venue....the guides were knowledgable and went out of their way to insure that we could see and understand Africa. Capetown is a fascinating city, Sabi Sands an extraordinary private game preserve, and Zimbabwe with Victoria Falls and the Victoria Falls Hotel a once in a lifetime experience. For those who want to visit Africa we enthusiastically recommend Kensington Tours. And Jolene Plant stayed with us in every step during the planning of our trip and itinerary. We saw as much of Africa as much as anyone can during our two weeks vacation."
Belinda Skelton ,
December 12, 2014
"This was one of the most amazing trips that I have ever had. The custom tours and activities exceeded my expectations. I was traveling alone but felt safe and in good hands. The process of booking the trip with Lily Baffour was so easy and personal, especially with the constant communications from her up to my departure. Thank you Kensington Tours for an awesome experience. I will definitely use you for my next adventure!"
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