After the arrival of the group flights, we head to Ruhengeri and Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda which is our base for the next few days.
Today is a highlight of our trip, a day of tracking to find a family of Mountain gorillas. Owing to the very nature of the terrain and the need to explore in order to find the gorillas, there are no paths to follow and our guides will occasionally need to cut a way through the undergrowth. At times there are some steep ascents and descents over muddy slopes, so strong footwear is essential. You must expect a minimum of three hours walking to find the gorillas. Despite the challenging terrain, the rain forest scenery makes the walking very interesting, and to be close to the gorillas in their natural habitat is an experience you will never forget. An adult male can weigh up to 195kg, a female up to 100kg, and a male can reach 1.7m in height. The gorillas are almost exclusively vegetarian and are quite destructive eaters, which makes them unpopular with the farmers lower down the mountain slopes - they have been known to wreck a whole field of crops just to eat one plant. For this reason, and also because of poaching, the gorillas are very carefully protected. We can venture to within eight metres of the gorilla families with reasonable safety as, in spite of their reputation, they are gentle creatures and are not known to attack unless very severely provoked. Also, we do not venture any closer because the gorillas are very susceptible to human disease - please note that anyone with a cold or any similar ailment may not be allowed near to the gorillas.
We head into the park again today to track the Golden Monkey, another endangered member of the primate family. Very little is known of the Golden Monkey and it is only in recent years that researchers have started to collate more information. The only population of these monkeys is in Parc National des Volcans; previously there were families found in Nyungwe Forest. They mainly live in the bamboo and so are harder to spot, but this is what our tracker is there to do. In the afternoon transfer to the twin lakes - Bulera and Ruhondo where we have free time for optional activities.
Today is left free for optional activities including a second gorilla trek (which must be arranged in advance).
We head back to Kigali in the morning. In the afternoon there is a city tour of this small but fascinating city. There will be an opportunity to go to the Rwanda Genocide Museum, a sombre but enlightening visit.