Gorilla Short Break Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Short Breaks
Destinations:
Rwanda
Programmes:
Wildlife
Trip Code:
WYG
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Moderate / Challenging

You are moderately fit and have an interest in remote or challenging environments. Some previous experience is required for activity based trips.

5 Days Flight Inclusive
3 Days Land only
16 Min age

Trip Overview

There are few experiences travelling that can compare to spending time with Mountain gorillas. Following a trek through the untamed jungle of the Virungas Mountains, the first sight of these close cousins is one that is likely to remain with you a long time. Watching them move about the foliage, juveniles playing under the watchful eye of the females and the giant form of the Silverback, the head of the family, can be emotional and enriching. This short 3-day break has no set departures but can be done as an exciting long weekend or as an extension to another trip when flying to or via East Africa.

At a Glance

  • Travel by 4x4 safari vehicle
  • 2 nights lodge
  • Group from 1 person up
  • 1 Gorilla permit included
  • There is no single tour leader but local staff
  • No set departures/contact us for price of flights

Trip Highlights

  • Spot mountain gorillas
  • Visit Volcanoes National Park

Is This Trip for You?

This is a short break which can be done as a long weekend or as an extension to other trips, whether these take place in Kenya or Tanzania or fly via Nairobi.
There is only minimal driving (about 3.5 hrs depending on traffic to get between Kigali and Ruhengeri, near where the gorillas are) and we stay in a comfortable lodge near the entrance to the park for 2 nights.
Tracking the gorillas can involve hiking up steep, muddy trails, at times through fairly untrodden paths. Gorilla families move around and whilst you can ask to be taken to a family which is closer or one further away, there is no guarantee as to whether this will be possible and you may have to walk up to 6hrs. Park rangers will try and send people to appropriate gorilla families based on their abilities but you should be a confident walker and have appropriate footwear.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
1
Max group size:
6

Itinerary

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Kigali; transfer to Ruhengeri

    Starting in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, you will be met upon arrival and will be transferred about 3 hours (traffic depending) to Ruhengeri and our lodge near the park entrance.

    Accommodation: Mountain View Gorilla Lodge or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Gorilla tracking

    Head to the park entrance where you will meet the rangers who will accompany you to your allocated gorilla family.

    The gorillas move around and different families are located closer or further from where the trek starts. It is possible to ask to visit a family which is a shorter or longer walk but this can’t be guaranteed. As a result the hike could last from just one or two hours to a full day. Porters are available (at an extra cost) to help carry your backpack.

    Whilst tourists are only allowed to spend one hour with the gorillas, rangers stay with them all day so know where they have made their nest so are easy to find again the following morning.

    The terrain can be slippery and steep in places and there are no trails as such. As a result a descent physical condition is needed for the trek. As you approach the family, you will be asked to leave all your belongings, other than camera, behind. At this point, it’s only a few more minutes till you actually reach the gorillas and spend time with them, a truly special experience.

    As the length of the trek is unknown until that day, nothing else is planned for the rest of the day. Late lunch back at the lodge

    Accommodation: Mountain View Gorilla Lodge or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 3

    Return to Kigali, visit Genocide Museum, end Kigali

    Leave the lodge for the drive back to Kigali. We visit the Genocide Memorial Centre. The museum, dedicated to the 1994 Rwanda genocide, is sensitively designed but can be a very emotional experience (please note depending on timings we may be able to visit the Genocide Memorial Centre on the first day before going to Ruhengeri). From here we transfer to the airport in time to catch your flight home or will drop you at your hotel in Kigali.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch

Accommodation

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

We normally stay in the simple but comfortable Mountain Gorillas View Lodge.

Situated a short distance from the entrance to the park, in the village of Kinigi, this lodge is made up of individual en suite cottages with their own sitting area and fire place for those cool evenings.

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners.

Meals are home-cooked at our lodge.

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

Despite being close to the equator, Rwanda’s high altitude means that it has a fairly temperate climate. Cloud cover is common and rain can occur year-round, even during the dry season. There are two dry seasons, the main one from June to September and a shorter one from December to February. The main rainy season is March to May with a lesser one in October and November. Temperatures are fairly constant year round, normally between 15 and 27’C.

Weather Information

Despite being close to the equator, Rwanda’s high altitude means that it has a fairly temperate climate. Cloud cover is common and rain can occur year-round, even during the dry season. There are two dry seasons, the main one from June to September and a shorter one from December to February. The main rainy season is March to May with a lesser one in October and November. Temperatures are fairly constant year round, normally between 15 and 27’C.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling land only: 3 days starting and ending in Kigali

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Kigali in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it. 

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

 

Location start:
Kigali
Location end:
Kigali

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Rwanda is a mountainous country and the area where the gorillas are found tends to be around 2,000m. As a result it can get cold, especially at night, and you should come prepared for both hot and cold weather. Waterproofs are also extremely useful.
Walking boots: for the gorilla trek as conditions under foot can be tough.
Gaiters can be useful
Gloves: for the gorilla trek as there can be stinging and sharp vegetation on the trek. Cheap gardening gloves would be fine.
Daypack or small bag
Head torch and spare batteries
Mosquito repellent
Sun hat, suncream and sunglasses
Refillable water bottle

Optional Equipment

Walking pole

Practical Information

Passport

Rwanda

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Rwanda

From 1 November 2014, British nationals entering Rwanda will be able to get a visa on arrival on payment of a fee. The fee is currently fixed at $50US for a 30 day tourist visa. You can also choose to get a visa in advance at any Rwandan diplomatic mission or online. For some other nationalities the visa must be applied for online in advance; please check with your local consulate.

If after visiting Rwanda, you will also travel to Uganda and Kenya, you may apply for East African Visa that will cover all three countries. You must apply online through the Rwanda Online Visa Application System for the EAC visa. Please contact the Rwandan High Commission to obtain more information about the combined visa from Rwanda.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Rwanda

Vaccination against Yellow Fever is necessary , and you must bring a valid certificate of vaccination. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Malaria prophylaxis is essential on this trip, and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take.

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Rwanda's Timezone:
Africa/Kigali CAT (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

Rwanda's Electricity:

Rwanda normally uses two‐round‐pin plugs like the ones used in mainland Europe.

Money

Rwanda's Currency

The national currency of Rwanda is the Rwanda Franc (RWF), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1068 to the UK£ and 805 to the US$.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

We recommend that you take most of your money in US Dollars cash. Any US dollars cash should be clean, unmarked notes and should be dated no earlier than 2000. It is advisable to bring a mix of denominations including some small notes.

ATM Availability

There are ATMs available, however, these do not always work with foreign cards. The lodge accepts cards, however due to poor reception for the card reader; cards cannot always be relied on and you should have cash as back up.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

There is very little to spend money on other than a few drinks at the lodge or souvenirs from the small shop as well as tipping.

 

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

 

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.