An encounter with the primates of Rwanda is a life-changing experience. In addition to the thrill of seeing the critically endangered mountain gorilla, chimpanzee and other primates in their own rainforest habitat, you will discover that ‘The Land of a Thousand Hills’ is a strikingly beautiful biodiversity hot spot with the friendliest people imaginable.

While you are here for the superb primate viewing – Rwanda is one of only three countries in the world where you can encounter both mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in the wild – Kigali, the leafy capital city, is the perfect introduction to this hospitable country. Delve into the history and culture of the country, and soak up the vibrant music scene, lively markets and great food in this thriving modern city.

Then it is time to discover great apes in the wild. The best place to track chimpanzee in their natural habitat is Nyungwe Forest National Park. Over 1 000km2 of ancient montane forests support these engaging creatures as well as a host of monkey species. Chimpanzee tracking is hugely exciting: it takes you off the beaten track through dense forests alive with the sights and sounds of all the creatures that thrive in this ecosystem. Next up is the profoundly moving experience and thrilling privilege of close contact with the iconic mountain gorilla in Volcanoes National Park, one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet.

A primate safari in Rwanda is a true adventure of a lifetime.


Itinerary overview

Duration7 days/ 6 nights
AccommodationSabyinyo Silverback LodgeNyungwe House
Suited ForAdventure; active great-apes experience; trekking & hiking; primate viewing
HighlightsGorilla trekking; chimpanzee tracking; spectacular untouched rainforests; biodiversity hotspot; birding; primates including L’Hoest’s, owl-faced and Ruwenzori black and white colobus monkeys

Itinerary in detail

Image of Kigali City

Friendly, tech-savvy Kigali City is the perfect springboard for African travels. The warmth of Rwanda’s people is legendary, and this vibrant capital city is a peaceful, thriving metropolis spread over lush hills in the centre of the country. A stay here gives you time to absorb the rich culture, crafts, traditions and music of Rwanda. Explore the lively markets and visit the poignant award-winning museums that pay homage to Rwanda’s tragic civil war history.

Image of Nyungwe House

An extensive network of hiking trails covering Nyungwe’s steep hills makes it perfect for novice and experienced hikers seeking adventure and unparalleled primate viewing in the mist-cooled rainforest. Sharing this lush habitat with you are habituated and wild chimp communities, 12 other primate species (including L’Hoest’s monkey, owl-faced monkey and black and white colobus monkey), 75 mammal species and over 300 bird species. This is a thriving wilderness!

Image of Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

Made famous by Dian Fossey’s ground-breaking work with these endangered great apes, Volcanoes National Park is ‘mountain gorilla central’. The exhilarating climb to the gorillas’ habitat of shady bamboo forest offers fantastic views in all directions. Once you are in the presence of these incredible creatures, you’ll have exactly one hour to observe them as they in turn scrutinise you. All agree that this is one of the most thrilling and poignant wildlife encounters you could have.

Accommodation in Rwanda

Nyungwe House

In lush green tea plantations in the foothills of Rwanda’s mountainous southwest, Nyungwe House is surrounded by ancient rainforest. Given its proximity to the age-old African montane habitat of Nyungwe Forest National Park – and its own tranquil setting, absolutely beautiful in its own right – Nyungwe House is the perfect base from which to track threatened primates, including chimpanzee, and unearth the secrets of this wild southern corner of Rwanda. The 22 luxury rooms and suites are clustered in six beautiful wooden villas, all designed to frame exceptional vistas of the forest. Private decks offer extraordinary secluded spaces from…

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Accommodation in Rwanda

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

Beautiful Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is the perfect accommodation choice for treks to see the critically endangered mountain gorilla. A 2½-hour drive on good roads from Kigali, Sabyinyo is a mere 3km from the main entrance to the neighbouring Parc National des Volcans, your departure point for gorilla trekking. Perched atop a steep hill, the rustic-style lodge itself – built of stone with Rwandese terracotta tile roofs – is wonderfully atmospheric. With spellbinding views, it fits beautifully into the lush, forested ecosystem of the surrounding Virunga Mountains volcanic chain. With just six cottages, two suites and one family cottage, Sabyinyo Silverback…

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