Once-in-a-Lifetime Gorilla Experience



Once-in-a-Lifetime Gorilla Experience Once-in-a-Lifetime Gorilla Experience
4 Days from $2,770 p/p in USD Departures: Mar

This is an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience, tracking gorillas in Virunga National Park, home to these critically endangered primates. You trek through mountain forest and once close to a gorilla family are able to stay with them for an hour - a truly unforgettable experience. Sustainable tourism is embraced in this region by Kahuzi-Biega and Virunga National Parks in DR Congo, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and the National Parks of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest alongside Mgahinga Forest in Uganda. Virunga Community Program ensures a high level of tourist satisfaction, meaningful experiences and awareness about sustainability issues. This trip gives you a chance to experience the very best attractions within the unique Virunga massif on the Rwanda side.


  • Country:
  • You will visit:
    Kigali, Musanze, Virunga National Park
  • Tour type:
    guided, small group
  • Safari standard:
    luxury, mid-range
  • Wildlife:
    Mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, antelope, elephants, buffalo
  • Viewing by:
    City tour, cultural visit, gorilla trekking
  • Getting around:
    4x4 safari vehicle
  • Arrive/Depart:
    Start/end Kigali


  • Gorilla trekking
  • Golden monkeys
  • Culture experience
  • Local community activities
  • Banana beer experience 
  • Local hiking


Day by Day

Day 1:  Arrive Kigali and travel to Musanze 

On arrival at Kigali International Airport, you will be met by Virunga Programs driver/guide and your day starts with a complimentary tour of the city. Named in 1907 by Dr. Richard Kandt, the first colonial resident governor of Rwanda, Kigali city is surrounded by lush green hills and is referred to as 'the land of a thousand hills'. Visit interesting spots which may include the craft market, Gisozi genocide memorial site and Kigali museum.

Afterwards depart for a 2 hour drive to Musanze, the second largest town in Rwanda, with its stunning backdrop of five volcanic mountains – The Virungas. Arrive at Red Rocks Intercultural Exchange Center for lunch before joining the local brew makers to understand the chemistry of the process of brewing a local beer from bananas. If you find the activity interesting enough you can join the women in squeezing the juice out of the bananas and drink a glass of juice (optional). Understand how long juice takes to turn into alcohol after adding in sorghum flour. Enjoy a big glass of our local brew if you feel like it! Among other activities they also do basket weaving in this local community, an activity which supports local families financially. Later drive to your hotel for dinner and overnight.

  • Driving distance: 2 hours
  • Activities: City Tour and Intercultural Exchange
  • Overnight: Garden Place Hotel | Five Volcanoes Lodge | Virunga Lodge   
  • Meal Plan: Full board – lunch, dinner, bed & breakfast 

Day 2:  Gorilla Tracking

After an early breakfast, you will proceed to the Virunga National Park headquarters, Kinigi, to meet your guides for the day. After completing park formalities, you embark on a once-in-a-lifetime experience of tracking mountain gorillas. Once you spot them you are allowed to spend an hour watching your closest long lost cousin. This is perhaps one of the most breathtaking wildlife experiences on earth. You get so close to these awesome giant primates, staring at each other blankly not knowing who will break the long silence first. Tracking the gorillas through the light mountain forest on the slopes of the Virunga is a magical experience. These massive primates are extremely rare with less than 900 living today. You will get within meters of the family and be privileged to spend an hour amongst them.

The trekking may be fairly strenuous, up to six hours or longer at a relatively high altitude. We encourage you, for your own enjoyment, to make sure that you are perfectly fit and healthy. (We’ve had people of 70 years old do gorilla tracking so this should not be a problem, all you need is to ask your driver guide to request a shorter group trip for you if you cannot trek far). It is important to bring good hiking boots, long trousers, gloves for protection against stinging nettles, some snacks & sweets (for you, not the gorillas) as well as sufficient water as the rain forest gets hot and humid during the day. You will spend one hour with the gorillas, but it is an hour you will never forget. Return to your hotel for lunch and later dinner and overnight.

  • Driving distance: 45 minutes or less
  • Activities: 1 Gorilla Trek
  • Overnight: Garden Place Hotel | Five Volcanoes Lodge | Virunga Lodge   
  • Meal Plan: Full board – lunch, dinner, bed & breakfast 

Day 3:  Golden Monkey trek and travel to Kigali

Today, after an early breakfast, you will be driven to the National Park Headquarters to meet your guides again for your Golden Monkey trekking experience. With only a small number left worldwide, the golden monkey can be found in the foothills of the Volcanic Mountain Chain (Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda, Virunga National Park, DRC and Mgahinga National Park, Uganda). Characterized by its bright golden body, cheeks and tail, with constrasting black limbs, crown and tail end, these playful primates are a pleasure to watch. Afterwards you drive to Kigali for an overnight stay.

  • Driving distance: 2 hrs
  • Activities: 1 Golden Monkey Trek
  • Overnight: Overnight: Great Seasons Hotel | Lemigo Hotel | Kigali Serena Hotel
  • Meal Plan: Bed & breakfast

Day 4:  City tour and shopping 

Engage in last minute shopping in one of the friendliest African capitals, before returning to the airport for your international flight back home or onward destination.

  • Driving distance: 15 minutes
  • Activities: City tour
  • Overnight:  0
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast



From USD 2770 per person - Standard Package

Minimum Group Size: 1-2 persons

  • Transport in a 4WD safari vehicle exclusive to you
  • English speaking driver guide
  • Accommodation and meals as stated in the program
  • All guide fees
  • Two gorilla tracking permits per person
  • Golden monkey permit per person
  • WiFi
  • USD15 evacuation per person recommended by RDB
  • International flights 
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Driver guide or local escort tips
  • Drinks and dining room tips, porterage, personal travel and baggage
  • Telephone bill, laundry and any items of a personal nature
  • Activities not mentioned in the program



  • This itinerary is owned and delivered by 'Virunga Community Programs'
  • All prices are 'From' and may vary at the time of booking
  • Display price is usually based on two people sharing
  • 'Virunga Community Programs' reserves the right to change the content and price of the itinerary
  • All itineraries are subject to availability
  • Tours can be customized but may be subjct to additional costs



  • March, departures daily (subject to Gorilla & Golden Monkeys permits availability) - contact us to discuss dates



By: chloe parks

Overall Rating: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating

Visited: September 2017

Reviewed: 10 January 2019

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Highly recommended

The wildlife diversity in Virunga massif is just amazing. It is home to various species of plants and animals, the most famous residents being the Mountain Gorillas. Some of the bird species are endemics to this area. There are about 47 species of amphibians of which 16 are endemic and 9 are threatened. Conservation of endangered plant and animal species is a priority to different governments and tourism sector players including the Virunga Community Programs. Getting these species protected in their natural habitat is a responsibility they take with a lot of enthusiasm i recommend them

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Virunga Community Programs
    Rond Point Chuduku, N2 P.O.Box 86, Goma, DRC
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