Self-Drive Rwanda Holidays: Nyungwe & Volcanoes Parks

 Self-Drive Rwanda Holidays: Nyungwe & Volcanoes Parks

Rwanda self-drive Kigali takes you on a Primate Trip holiday in Volcanoes National Park home to mountain gorillas and Nyungwe National Park home to chimpanzees.

Planning a perfect self-driving safari in Rwanda? Self-drive Kigali is the leading car hire company in Rwanda offering fully equipped 4WD vehicles with ground tents or roof-top tents. Explore Nyungwe and Volcanoes National Parks at your own pace.

Volcanoes National Park lies along the Virunga Mountains, with 8 ancient volcanoes, which are shared by Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Just a short two-hour drive from Rwanda’s capital of Kigali, the park is a central location for exploring some distinctly Rwandan experiences. While a visit to the mountain gorillas is often at the top of visitor, the dramatic landscape also offers thrilling hiking and visits to the fascinating golden monkeys.

Volcanoes National Park is also one of Rwanda’s conservation epicenters, where many non-profit organizations base their operations. Visitors can pay homage to the legendary scientist and gorilla advocate Dian Fossey with a hike to her tomb or a visit to the Dian Fosse Gorilla Fund that continues her legacy of research and advocacy to this day.

Near the park, the bustling and vibrant markets of Musanze are a place to immerse yourself into everyday Rwandan culture. Go deep into the earth with Musanze’s caves – one of the area’s newest attractions.

On this trip, you will self-drive to visit the spectacular mountain gorillas on the slope of Virunga, chimpanzees in Nyungwe, one of the oldest continuously forested locations in the world with its spectacular scenery, and kayak on the blue waters of Lake Kivu.

On arrival, pick up the car rental and go for a Kigali city tour and after drive to Volcanoes National Park for dinner and overnight at Hotel Muhabura in Musanze.

On the day of gorilla trekking, everyone will be split into groups of up to 8 people and maybe joined by other tourists and before being allocated a ranger. You will then drive a short distance to the start of the trail, from where you will trek in the forest for around 2 to 6 hours or so to meet the gorillas. When you find them, the hour you spend with these incredible primates is a true lifetime experience that you will never forget.

To see and walk amongst a family of mountain gorillas is a wildlife encounter unlike any other on Earth. You’ll be so close to the individual gorillas. The young gorillas are playful, constantly demanding the attention of their parents as aunts and uncles wander together in an extended family group under the watchful eye of the silverback.

Although gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the country has a lot more to offer. Actually, if gorilla trekking is beyond your budget, Rwanda is still worth visiting as an up-and-coming destination offering primate walks, volcano hikes and bird watching in Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe National Park, plus boat trips on Lake Kivu in the Rift Valley and classic safaris in search of the Big Five in low-key Akagera National Park.

Once you have returned to the headquarters, head back to your hotel for a celebration lunch, followed by an afternoon transfer to Gisenyi at Lake Kivu. Your overnight stay is at Paradise Kivu.

Early the morning, drive to Nyungwe National Park. On this trip you spend an amazing hour watching a troop of wild chimpanzees in the forest. Setting off very early at 5:00 am, you will transfer to a section of Nyungwe Forest known as Cyamudongo, where most of Rwanda’s habituated chimpanzees are located.

Here you’ll meet your local ranger at a small visitor center, and then as soon as the trackers locate the family of chimpanzees that number about 40 individuals, you’ll be off, trekking along the paths and possibly, scaling short sections of the steep rain forest slopes immersed in the forest. Listen carefully and you may hear the chimps before you see them literally swinging from the trees or possibly running around on the ground all around you!

This is a wonderful wildlife encounter.  And if you’re into birds, make sure to ask your guides to point out the species that you may find on the trails, which if you’re really lucky may include the rather impressive blue turaco!

Accessible from the Uwinka Visitor Centre, a Forest Ranger will lead your walk through the forest. With an eye for some of the 310 bird species, butterflies, orchids, centuries-old trees and 75 mammals including 13 primates that live here, this walk is a spectacular journey in the largest surviving example of an Afro Montane ecosystem. It is also one of the oldest continuously forested locations on Earth. The walk includes a 200 m-long canopy walkway that takes you high above the forest floor providing a unique platform for observing the forest.

After the tour, drive back to Kigali and drop off the rental car at the agreed place.


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