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Rwanda, East Africa
 
A visit to Rwanda is a truly encouraging experience. You quickly see why it was called “the land of a thousand hills” as the excellent road network winds its way through magnificent mountain scenery. This is one of the most densely populated lands in Africa and every square foot of mountain and valley is carefully used for agriculture creating a vast patchwork of terraced fields.
Rwanda is the perfect location for a gorilla safari. The Parc National des Volcans is just a three hour comfortable ride through magnificent scenery, and Sabinyo Silverback Lodge is a luxurious well run base for tracking the rare mountain gorillas. Groups of six people track six different gorilla families each day and you are assigned to track a particular family based on your level of fitness and how far that family is from the starting point. In this way athletic people can enjoy the challenge of gorilla safari trekking four hours through the rain forest, while those seeking a less arduous experience might walk less than an hour. You are almost guaranteed to find the mountain gorillas and can enjoy an encounter you’ll never forget, spending a full hour watching a huge silverback, females and baby gorillas.

Don’t forget to spend a morning with the golden monkeys! These hilarious creatures rush about in the bamboo forests almost in touching distance, and you can see them chewing bamboo shoots, squabbling and playing. These are the world’s only colony of golden monkeys, and they inhabit the same forested terrain of the mountain gorillas.

For a few days’ relaxation, try the Lake Kivu Serena Hotel which is just two hours from the gorillas overlooking the beautiful Lake Kivu, where you can enjoy watersports, sunshine and scenery in this unusual quiet beach location. While Rwanda is not a mainstream safari location, you can enjoy an exciting tented safari in the Akagera National Park – a region of lakes, mountains and forests. A safari in Akagera is perfect if you want a real sense of pioneering in an area seen by few others.
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Rwanda
CALENDAR: JANUARY TO MARCH
 
Plan a multi-country stop for the start of the year, beginning in Rwanda. Begin by tracking mountain gorilla through the mountainous forest with an experienced primatologist. Coming across a family and sitting silently for an hour to so to watch them is something you will never forget. Combine your gorilla trek with a hop across the Tanzanian border to see the wildebeest herds gathering to migrate across the Serengeti plains.
CALENDAR: APRIL TO MAY
 
In Rwanda’s rainy season the gorilla descend to the lower slopes of the mountains, which makes them easier to see and if you opt for an escorted walking safari through the forest you’ll likely see golden monkey and numerous birds, even around the lodges. It’s quite a contrast - but one which we love - to combine the gorilla with the mayhem of the wildebeest crossing the crocodile-infested Grumeti River.
CALENDAR: JUNE TO SEPTEMBER
 
Between June and September not only can you track mountain gorilla, but you can participate in the habituation of a new gorilla family! Scientists consider habituation key to the gorilla’s long-term conservation, so you will be playing a vital role in protecting this critically endangered species. Extend your trip with a safari in one of Kenya’s private reserves, witnessing firsthand the Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra in the Mara.
CALENDAR: OCTOBER TO DECEMBER
 
Rwanda’s gorilla are a must-see, but so too are the chimp of Kigali. Accompany researchers to spot the chimp building their nests, grooming, eating, and playing. We also recommend a visit to the Genocide Museum, which though not the obvious stop tells an important story in Rwanda’s history. Crossing the border to Tanzania is the perfect finale to this adventure to enjoy a safari in the Serengeti or Ngorongoro Crater.
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